30.9 km (19.2 mi), with 753m ascent/descent. For a shorter or longer walk and an Alternative Start or a Finish at Lulworth Cove see below Walk Options.
9 out of 10, with 7 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 13 hours.
This Dorset walk leads mainly through the large Lulworth Estate, owned for centuries by the Weld Family, initially through the Thomas Hardy Country of rolling pastures, large woods and dairy farms, then – on a choice of routes – through remote, scenic coombes to a fascinating stretch of the Jurassic Coast, with its steep chalk cliffs, rock stacks rising out of the sea, natural limestone arches, caves and beautiful coves.
The stretch around Durdle Door and Man o’ War beaches can be very busy with day-trippers but the route then follows quieter coastal paths to the fascinating coves of Stair Hole and its larger – and geologically older – cousin Lulworth Cove for lunch in West Lulworth. Having had the Purbeck Hills in view for a while, stretching out to the East, an optional afternoon extension then routes over one of them – Bindon Hill.
All walk routes climb up steeply from West Lulworth to the ridge separating the Dorset Plain from the Coast and descend through a very pretty coombe past Bellhuish Farm and then lead along Lulworth Park, before meandering along permissive routes through the park to Lulworth Castle (possibly the most beautiful castle in the South) and its tearooms and church, and back through Bowling Green Wood.
Coombe Heath Nature Reserve and Haredene and Cole Woods lie ahead en route back to Wool.
Note 1: Lulworth Park & Castle are closed to the public after 17.00 hours, all day Saturdays and on selected other days. At those times the afternoon shortcut will have to be walked.
Note 2: This is a long walk with an option to make it longer. It is therefore well suited to be broken at the halfway stage with an overnight stay in Lulworth Cove or West or East Lulworth.
Several buses connect Wool (and Weymouth) to Winfrith Newburgh (6.9 km into the walk), while also calling at Durdle Door Park (a little off route, 15.0 km into the walk) and in Lulworth Cove (16.4 km into the walk): Purbeck Breezer 30 (late May-late Sep: daily, but weekdays only most of June); X54 (Oct-Mar: Mon-Fri, Apr-Sep: daily); 55 (summer weekends only, but daily during Dorset summer holidays).
A Variation in the morning leads to the Coast Path on a different route, via Dagger’s Gate to Swyre Head, closer to Lulworth than The Warren.
An Extension after lunch in Lulworth Cove leads along the cove’s beach and over Bindon Hill to West Lulworth (adds 1.1 km and 132m ascent).
A Shortcut avoiding Lulworth Park in the afternoon cuts 3.7 km/2.3 mi. [Lulworth Park & Castle are shut after 17.00 hours, all day every Saturday and on selected other days, in which case you have to take this shortcut. Check https://www.lulworth.com/ for details.]
A Diversion avoiding the Permissive Route past Home Farm is described, should the route be closed.
The route through Coombe Heath with its tumuli and barrows can be cut by 820m and 23m ascent.
There are two finishes described into Wool: one through a bluebell wood (mud-prone after rain) and one through open pastures.
OS Explorer: OL15 (Purbeck & South Dorset)
OS Landranger: 194 (Dorchester & Weymouth) & 195 (Bournemouth & Purbeck)
Wool Station, map reference SY 844 869, is 173 km south west of Charing Cross, 15m above sea level and in Dorset. It is on the London Waterloo to Weymouth Main Line, with one train per hour (journey time 149 mins Mondays-Saturdays, 154 mins on Sundays).
Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take a train no later than 8.35 hours.
Early (the pubs are 640-900m off route)
The Countryman Inn East Knighton, Dorset, DT2 8LL (01305 852 666). Located 900m off route, 7.3 km/4.5 mi into the walk.
The Red Lion Inn Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, DT2 8LL (01305 852 814). Located 640m off route, 7.5 km/4.7 mi into the walk.
The Sailor’s Return Chaldon Herring, Dorset, DT2 8DN (01305 854 441). Located 670m off route, 9.4 km/5.8 mi into the walk.
Normal (from 16.0 km/10.0 mi to 17.2 km/10.7 mi into the walk)
The Boat Shed Café Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (01929 400 810).
The Beach Café and Kiosk/The Old Boat House Main Road,West Lulworth,Wareham, Dorset, BH20
Rudds Restaurant Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (01929 400 552).
Lulworth Lodge Hotel & Bistro 38 Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (01929 400 252).
The Doll’s House.
Jakes Café Main Road,West Lulworth,Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (07935 247 208).
Lulworth Cove Inn Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (01929 400 333).
The Coffee Bar, Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre
Finley’s Café and Ice Cream Parlour Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RQ (01929 400 711).
The Castle Inn Main Road,West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5RN (01929 400 311). The Castle Inn is located 150m off route.
In East Lulworth:
The Lulworth Castle Tearoom East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QS. Lulworth Castle is located 7.5 km/4.7 mi from the end of the walk.
The Weld Arms East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QQ (01929 400 211). The Weld Arms is located on a loop off the main route, 7.3 km/4.6 mi from the end of the walk.
