If you want beaches, cliffs, woodlands and meadows and a walk that will test your fitness, this is the one for you.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Start in the car park at Seatown, the small hamlet South of Chideock village. From the car park head east up the cliff. (If you're facing the sea then head left). Continue following the cliff path/edge to Thorncombe Beacon (1) - Eypes Mouth - West Bay.
On reaching the bay follow the road around the harbour (2) and take the road to Burton Bradstock. (Right hand road). Approximately 100mts past the station car park corner take the footpath on the right going steeply on the diagonal to the golf course.
Once on the golf course bear left, it is very well way marked to Freashwater caravan park. Watch out for balls! Once through the gate to the park follow the road down and to the right past the buildings. Turn left at the bottom of the hill and walk out onto the camping site. The footpath gate is in the far hedgeline diagonally across the site. Go through the gate and head for the bridge. Cross the bridge then turn right heading back towards the sea. Follow path as though going to the sea to the cliff, go through the gate then turn left to head up the cliff. Please take care if you have a dog and put it on lead, the path is narrow and the cliffs shear. Once meeting the road go straight across and through the gate. Head for another small gate in the hedgeline on the far side of the field. This emerges onto the Hive Beach car park. Cafe stop here. (3)
Head straight across and pick up the cliff path heading towards Cogden and West Bexington. This path splits but ends up in the same place. Once past Cogden the path goes inland slightly to the back of Burton Mere. (4)
Signed Coast Path. It stays in the fields but eventually comes out on the beach then there is about a mile slog on the shingle to West Bexington. Leave the beach and follow the road straight up until a sharp left turn, do NOT follow the road but continue straight on up the footpath (5). This is very steep and emerges onto a fairly quiet but fast road. Go straight across and you will see The Knoll up on your left.
Continue on the road past the path to the Knoll until you reach the next footpath on the left. Turn down here. Just before the farm buildings turn right down the field towards a gateway and a wooded path beyond. This path will take you to Puncknowle (pronounced Punnel). (6)
At the village road turn right then turn left down Rectory Lane. Follow until the T-junction. Go straight across the road and through the gate (slightly to the left) and keeping the hedge on your right side walk down to the corner. Go through the gate then sharp left over the bridge. Go straight across the next field, you should see the stile in the hedge opposite. When over that, head for the left-hand side of the wood at the top of the next field. Follow up the side of the wood, go through the gate then head diagonally across the next field to the left hand corner. Some of these fields may have crops in, with the path around the edge. Once through the gate again go diagonally left and up, once over the ridge, 2 gates can be seen. (7).
Go through the left-hand gate marked as a bridleway. Go straight down over keeping your eyes peeled for the gate hidden in the hedge at the bottom. Go through a little overgrown wet area and you will emerge out into a large steep field. The path goes directly through the middle but you may have to go around the edge. There is an opening in the center of the fence line at the top of this field taking you into a smaller field. Head for the farm gateway and out onto the small road. This is the hamlet of Chilcombe. (8)
Turn left for a few meters, then turn right onto the track. After a few meters, the track splits, take the left-hand bridleway track. Go through the gate and follow the hedge line down to the next gate. Go diagonally to the bottom right of this long field. There may be a river at this gateway! You will come out onto a dead straight track. Follow this for about 200mtrs until the junction, turn left. After about 150mtrs the path goes through some trees then continue on the hard-packed track for about 100mtrs before turning left across a field track. There is a small lake on your left hand side. The path splits (9) so keep to the right. I got a bit lost here but I think the path followed the right hand side fence line into a wood. The path was very well trodden through the wood once I found it again. It was quite well waymarked too.
Edge out onto open ground and follow the hedge line on your left passing another wooded area. Keeping the hedge on your left, follow the field contours, going through a field gate until you come across a small bridleway gate on your left. (10) Go through this gate and follow the track (right) to the crossroads. BEWARE this is a proper road so dogs on lead.
Go straight across the crossroads and continue on Annings Lane for about 650mtrs until you get to a bridleway on your right going up through the edge of a wood. (11).
Once out, follow the path that seems to be a permanent fixture separating 2 fields. Go through a gate and keep the hedge on your right-hand side up to the next gate. Go through gate and turn left and head towards the houses. On reaching the houses and road, turn left for a few meters, then turn right. Keep going straight on this road until it turns into a track (12) avoiding all footpaths leading off it. It is a very well used track and will eventually lead into a field. (13).
With hedge on your right, keep heading straight until you emerge onto Wych ridge. Beautiful views will await you. (14)
Follow the very used path down off the ridge, it is still pretty much in a straight line. Eventually you'll hit a stone track leading to a housing estate. Keep going straight down into a tree covered footpath that will bring you out onto the Bridport to Burton Bradstock road. (15).
