Southern England – Abbotsbury, Dorset
Distance: 12km/7½ miles
Type: Downland and coast
Where: Circular walk from Abbotsbury via Abbotsbury Castle, West Bexington and Chesil Beach.
Start/End: Car park in Abbotsbury, next to church (SY578853).
Terrain: Grassy chalk downland, level track/path alongside Chesil Beach.
Maps: OS Explorer OL15; Landranger 194.
Situated amidst gently rolling downland behind the great Chesil Beach, Abbotsbury is one of the most picturesque and historically interesting villages in Dorset. Its 970-year-old Swannery is unique: the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting mute swans. Both the Swannery and Children’s Farm are excellent for children, making this a very family-friendly place for a visit and walk. This route should be within the capabilities of most, except the very young, with shorter options available. The outward leg leads along a ridge-top path to the north-west of the village via an Iron-Age hill fort called Abbotsbury Castle, with excellent views all the way. It then heads down to the coast and returns alongside Chesil Beach. A short detour at the end to climb Chapel Hill to St Catherine’s Chapel affords one of the loveliest viewpoints around.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map