CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Dorset walk around Chardown Hill and Whitchurch Canonicorum

PUBLISHED: 15:45 08 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:53 08 October 2015

Walking down Stonebarrow Lane with views of the River Char Valley and Jurassic Coast

Walking down Stonebarrow Lane with views of the River Char Valley and Jurassic Coast


Edward Griffiths enjoys some sensational sea views stretching from Dorset to Devon on this coast and countryside walk which also takes in the River Char Valley

The view from Stonebarrow LaneThe view from Stonebarrow Lane

After ascending Chardown Hill at the start of this walk you will be able to enjoy the stunning seascape which stretches from Portland across the border to East Devon. The country lane from Morcombelake allows beautiful views into the River Char valley, and the long stroll through the River Char’s lush meadows filled with wildflowers is accompanied by birdsong. All in all, this is a most enjoyable walk that richly rewards the initial effort of ascending the re-routed South West Coast Path from Charmouth to Stonebarrow Hill.

Distance: 5½ miles (8.75 km)

• Time: 4 hours

• Exertion: An initial ascent of 450ft but, after Chardown Hill, it’s all downhill or level. Some mud in meadows after rain.

• Start: Newlands Bridge in ‘The Street’ over the River Char on the eastern edge of Charmouth (Grid Ref: SY370935). Park thoughtfully anywhere in ‘The Street’ or in the Car Park off Lower Sea Lane.

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 193

• Public Transport: First Dorset X53 Jurassic Coaster, 31 and X31

• Dogs: On leads on roads and in fields with livestock

• Refreshments: The Royal Oak, The Old Bank Café and Charmouth Fish Bar, The Street

The walk

1 From the bridge, walk east to Stonebarrow Lane (the ‘Coast Path Diversion’). Ascend the steep ¾ mile tree-clad lane, with increasing River Char Valley and Jurassic Coast views. Through the woods and ‘National Trust Stonebarrow Hill’ Car Park gateway, take the instant right ‘Coast Path Diversion’ path. In 60 yards, at the next path’s junction, take the ‘Golden Cap Coast Path’ east. Through the kissing-gate, follow the path through bracken, passing a left pine wood, to a paths’ crossing.

2 Go left onto the wider path with Golden Cap forward right. Reaching a fork, keep right for another 200 yards to another fork, signed ‘8’. Join the right track. Keep straight on up through banks of bracken. Past the ‘National Trust Westway Farm’ notice, continue up into Stonebarrow Down Car Park. At the right end turning area, go through the right bridleway and footpath-gate and fork left for ‘Chardown Hill’ over grazed grassland. Through the facing footpath-gate, keep straight on, with a bracken-filled valley and fine sea views right. Continue to the footpath-gate. Through, keep straight on. Past a left bench, continue on the left fork path. Through the gorse gap, turn left towards two gates.

3 Go through the left ‘Bridleway Morecombelake ½’ gate, and a second gate into the high field. Turn right along the fence and down the sunken track with gorse and bracken. Passing the right ‘St Gabriels’ stile, continue down to the ‘National Trust Chardown Hill’ bridleway half-gate. Go down the stepped path to Brackendene’s drive. Out into the lane, turn right. Past several cottages, turn left opposite ‘Ship Farm’ with the mansard roof. Reaching the A35 crossing, very carefully cross into the ‘Whitchurch Canonicorum’ lane and keep straight on for one mile, with increasingly fine views to Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

4 Pass a left footpath pointer and two right Taylor’s Lanes. Pass a right turning with a corner cottage which would take you into the village and church. Keeping straight on down, pass another left footpath at Cockwell Farm. Reaching Berne Lane crossroads at ‘Old Cross’ cottage, continue down Becklands Lane to the River Char. Just before the bridge, take the left ‘Charmouth 2½’ kissing-gate. Cross the field diagonally left to the hedge-gap’s half-gate. Through, cross to the corner half-gate. Through, meander through the narrow scrub field, with the River Char right, to the half-gate into the meadow with Conegar Hill right. Follow the left edge to the half-gate under trees. Through, follow the right river. Through the gap into the next field, follow the river to the footpath-gated tributary footbridge.

5 Over, bear half-left along the long meadow’s path, with the river meandering right, to the far right corner into trees. Follow the footpath-arrowed path over another tributary footbridge and up steps into a field. Turn right along the edge. In about 50 yards, go down right steps to the half-gate into another field with the river right. Keep following the right edge path along the not always obvious river. Reaching a half-gated bridge, cross the small field into the right corner’s hidden half-gate. Through, join the fenced path going right to the Char bridge. Over, and through the footpath-gate, bear left along the path through another long meadow, with the river left, to a two-way footpath-gate with mobile homes over left and another gate into a field.

6 Keep following the left river to 1½ gates into another field. Now follow the right hedge to the corner half-gate. Through, cross the field to the hedge’s half-gate. Through, follow the left river for about 30 yards and go through the left footpath-gate onto the riverside, possibly overgrown, path. Push through to emerge at a half-gate into a track with Charmouth by-pass bridge left. Cross right to the half-gate. Through, follow the hedged grass track, then rising alongside the A35, then into trees. Emerging at the footpath signpost into the Catherston Leweston road, turn left. Over the A35 bridge, continue down into Charmouth. At the T-junction, turn right to wherever you started this walk.


10 great places for food & drink in Wimborne Minster - restaurants, shops, cafés and more - Wimborne Minster is so much more than a gorgeous historic market town. It is also home to some of the best food and drink in Dorset and with this in mind Sue Quinn shares some of her favourite gourmet haunts

Dorset walk around Margaret Marsh and Todber - Seeking a long summer stroll without too many hills? Edward Griffiths meanders through the flatter parts of the beautiful Blackmore Vale


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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, December 7, 2018

This easy walk takes us into Hardy territory as well offering some glorious views towards Weymouth and Portland

Read more
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Here are some Dorset walks, easy and challenging, to get you out and about over the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

If you’re willing to brave the cold this Christmas Day, check out Dorset’s festive swim calendar for the best organised dips taking place in 2018

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Confusion reigns on the county’s eastern border

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to German Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Dorset this season

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

From your first step, you will see superb views from hilltops and farmland footpaths on this walk

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 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
Monday, November 5, 2018

To mark the centenary of the end of World War One we visit some of the memorials erected across Dorset to remember the fallen in the ‘war to end all wars’

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

This lovely walk takes us from watercress beds to a church famous for its life-size carvings of apostles

Read more
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Autumn is a great time to brush up on your gardening knowledge with the help of some experts, as well as see some well known gardens in a different light

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The guide to Dorset’s best firework displays and bonfire events happening in 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Prepare to experience the paranormal this Hallowe’en as Visit Dorset reveals some of the county’s most haunted pubs, stately homes, historic buildings and tanks

Read more
Monday, October 15, 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, 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
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