Carefully cross over the road and head down hill towards the Crown pub and roundabout. The safest way across the busy road is to walk through the pub car park with the pub on your left, go through the opening and turn left and follow pavement until the garden centre is opposite. Cross using the island and turn right to the underpass to cross under the bypass. Carry on following the pavement up West Bay road. At the traffic lights turn left at the Brewery. (16)
When walking over the bridge look left down the river and see if the massive water wheel is turning. Continue along past the school and keep going up brewery hill. Please take care on this road. Continue for about half a mile until a series of small junctions. Ignore the first one to Eypes Mouth but at the next one 'turn' left to Higher Eype (it's straight on really). (17).
Carry on this lane ignoring turns (18) for about a mile until you get to the main A35 junction. (19) DO NOT CROSS THE ROAD. Instead of turning to the road, turn left up the track passing a small residential parking area and garage. Go through the wooden gate on your right (20) then immediately go through a metal gate.
Follow straight down the field to a stile. Take care on the steps. Go over another stile onto a drive. Go across the drive and over another stile. Head diagonally up to follow the road hedge down to another stile. (21). Go not quite diagonally left (about 11 o'clock) through this field towards an opening into another field, where you will keep the hedge on your left side.
Cross over the lane and follow the well-worn path to a gate and stile half way down the left-hand hedge line. Cross the track to a path keeping the pine trees on your right. Once around the sewerage works (22) turn right onto a concrete track, go over the bridge & turn left through a kissing gate.
Follow the fence line to the opposite side where a footbridge and steps (23) take you out on to a concrete lane. Keep going straight on this lane which will take you back to Seatown.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Start at the car park
1 : mi 1.14 - alt. mi 1.14 - Magnificent views from the Beacon
2 : mi 2.76 - alt. mi 2.76 - West Bay harbour
3 : mi 5.44 - alt. mi 5.44 - Hive Beach cafe at the bottom of the car park
4 : mi 6.52 - alt. mi 6.52 - Go slightly inland behind the mere & reeds.
5 : mi 8.68 - alt. mi 8.68 - Go straight on up footpath
6 : mi 10.01 - alt. mi 10.01 - The pub is in the middle of village.
7 : mi 11.32 - alt. mi 11.32 - Take left had gate. Bridleway.
8 : mi 11.84 - alt. mi 11.84 - Chilcombe
9 : mi 12.78 - alt. mi 12.78 - Be watchful of signs, I got a bit lost
10 : mi 13.42 - alt. mi 13.42 - Bridleway get onto track
11 : mi 14.15 - alt. mi 14.15 - Bridleway up the edge of a wood.
12 : mi 15.1 - alt. mi 15.1 - Road starts to turn into a track
13 : mi 15.42 - alt. mi 15.42 - Take the footpath into the field and follow fence
14 : mi 16.11 - alt. mi 16.11 - Wych ridge. Great views
15 : mi 16.52 - alt. mi 16.52 - Bridport to Burton road
16 : mi 17.01 - alt. mi 17.01 - Palmers Brewery
17 : mi 17.9 - alt. mi 17.9 - Careful with this junction. Go to Higher Eype
18 : mi 18.29 - alt. mi 18.29 - Ignore junction to Downhouse Farm.
19 : mi 18.94 - alt. mi 18.94 - DO NOT CROSS A35
20 : mi 18.99 - alt. mi 18.99 - Turn right through wooden gate
21 : mi 19.21 - alt. mi 19.21 - Stile
22 : mi 19.86 - alt. mi 19.86 - Sewerage works
23 : mi 19.97 - alt. mi 19.97 - Footbridge & steps leading to concrete road.
D/A : mi 20.24 - alt. mi 20.24 - Finally made it.
I would thoroughly recommend a navigation aid of some sort for this walk. A phone with OS maps on it plus a power bank or a GPS unit such as a Garmin or SatMap. A paper map should always be taken as a back up to electronic devices and possibly a compass.
This is a very long walk so food and drink is essential. There are shops at West Bay and Freshwater campsite when it's in season. A cafe at the Hive Beach Burton Bradstock. I think there may be a sesonal small cafe at West Bexington and there is a pub in Puncknowle but after that there isn't very much else until getting back to Bridport. There is a seasonal camping shop at Golden Cap caravan site in Seatown and the Anchor Inn.
There is about 2 and a bit miles of walking on road before getting to Chideock. It is only a single track lane but there maybe traffic from Highlands End campsite but beyond that not a lot.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Beautiful views from anywhere on the coastal bits, especially from Thorncombe Beacon.
West Bay where Broadchurch was filmed.
The Hive Beach cafe
The enormity of Chesil beach.
Quiet inland paths where you probably won't meet anyone.
The old thatched brewery and water wheel in Bridport.
The amazing feeling when you realise you've walked nearly 20 miles!!
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.