Dorset has nearly 3000 miles of rights of way, much of it well waymarked and signposted. Below are listed some of the major routes running through Dorset, but there are hundreds of other routes around the towns and popular attractions.
A12 mile waymarked footpath through some of the less well known landscapes in the north Purbeck area. It heads north from Wareham through the Wareham Forest, then passes through a patchwork of small fields and woodlands to Sturminster Marshall where it joins the Stour Valley Way (see below)
This 16 mile long waymarked recreational route follows the route of the old 'Castleman Corkscrew' railway line from Ashley Twinning near Ringwood to Upton near Poole. The railway was closed as part of Dr Beechings cuts in the 1960's; you can now wander through some of East Dorset's most beautiful and varied countryside. The majority of the Trail is for walkers but horse riders and cyclists may ride part of the route which is continually being upgraded for this purpose.
A 64 mile long distance path which follows the River Stour from the sea at Christchurch to its source at Stourhead. The Norman splendour of Christchurch Priory to the National Trust owned Stourhead, this easily walked footpath will help you to explore the hidden charms of Dorset.
A circular route of 26 miles taking in the villages and hamlets of Minterne Magna, Cerne Abbas, Nether Cerne, Godmanstone, Forston and Charminster. The route follows the course of the river, from near its source in the basin formed by the hills of High Stoy and Dogbury to its confluence with the Frome, in the water meadows below Charminster.
Offers a 630 mile continuous coastal adventure, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, and features some of the most dramatic landscapes and breath taking views of any walking trail. But you don't need to be super-fit to enjoy it! Perfect for a short stroll or walk.
Along its 24 mile length, the Purbeck Way passes through some of the most varied and spectacular scenery in Britain. The route starts at Wareham and, after leaving the River Frome and water meadows, continues through heathland, woodland and downland before arriving at the dramatic coastal scenery near Studland and the Old Harry Rocks. From here the route follows the Dorset Coast Path east to Chapman's Pool visiting Swanage and St Aldhelm's Head. From Chapman's Pool the path heads inland up a steep sided valley and passes near Kingston before the finish at Corfe Castle. The geology of the area is outstanding.
An unforgettable 11 mile journey from West Bay, along the River Brit, through the picturesque village of Netherbury and onto the Beaminster Downs to admire the wonderful views. The final destination is the beautiful and historic village of Chedington where you can link up with the River Parrett Trail.
Can be enjoyed as a 50 mile hike over 3 or 4 days or as a series of shorter walks exploring some of lowland England's most beautiful, intriguing but also fragile countryside. This is a comfortable walk through the gentle hills of the Dorset and Somerset borders
A long distance route which is currently being extended. It will eventually extend to Poole Harbour and the final length will be 43 miles. The Trail explores a unique habitat, the Frome chalk stream and downlands, which is home to a diverse range of river corridor species.
A Trailway is a 3 metre wide path with access to walkers, cyclists, horse riders and the less able. The Somerset and Dorset Old Railway Line provides an ideal route for a Trailway as it links many of North Dorset's towns and villages. There are 5 sections of Trailway in North Dorset that are currently open to the public. These are, Charlton Marshall, Blandford, Shillingstone, Sturminster Newton and Stalbridge.
There are many places you can hire bikes from, below are listed a few of the major ones:
31 Great Western Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UF Tel: 01305 268787 www.dorchestercycles.co.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org One of the largest cycle shops in the Dorset area.
31 High Street, Stalbridge, DT10 2LL Tel: 01963 362476 The repair specialist. Everything from custom built bikes, new, used & hire bikes, a large range of children's bikes. Easy Parking available.
A1 Hire & Sales Ltd
76-88 Old Wareham Road, Poole, BH12 4QR Tel: 01202 736899 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.a1hire.co.uk Open: 07:00 to 17:30 Monday to Friday / 07:30 to 12:30 Saturday Adult and child cycles, tag alongs and trailer buggies, with hire rates from under £10 for a day. With branches in Bournemouth and Wareham.
The Cycle Station Bike Hire
Norden Park & Ride, Corfe Castle, Tel: 07971 929598 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org In association with Swanage Railway.
