A ramble around Hive Beach and the River Bride
PUBLISHED: 15:50 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 26 April 2019
This waterside walk offers glorious views of the Jurassic Coast and countryside in Dorset
This walk explores vertiginous cliff-tops, River Bride's valleys, busy farming land and Burton Bradstock, described in 1973 by John Eastwood as 'Once a village full of fishermen, spinners and braiders, farming folk who seemed as immemorial as oak trees'. Times have changed but the work and traditions of country life are still tangible here.
1 From the car park, take the path behind Hive Beach Café to the Coast Path signpost. Bear half-right across the field for 'Freshwater 1¼' to the hedge's half-gate. Through, follow the left fence across the field to the 'Freshwater 1' half-gate. Through, bear ¼-left along the cut path to the stone wall's left end kissing-gate. Through, cross the drive to the 'National Trust Burton Bradstock' kissing-gate. Through, follow the rising path between fence and cliffs. On the way, see Golden Cap, Lyme Regis and Devon ahead. At the top, see West Bay's harbour and Freshwater Caravan Park. Down Burton Cliff, take the right 'Coast Path West Bay' kissing-gate. But first, go down onto the beach.
2 See how where the River Bride cuts through Chesil Beach to the sea. Also note the cliffs falls - a real danger to people sitting too close. Through the kissing-gate, follow the green path along the field with River Bride left and hill-slopes right. After some concrete hut bases, pass the left 'Coast Path West Bay' footbridge. Continue for 'Burton Bradstock ½', through two fence's half-gates along the meadow. Go through the end kissing-gate into Southover between cottages and allotments. Reaching Cliff Road, Burton Bradstock, turn left into High Street for 'West Bay 2'. Cross to the pavement over the Bride Bridge. At thatched 'Three Horseshoes' on the corner, turn right into Mill Street.
3 Past left Post Office Stores and cottages, bend left and ascend to the T-junction, Turn right with St Mary's Church right. Past the thatched cottage, turn left into Darby Lane. At the end, turn right into Grove Road. Follow the lane past thatched Grove House with its stately mulberry tree. Pass several houses and Richard Roberts' 1803 flax-swingling (softening flax and hemp for spinning) mill, Grove House was Richard Roberts' home. Through the facing 'Public Footpath' gate, follow the path between the mill-race and left gardens. Through trees with the sluice-gate right, go over the footbridge and continue along the leat, then becoming the River Bride again. The path soon leaves the river and meets a footbridge onto a farm track with Annings Lane left.
4 Across the track, follow the diagonal footpath across the field to the corner with twin footpath-bridges onto a fenced footpath around Graston Copse Caravan Park. Follow the grass path, across the track, through 1½ gates and past Graston Copse. Over the end footpath-stile into an arable field, follow the left hedge to the footpath-gate. Through, go through the right footpath-gate and turn half-left up the field to the open barn's left end. Past the footpath-arrowed cattle-trough, keep the same line to the footpath-post at the farm track. Go through Graston Farm's twin-gates and into Annings Lane. Turn right, over the bridge, past brick cottages and up the lane. At the T-junction with bridleways opposite, turn right down Bredy Lane. Past Bredy Farm and left barns, cross the Bride Bridge and continue to another T-junction. Turn left for 'Litton Cheney'.
5 Take the first-right track, then instant-right footpath-stile into the field corner. Follow the hedge round left, up the hill, through into the next field and ever upwards. Over the top, in 88 yards, go over the right hedge's footpath-stile. Walk down past the pond, with views to Freshwater and Golden Cap, and up to the footpath-stile/gate. Into the next field, go straight on down, through the gate into a second field and down to the footpath-gate into a valley. Follow this path/track down right but don't go through the bottom footpath-gate. Double back left up the valley's other side footpath-track. Through some hawthorns, pass a footpath arrow-post. Walk anti-clockwise around the field edge to another footpath-post. Through into the next field, follow the left hedge up to the footpath-signed road-gate.
6 Across the B3157 and over the verge-bank, turn left to Cogden National Trust car park. Walk down the gated concrete track. Through the second gate/kissing-gate, fork right on the grass path to meet the gravel track. Continue down to Chesil Beach. A milestone indicates right for 'Coast Path Burton Bradstock 1'. Follow the path behind Chesil Beach, soon rising above cliffs. Past Old Coastguard Caravan Park, continue past the 'National Trust Burton Bradstock' sign. Between cliffs and right, pass a couple of right kissing-gates, then continue down to Hive Beach where you started.
Time: 4 hours
Exertion: Not too strenuous
Start: Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock