- Charlotte Drew
Osmington Mills to Lulworth Cove, Jurassic Coast
A challenging day hike along the incredible Dorset coast.
Osmington Mills, DT3 6HF. You can park along the road here. There is also a Pay & Display Car Park for the pub and public toilets.
Well-maintained coast path. Some very steep sections. Not many ways off the coast path once you are on it (i.e. you can't often go inland to avoid the steep bits). We would class this walk as challenging due to the steep elevations and duration.
Yes. There may be livestock about at times and you will come fairly close to the cliff edge.
The drive from Bristol is approx. 2h15.
If you are using public transport, the nearest large town is Weymouth.
In summer, buses run very sporadically from Lulworth to Osmington if you don't want to walk back. Do check in advance though as they are few and far between.
Walk around the back of the Smuggler's Inn pub (to the left) to join the coast path. This section of the coast is part of the South West Coast Path, a long distance walking trail that starts in Minehead and ends in Poole. So there's lots of signposts along the way to help you out. The symbol for the path is an acorn so keep looking out for it.
The first section of the walk to Ringstead is a nice gentle warmup. Once through Ringstead, you'll begin the first of your steep climbs up to White Nothe. Stop to enjoy the views back towards Weymouth and the Isle of Portland.
From the row of cottages at the summit of White Nothe, the paths takes you along a breathtaking sweep of cliffs with a monument in the centre. From here you'll be able to see the rollercoaster of cliffs that await you on the other side!
The next stretch is indeed a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Bat's Head is the first headland and a good place for a rest.
The steep downhills can be tricky and we'd advise that having hiking poles can really help (but aren't necessary). If you look carefully, you'll find the footprints of previous adventurers provide nifty steps but do take care.
At the top of the next hill, you'll suddenly get a stunning view of Durdle Door. Climb down to Durdle Door (you can also take a detour to the beach if you want, or to the beach at Man 'O War Cove).
One final hill out of Durdle Door sees you into Lulworth Cove, a tourist hotspot and a great place for lunch, a dip and an ice cream.
From Lulworth, retrace your steps all the way along the coast path to Osmington Mills. Alternatively, you could try and catch a bus back to Osmington then walk down to Osmington Mills from there. The buses are very infrequent though, even in high season, so plan in advance. When the area is busy, taxi firms get booked up very quickly too.
At Osmington Mills, make sure to pay a visit to the Smuggler's Inn for a well-deserved pint.