Past and Presents The Old School, 1 Cockles, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QN (01929 400 637). Past & Presents Gift & Coffee Shop is located on a loop off the main route, 7.3 km/4.5 mi from the end of the walk.
Black Bear High Street, Wool, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6BP (01929 405 541). The Bear is located 300m before the train station.
Ship Inn Dorchester Road, Wool, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6EQ (01929 462 247). The Ship Inn is located 400m beyond the train station.
Lulworth Cove, nearby Durdle Door (a cliff arch) and the dramatic white cliffs' coastal scenery are stunningly beautiful, and very popular and busy on sunny summer weekends.
Wool Station is 7 kilometres north of Lulworth Cove on the Waterloo to Weymouth Main Line. Trains are hourly. Journey time 149 mins Mondays-Saturdays, 154 mins on Sundays.
Wool Station to Lulworth Cove: bus or taxi
Updated : July 2019. Check online, recently these bus services have changed every year! Check Traveline South West.
- 30: Swanage - Corfe Castle - Wareham station - Wool station - Lulworth Cove - Osmington - Weymouth King's Statue. 25 May - 02 June & 24 June - 21 September: Daily. 03 - 23 June: Weekends Only. Hourly. First bus from Wool station to Lulworth Cove: 10.13 Mon-Fri, 10.16 Sat-Sun. Last bus from Lulworth Cove to Wool station 18.14.
- X54: Weymouth King's Statue - Osmington - Durdle Door - Lulworth Cove - Wool Station - Wareham Station - Poole. Daily April to September, weekdays only in winter. From Wool station to Lulworth Cove at 10.39, 13.19 etc. From Lulworth Cove to Wool station at 10.43, 13.13, 17.23. Last bus from Lulworth Cove is the 19.45 in the opposite direction to Weymouth.
- 55: Weymouth King's Statue - Osmington - Durdle Door - Lulworth Cove - Wool Station - Bovington Camp. Weekends 19 April to 15 September plus daily during Dorset School Holidays (24 July - 30 August). From Wool station to Lulworth Cove at 12.15, 13.15, 15.15 etc. Mon-Sat & Bank Hols and 12.42, 13.42, 15.42, 17.05 Sun. From Lulworth Cove to Wool station at 11.40, ..., 15.40, 16.40 Mon-Sat & Bank Hols and 11.40, 13.04, 14.07, 16.07 Sun.
- Fares are about £2 from Wool station. Note that returns bought on the Damory Purbeck Breezer 30 are not valid on the First Wessex X54 and 55, and vice versa!
- Taxis: Lulworth – 01929 400864, 07949 522 533, 01929 444 546, 01929 400 409; Wool – 01929 463 395, 01929 558 119, 01929 500 604, 07751 769 833. [Aug-19] Expect fares of about £15 (and £22 for an 8-seater).
Wool has two pubs close to the station to await your train, and a local store that keeps long hours.
About 3 hours drive from London.
- On the ridge above Tyneham is Povington Hill Car Park (free, no postcode), not far from East Lulworth (BH20 5QQ). You can park in Tyneham itself (£2 suggested).
- There are large, expensive car parks at Lulworth Cove (BH20 5RQ), and by Durdle Dor campsite, or you can park for free about 1 km inland in West Lulworth village (BH20 5SG).
West Lulworth has a YHA youth hostel, a HF hotel, a campsite (mostly caravans, but they take tents), and B&Bs and Hotels.
|Lulworth Ranges Danger Area
This is an army live firing range around Tyneham, just to the east of Lulworth Cove.
It is only open at certain times. Access is allowed along marked Range Walks. They are shown on OS maps.
Lulworth Range Walks
The Range Walks are open
- most weekends (they are closed about 6 weekends a year)
- every day during Dorset school holidays.
Latest updates : MOD : Lulworth Access Times
The Lulworth Range walks and Tyneham Villages are:
Open to the public every weekend with the exception of the following:
18 / 19 September 2021
02 / 03 October 2021
06 / 07 November 2021
19 / 20 February 2022
12 / 13 March 2022
25 / 26 June 2022
24 / 25 September 2022
08 / 09 October 2022
05 / 06 November 2022
On completion of firing the gates to the walks are opened as near as possible to 16.30 on the Friday afternoon.
Please note that this is dependent on completion of range clearance and weather.
The gates will then remain open until 8.00 on the Monday morning.
In addition to the weekends they are Open every day during the following times (similar to school holidays); all dates are inclusive:
Summer stand-down 28th July – 31st August 2021
Christmas 18th December 2021 – 03rd January 2022
Easter: 9 to 24 April 2022
Spring stand-down: 28 May to 5 June 2022
Summer stand-down: 29 July to 31 Aug 2022
Christmas: 17 Dec 2022 to 2 Jan 2023
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
You can upload photos to the
SWC Group on Flickr
(upload your photos)
and videos to
Youtube. This walk's tags are:
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 •
Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) •
TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
© Saturday Walkers Club.
All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only.