Link Mall, Dolphin Centre, Poole, Dorset BH15 1TF Please telephone the shop for further details. Tel: 01202 680123
B J Cycles
196 Blandford Rd, Poole, Dorset BH15 4BH Please telephone the shop for further details. Tel: 01202 671148
2-4, Wimborne Rd, Poole, Dorset BH15 2BU Please telephone the shop for further details. Tel: 01202 330011
Dorset's countryside is delightful to explore on horseback, or if you prefer you can ride along a beautiful beach. There are a wide range of riding centres and stables:
Cattistock Riding Stables- Tel: 01308 863006
Coombs - Tel: 01258 455846
Deer Park Riding
Tel: 01258 453283
Forest Park Riding Stables, Brockenhurst- Tel: 01590 623429. Burley Manor Hotel Riding Stables- Tel: 01425 403489
Rempstone Stables- Tel: 01929 480490
Manor Stables, Kingston Maurward- Tel: 01305 215063
Stocks Farm Equestrian Centre, West Parley- Tel: 01202 570288
Long Lane Stables, Penselwood- Tel: 01747 840283
Lulworth Equestrian Centre, Coombe Keynes- Tel: 01929 400396
Pound Cottage Riding Centre- Tel: 01258 880057
Burley-Villa School of Riding- Tel: 01425 610278
Sims Cottage Stables
Tel: 01425 612961
Windmill Stables- Tel: 01305 823719
Bridleways- Tel: 01935 814716
Forest Pines Riding Centre- Tel: 01202 871828
Studland Riding Stables- Tel: 01929 450273
Brambles Farm Riding School, Gotham- Tel: 01202 822837
Bramdon Farm Trekking Centre, Portesham- Tel: 01305 871011
Lanehouse Equitation Centre
Tel: 01305 770177
Ranch House Riding Stables, Osmington Mills
Tel: 01305 833578
Riding School, Chickerell
Tel: 01305 771760
Green Cottage Riding Centre, Three Legged Cross- Tel: 01202 822632. Holtwood Riding Stables, Holt- Tel: 01258 840293
Rushall Park Riding Stables, Corfe Mullen
Tel: 01202 691988
A private members club with full clubhouse facilities. Visitors welcome at weekends. Downland and wood course with wonderful views over the Stour and Tarrant valleys.
One of the most beautiful municipal golf courses in the country. As well as being beautiful, the course can also prove to be incredibly challenging. Tel- 01202 290307
An exceptional Heathland Course, with a very welcoming atmosphere.
A stunning setting with spectacular views over the Purbeck hills and Poole plus a quality Clubhouse make Bulbury Woods Golf Club not only the perfect golf course for a pleasurable and testing round, but it is also a place where you will receive a warm welcome and fine hospitality.
Offers stunning 360 degree views to locations such as Weymouth, Portland, Dorchester, Isle of Wight, Maiden Castle and more. The course measures 6255 yards, par 70 from the competition tees.
This club is home to 3 courses: two with 18 holes and one with 9.
nestled on the border of Somerset and Dorset, with spectacular views from all points on the course, the course has been described as "one of the prettiest in England." There are 7 holes in Somerset and the remainder in Dorset!
Few places in Dorset can quite match the course at Christchurch Golf Club, as it enjoys spectacular views from pretty much every vantage point on the course. There are a whole host of hazards adding to the personality of it, not to mention the difficulty. Tel: 01202 436436
Established in 1992, a 27 hole golf complex, situated a mile from the town of Verwood. Home to a floodlit driving range, a clubhouse and pro shop, Crane Valley provides an enjoyable challenge to both low and high handicappers and the ideal venue for a round of golf with friends.
The wind at Dudsbury can often play a decisive role as can the lakes and streams which come in to play on fourteen of the holes! The fairways are lush and make for easy walking and the greens have been constructed to USGA specification.
Two Martin Hawtree designed golf courses with excellent clubhouse and professional facilities. Covered and floodlit driving range plus two grass practice grounds. Tel: 01929 472244
Very attractive 18 hole Pay & Play Course set amongst mature trees and meandering streams. The course is easy walking for the newcomer but challenging for the experienced.
There is one 18 hole course and one 9 hole- 18 tee course, both are in excellent condition and provide a wonderful game of golf.
