Day 7 - from Thorncombe beacon (Sue Preston, Australia Senior Traveller)
Day 7 - from Thorncombe beacon (Sue Preston, Australia Senior Traveller) 
Route summary
£805.00 (2017)
Per person
7 nights
7 B&B,
Luggage transfers between hotels
Maximum party size 8
Easy - Medium
4.5 - 7 hours per day
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England - Dorset
In the footsteps of Thomas Hardy
Full Description

A self-guided hike through the most English of counties, from Salisbury to the Dorset Coast at Lyme Regis. Visit Wardour Castle, Saxon Shaftesbury, Cranborne Chase, Milton Abbas, The Cerne Giant, Evershot, Bridport and Lyme Regis.


Grade: Easy-medium


From Salisbury to the Dorset Coast
Dorset in style! Our route discovers the Wessex that Thomas Hardy knew and loved so well. Following an overnight stay in the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, and a short train ride, the walk winds west past the romantic ruins of Old Wardour Castle to the Saxon hilltop town of Shaftesbury. Heading on down picturesque Gold Hill towards the south coast, you'll explore Dorset, one of England's most beautiful counties, happening on quintessentially English villages and staying in some fascinating old inns. Cross Cranborne Chase to ancient Hambledon Hill and the 'new village' of Milton Abbas; through remote Bingham's Melcombe to idyllic Plush and the always-ready Cerne Abbas giant. Your last day is spent exploring the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, and enjoying the views from high up on Golden Cap, all the way to journey's end, the fishing village of Lyme Regis. Walked by On Foot staff: Mary and Simon


Maximum party size: Eight (two double rooms, two twins at Child Okeford).


Standard option (as per "itinerary"): 7 nights - but you can add rest days in any hotel, or why not an extra night in either Salisbury or Lyme Regis?

Suggested shorter alternatives: This walk can be shortened to suit the amount of time you have available - contact us.


Self-guiding introduction by a member of the On Foot team (if available) - for your first walking day only.  See "Prices".

  • The cathedral city of Salisbury
  • Old Wardour Castle
  • Shaftesbury - a Saxon hilltop town, and Gold Hill
  • Idyllic rolling and unspoilt countryside...
  • ...with constant Thomas Hardy references
  • Quintessential English villages and inns
  • Dorset's Jurassic Coast, Golden Cap and Lyme Regis

WE RECOMMEND: An extra day to relax and explore the local countryside at the perfect pub at Plush, or at Thomas Hardy's "Sow and Acorn" in Evershot, at the seaside at Lyme Regis or in the cathedral city of Salisbury.


EATING AND DRINKING: A great chance to taste real English ales, hearty food and even the infamous Dorset Knob. The restaurants at the Brace of Pheasants and the Acorn are excellent. Also try Mark Hix' Oyster and Fish House on Cobb Road in Lyme Regis (online reservations) and don't miss fish and chips eaten al fresco on the seafront in Lyme (but watch out for hungry seagulls).

Route map
England - Dorset route map