• Start: Bowleaze Coveway, Weymouth (grid ref SY702820)
  • End: Bowleaze Coveway, Weymouth (grid ref SY702820)
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: The Springhead at Sutton Poyntz and the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills, both for real ales, good lunches and bar meals. Craig’s Dairy Farm Shop for home-made ice cream
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 194
  • Difficulty: Hard
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Edward Griffiths explores an old smuggling haunt on the South West Coast Path and follows the River Jordan

Edward Griffiths explores an old smuggling haunt on the South West Coast Path and follows the River Jordan

Distance: 5 34 miles (9.25km) Time: 3 12 hours Exertion: Quite strenuous

This walk is packed with variety. The South West Coast Path offers superb views, crumbling geology, White Nothe and the old smuggling haunt of Osmington Mills where you can revive yourself at the famous Smugglers Inn. In the pretty village of Osmington seek out Craigs Dairy Farm ice creams, which are scrumptious.
Easy farmland paths follow the River Jordan below the White Horse; theres also a brief visit to Sutton Poyntz village before you stroll through Preston with its ancient church and holiday havens for visitors to this lovely part of Dorset.
The Inland Coast Path has now been renamed the South Dorset Ridgeway, but not all of the signs have been changed.

The Walk


With Weymouth Bay and Portland to your right, walk down the grassy slopes to Bowleaze Cove Pier, continue along the beach to the rock armour wall. Along the concrete path above the wall, continue onto the path rising up the cliffs past the Art Deco Pontins Riviera. Past a left-signed footpath, continue through slumped ground, past reeds and up earth-steps with the White Horse far left. Follow the clear field and cliff paths along cliff tops to twin kissing-gates with Coast Path acorns and past an Osmington Mills 2 milestone.


Follow the Coast Path for two miles. On the way, you pass slumped Redcliff Point, where you bend left and right to rejoin the path at a wooden footbridge and another milestone. Walk past the huge Outdoor Adventure Centre, ascend and descend more steps, negotiate more stiles and half-gates, and cross open fields with waymarker posts and Coast Path pointers over Black Head. Keeping to the main path at all times, you later descend steeply into trees with boardwalks. The end stile leads onto a more open path rising gently up a grassy slope. Over the top fence-stile, walk down to the left fences footpath-arrowed stile into an enclosed path.


Down here, take the left Osmington 1 kissing-gate into the rising field. If you would like to visit Osmington Mills and the famous Smugglers Inn, keep straight down the path and right down the lane, then come back here. In the field, walk up alongside the right hedge. Under the overhead wires, go over the right footpath-stile and walk up to the right hedge at the top of the hill. By the Osmington pointer, go through the corner footpath kissing-gate, with the White Horse straight ahead. Descend the field to the disc in the hedge and go through the nearby kissing-gate. Follow the right hedge down, with Craigs Dairy Farm to your left, to the next footpath kissing-gate and, over the bridge in the trees, meet the A353.


Turn left along the pavement and, after stopping for a delicious ice cream, some cheese or cream, cross the road and continue. At Chapel Lane, turn right into Osmington village. Go round the left bend into Village Street, signed Inland Route White Horse. Up to the T-junction, turn right down Church Lane for White Horse and Bincombe, still passing between village houses. Reaching the right bend, with Coconut Cottage right, take the left-hedged Sutton Poyntz 1 track. Through two footpath-gates into a large field, keep straight on along the (possibly temporary) electric fence.


Over two stiles straddling a farm track, cross the long field to two far-right-corner stiles spanning a ditch under trees. Over these, follow the right hedge and trees through the long flat valley field facing Chalbury hill-fort, and into a second field. Nearing the end, veer slightly left to a wide gap in the facing hedge. Through here, cross the small field to the footpath half-gate in the right corner. Through this, cross the field to the kissing-gate in front of the boarded fence, and follow the path into Sutton Poyntz. Turn left to the T-junction. Passing the Carriage Company garage/
workshop, follow Sutton Road straight through the village to Preston Road.


Cross into Church Road and follow the footpath-signed lane past 14th-century St Andrews Church. Keep straight on along the hedged track for mile, passing several side openings into caravan and field areas. Reaching Waterside Holiday Park, go through the Public Footpath kissing-gate and follow the drive to the first T-junction with lots of signs the bottom one pointing right for Footpath. Turn right down the drive and round the left bend. At the next junction, keep straight on To the Beach, passing the Wardens Cottage. Reaching the road, turn right and walk back to your starting point in Bowleaze Coveway.


Start: Bowleaze Coveway, Weymouth (grid ref SY702820)

Map: OS Landranger 194

Terrain: Undulating cliff-top paths and field paths, country lanes through Osmington and Sutton Poyntz. Some mud after rain

Dogs: Cliff edges, dairy cattle with young, lanes through villages with
cars and occasional specific farmland notices all require dogs to be on

Refreshments: The Springhead at Sutton Poyntz and the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills, both for real ales, good lunches and bar meals. Craigs Dairy Farm Shop for home-made ice cream

Public transport: First 501, 503 to Bowleaze Cove. Alternative start points: First X43, X53 to Osmington, First 4 to Sutton Poyntz

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