• Start: Redcliff View at the end of Bincleaves Road, Rodwell, Weymouth (grid ref SY680781)
  • End: Redcliff View at the end of Bincleaves Road, Rodwell, Weymouth (grid ref SY680781)
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 194
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Edward Griffiths enjoys a brisk winter walk that takes in the old Portland to Weymouth railway route

Rodwell Trail

Edward Griffiths enjoys a brisk winter walk that takes in the old Portland to Weymouth railway route

This relatively short walk is ideal for a short winter day. It is packed with surprises. From the only-known-by-the-locals viewpoint at Weymouths Redcliff View, a very modern footbridge leads to an easy promenade dotted with dinosaur plaques at Newtons Cove above a strange beach rather like a Yorkshire limestone pavement. Read all of the scattered Information Boards along this route. Theres lots to learn and enjoy. After passing by Nothe Fort, with its superb views over Weymouth Harbour to the Jurassic Coast cliffs, and over Portland Harbour to the island, theres a stroll along Weymouths colourful and bustling Harbour. Then comes the Rodwell Trail. This tarmac-surfaced footpath, sometimes elevated, sometimes deep in a tree-lined cutting, follows the old Weymouth to Portland railway route. After Rodwell Station and Sandsfoot Castle Halt, we leave the Rodwell Trail to visit Henry VIIIs Sandsfoot Castle. This attractive but rather sad ruin is all thats left of the partner to Portland Castle, which is still completely intact. Sandsfoot Castle, although ruined by land movement and weather, and robbed of the ashlar stone from its accessible lower levels for local building, is still keeping watch over the harbour. A final walk past cottages and along an elegant avenue brings you back to Redcliff View.

The Walk
1From Redcliff View, pick up the signed Coast Path aiming towards the visible Nothe Fort, bending left around some houses and descending to the ultra-modern footbridge. Over this, take the steps down onto the new harbour wall with dinosaur plaques above the eroded block carbonate-rich sandstone beach of Newtons Cove. The pavement effect is caused by weathering of the weaker vertical joints in the sandstone. At the promenades end, follow the rising path along Nothe Gardens toward the fort, turning right to walk along the walls in the ditch.
2Reaching Nothe Fort gates, cross over to the descending stone steps. At the bottom, turn left along Weymouth Harbour. Continue past left steps and slipped sandstone outcrops in the trees. Zig-zag through Weymouth Sailing Club and continue along Nothe Parade, passing Weymouth Lifeboat Station and rows of first-floor bow-fronted cottages. Keep following the harbours edge, passing coffee houses, tea-rooms, restaurants and pubs.
3When you reach the 1930 Town Bridge, dont go over it. Cross the road and, follow the Upper Harbour. Pass the Council Offices over on your left, then the Boot Inn behind the Fire Station just before you reach the roundabout. Here, cross the A354 at the pedestrian crossing. Turn left and keep following the offices round to the right into Newstead Road. Stay on the right with Asda over on the left. Past Marsh Road left and Granville Road right, you reach the railway embankment where there would have been a bridge.
4Cross to the left and take the signed Public Footpath tarmac path. In a few yards, fork left up onto the embankment, arrowed for Rodwell Trail. On the top, turn right and pass the anti-aircraft gun site and Information board. Soon there are good views over Weymouth Harbour. Go through the tunnel under Wyke Road, emerging into a wooded cutting. Walk between the platforms of Rodwell Station and continue up through the shaded cutting. Under Buxton Roads arches, the houses appearing on your left are in Old Castle Road, and Portland North reappears as well.
5Through Sandsfoot Castle Halt, reach Sandsfoot Courts gates on the right. Now, turn left off the Rodwell Trail, signed Coast Path. Turn left again into Old Castle Road and cross into Castle Gardens to explore the gardens and view the ruined castle. Continue up Old Castle Road, over, down and up to pass a row of cottages with tiled bays. Past these, turn right into elegant, avenued Belle Vue Road. At the far end T-junction with Bincleaves Road, turn right into Redcliff View where you started.

Fact File
Start: Redcliff View at the end of Bincleaves Road, Rodwell, Weymouth (grid ref SY680781)
Distance: 312 miles 5.5km
Maps: OS Landranger 194
Terrain: No stiles; no bogs; no real hills
Dogs: On leads
Public transport: None to Redcliff, but you can start at Weymouth Harbour

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