3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today click here

Dorset Walk: Fortuneswell and Tar Rocks

PUBLISHED: 12:41 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:41 03 September 2014

View of Chiswell and Chesil Beach from the ascending Coast Path

View of Chiswell and Chesil Beach from the ascending Coast Path

Archant

Edward Griffiths enjoys a spectacular coastal walk away from the summer holiday crowds and busy beaches

This is just like being on a summer holiday, but without the crowds. As soon as you leave the Portland Heights viewpoint, where everybody stops to take pictures of the world-famous view of Chesil Beach, everything becomes quieter. Fortuneswell, with its small shops and glimpses of the sea through alleys and side streets, isn’t unlike Cornwall. There’s a pleasant park with flower beds and a bowling green, and lovely views enticing you down to the beach. Once there, we’ll stroll along the promenade before following the footpath by the clear blue sea. Look out for the impressive land sculpture, created between 1983 and 1996 by John Maine RA, situated at the end of the promenade sea wall. Known as the ‘Chiswell Earthworks’, it has won numerous awards. After visiting the stony beach at Clay Ope and Tar Rocks, maybe trying our hand at stone balancing, we’ll climb the Coast Path above Chiswell to the cliff-top. Then we’ll wander through Tout Quarry where sculptors are leaving some of their massive works, including the odd dinosaur or two, for all to enjoy! This is a walk to enjoy slowly, maybe popping into a café or two, or having a pub lunch by the seaside. Whatever you do, take it slowly and really savour the day.

--------------------------------------------------

Distance: 4 miles (8.5 km)

Time: 3 1/2 hours

Exertion: Easy, but one steep ascent from beach to South West Coast Path

Start: New Ground parking area past Heights Hotel (Grid Ref: SY690731)

Map: OS Landranger Sheet 194

Public Transport: First Open Top 501 from Weymouth to Portland Bill

Dogs: On leads on roads and along the promenade

Refreshments: Jackson Café and Gallery in Fortuneswell, Quiddles Café by Chiswell Beach, as well as plenty of village inns including The Cove House Inn.

--------------------------------------------------

The Walk

1 From New Ground, walk back towards the hotel but turn right down Old Hill, signed ‘Fortune’s Well Shops’. Past ‘The Old Rectory’, continue down to New Road. Walking down, cross Verne Hill Road with Verne Prison’s embankments up on your right and the stone Council Offices on the opposite corner. Pass right Underhill Church, left Britannia Inn and right Portland Arms. Ignore left High Street and continue down the main street. Pass Spring Gardens, Jackson Café and Gallery and the Co-Op. Pass Artists Row, King Street, St John’s Church and Mallams, all with sea views, then New Star Inn and Royal Manor Theatre.

2 Don’t fork left into Queen’s Road (Osborne Terrace), but continue for 100 yards along Castle Road to the ‘Chesil Cove’ path into Victoria Gardens. Walk down to the left gates before the Bowling Club. Through into Queen’s Road, walk down to Victoria Square. Turn left and left again at West Bay Terrace into Chiswell with The Little Ship opposite. In 100 yards, cross into Pebble Lane and bend left onto the unmade road between fish sheds and boat sheds. Arriving at The Cove House Inn, go up the ‘Coast Path’ steps and walk past the inn’s outside tables. Through the end flood-gate, walk along the sea-defence wall’s promenade, with lovely views along Portland’s west cliffs, to Quiddles Café.

3 Past John Maine’s Chiswell Earthworks sculpture, the promenade ends. Continue onto the tarmac footpath above the sea and rocks, passing left beach-huts. When the tarmac ends at a fork, take the higher left path. After the handrail, the path undulates before descending to a small inland ‘beach’ where you could try your hand at stone balancing, as have many people before you. Then, go up the stone-block steps and follow the path to Clay Ope beach with Tar Rocks in the sea. The footpath peters out here. Look around at the towering cliffs of limestone, with some huge sections breaking away below the Coast Path route. Now retrace your steps to Quiddles Café.

4 Past the café, go through the striped barrier and turn sharp right up the stepped tarmac ‘Coast Path’ and ‘Round the Island Path’. Continuing up the path, pass the end of Cove Road terrace, the school and Clovens Road. When the path deteriorates due to slippage, continue up by the garden walls, then open hillside, then stone steps to the Coast Path T-junction. Turn right for ‘Portland Bill’. Walk up the walled path. Before the stone-loading ‘whim’, go right onto the stone-marked ‘Coast Path Portland Bill 3¼’. Then, follow the horse-drawn railway track left into Tout Quarry. At the next fork, bear right and keep following the main track into the quarry. Pass a right bridge and fork and several lesser right and left turnings.

5 After rising around a right bend, the track bends left. Here, turn off right through the sculptured rocks, to a solitary standing stone. Fork right onto the path above the gulley to the rock bridge. Descend left back onto the Coast Path. Pass another rock bridge and, after ¼ mile of fabulous views, fork left at the Coast Path stone for ‘East Cliff’. Follow the meandering track through abandoned Bowers Quarry towards St George’s Church tower. Join the left Industrial Estate’s boundary fence and the quarry track to its end with the churchyard gates on the right. Turn left up Wide Street. Nearing Yeates Roundabout, cross to the right side and cross Priory Road. Turn left past Heights Hotel. Bend right into Yeates Road and continue back to New Ground where you started.

--------------------------------------------------

Read on

Discover more Dorset walks here

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This challenging coastal walk rewards your efforts with spectacular views along the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Marine photographer Steve Belasco shares some very special wildlife moments

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TravelSupermarket has uncovered the top 25 most popular UK beaches on Instagram after analysing hashtags used for over 1,100 beaches and Bournemouth comes out on top

Read more
Monday, September 3, 2018

From a harvest festival to a guided tour of a botanical collection used for making perfume, there is plenty happening in Dorset’s gardens this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ride + Stride, Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraising event, is a great way to explore and support some of the county’s more unusual places of worship

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

This easy level walks takes in an ancient village described as The Mother of Bournemouth and Throop Mill of the River Stour

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more

From paddling on the Frome to admiring one of the best vistas in Dorset, Adam Lee-Potter’s beloved home town just keeps getting better and better

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

Butterflies, buzzards and beautiful views sum up this lovely summer walk around Piddletrenthide and Plush Hill

Read more
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Visit Dorset reveal their favourite lesser-known local beaches to explore if you want to get off the beaten track this summer

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Anne Brunner-Ellis takes her horse on holiday to a B&B in Ashmore where they both enjoy three glorious days of exploring the local countryside as well as a spot of pampering

Read more

From supper on the beach to a vibrant live music scene, Kate Shaw reveals why her family love living in this award-winning coastal town

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search