Thomas Hardy Country, pretty coombes, the Jurassic Coast (Durdle Door, Stair Hole and Lulworth Cove), Lulworth Park with its fantastic Castle, and Coombe Heath
30.9 km (19.2 mi). Cumulative ascent/descent: 707m.
For a shorter or longer walk and an Alternative Start in Winfrith Newburgh or Durdle Door or a Finish at Lulworth Cove, see below Walk options.
9 out of 10
Time: 7 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 13 hours.
OS Landranger Map: 194 (Dorchester & Weymouth) & 195 (Bournemouth & Purbeck)
OS Explorer Map: OL15 (Purbeck & South Dorset)
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 avoiding the park will have to be walked.
Note 2: This is a long walk with an option to make it even 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 pastHome 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.
Wool Station 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)
Normal (from 16.0 km/10.0 mi to 17.2 km/10.7 mi into the walk)
In East Lulworth:
Purbeck Way (West Route)
South West Coast Path
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.
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.
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
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:
1. 22nd/23rd February 2020 2. 14th/15th March 2020 3. 13th/14th June 2020 4. 19th/20th September 2020 5. 03rd/04th October 2020 6. 14th/15th November 2020
In addition to the weekends they are open every day during the following times; all dates are inclusive:
Christmas 21st December 2019 – 05th January 2020 Easter 04th – 19th April 2020 May Day 08th May 2020 (a Friday!) May Stand-down 25th May – 31st May 2020 Summer Stand-down 21st July – 31st August 2020 Christmas 19th December 2020 – 03rd January 2021
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk