Walking inland from Ringstead Bay | 7.6 miles


The pay off on the stunning second half of this Dorset walk is worth the slightly dicey main road crossings of the first half. The views are GLORIOUS, and the silence of the valley behind the headland is wonderful – it’s the land time forgot in the gold rush to the sea.

Dorset walks from Ringstead Bay
Ringstead Bay circular Dorset walk

The path-finding is mostly easy, with a couple of exceptions:

• At the top of the map you can see a pointless ‘extra bit’ in the route. In one field the path through the hedge has vanished – you need to go all the way down the field, through the gate and then back up the other side of the hedge to re-find the path. Annoying, but not far.

The path from Ringstead bay car park - Dorset walks

• You leave the car park and walk back along the road until turning right, steeply downhill, to Upton Farm. On the map at this point the bridleway dips away from the farmyard to work through Poxwell Big Wood. Don’t try it! After floundering around in brambley boggy undergrowth for a while we backtracked and just followed the farm lane around the wood instead.

walking inland from Ringstead Bay

Crossing the A353 is obviously not to be taken lightly, but both times you’re going straight across so at least you don’t have to walk along it at all. Do take care, it’s fast and busy – there’s just no alternative, it’s the only way to work a circular route here. The bonus is that once you have crossed it the second time, the route just gets better (and better and better …) the whole way back.

And when you’re finally back at your car, you can sit a while and appreciate that view; we strongly recommend having a flask of coffee and a piece of cake in the car waiting for your return.

sunset from the Ringstead Bay car park after a Dorset walk

You could also add in the walk down to the beach, if you were so inclined: it’s half a mile down to the sea (and the subsequent half a mile back up again of course!

Parking: couldn’t be easier off-season, though during the summer months you’ll need an early start to nab a spot in the NT car park (pay by machine, NT members free of course).


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