A friendly and welcoming atmosphere awaits you at this 18 hole golf course, with excellent food, set in beautiful countryside.
Home to a relatively short course in comparison with many other courses in the Dorset area, it has plenty of challenges abounding for you to take on and enjoy whether you are a high or a low handicapper, the castle also comes into view on some of the tees. Tel: 01425 272210
The club is home to both a 9 and an 18 hole course. The views are spectacular for the course is positioned on a high Heathland plateau and the 360-degree panorama is a constant distraction from the game at hand.
A genuine heathland course, consisting of many golfing challenges for all ranges of handicaps. In between shots you can enjoy the many beautiful views.
The course occupies a cliff top site with coastal views to Portland Bill and looks down on the historic town and World Heritage Site of Lyme Regis. The condition of the course is the source of constant praise from visiting golfers.
One of the best known and finest courses on the South Coast and ranked in the top 120 golf courses in the British Isles by Golf Monthly magazine. A beautiful and mature heathland course with lakes, standings of mature pines and a wide variety of wildlife together with panoramic views over Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island and the Isle of Purbeck.
'Pay as you go' golf on one of the finest courses in the area, with a newly refurbished bar and restaurant.
A beautifully landscaped course which enjoys panoramic views of Christchurch Harbour, The Priory and Hengistbury Head. A very challenging Par 3 Course that is excellent for improving your short game. Tel : 01202 477987
This excellent parkland course is proof that a course does not have to be excessively long in order to leave you breathless because this one will leave you positively gasping. In the best possible way, of course, as the stunning setting is enough to leave you needing to catch your breath. Tel: 01935 812274.
Pay and play par 3 links course overlooking Hengistbury Head with scenic views of Christchurch Priory, Mudeford Quay and the Isle of Wight. A great golfing experience for golfers of all levels. Tel: 01202 420795.
9 holes with 2 sets of tees: the course offers a good challenge for the average golfer whilst being not too difficult for the learner. Set amongst mature trees and a couple of lakes it is in a truly rural and beautiful setting.
An established heathland course situated on the edge of Wareham Forest. Although less than 6000 yards, Wareham is a challenging and enjoyable course that offers a rewarding golf experience to golfers of all standards. Wareham also offers superb views across Poole Harbour, the Purbeck Hills and Wareham Forest.
A beautiful parkland course with views over the Dorset coast and countryside. The main feature of Weymouth golf course, which is bound to strike the golfing visitor before any other is the magnificence of its situation.
Explore Dorset’s world heritage coastline by kayak. Marvel at amazing rock strata, formations and fossils and enjoy marine life in its natural habitat.
The only scuba diving centre in the area with its own on-site indoor scuba diving pool & state of the art classrooms, which have full multimedia facilities. Tal Scuba is able to offer an extensive range of diving and first aid courses from novice to instructor.
As a PADI Dive Centre they are proud to offer full Scuba Instruction courses, along with various First Aid & CPR training including HSE certification. They also provide full centre services including; Equipment Sales, Equipment Hire and Equipment Servicing. Tel: 01202 678900.
Diving courses to suit everyone: from absolute beginners to fully experienced divers.
Provides T2, a purpose built rigid inflatable boat waiting to take you out to sea. Choose between the ‘great white knuckle ride’ (not for the faint hearted) or one of the more sedate and scenic rides.
A windsurfing school operating in the shallow waters of Portland harbour - one of the most popular windsurfing destinations in the UK. Courses take place every day of the week from April to October.
With a qualified team of instructors the Waterboard delivers the highest quality tuition and all the equipment you need to get the best from your sport. An approved kite surfing, windsurfing and wakeboarding centre.
Located in Christchurch Bay with fully qualified, friendly staff, Ocean Sports offers a range of courses, catering for beginner to advanced levels with a full range of current equipment available to hire. Windsurfing tuition, power kiting tuition and power boating courses.
The School offers a full range of RYA power boating and windsurfing course. Skipper charter of a rib for up to 7 persons for cruises along the Jurassic Coast, Isle of White and Solent as well as around Poole Harbour. Hire of windsurfing equipment off the beach.
A sailing school and yacht charterer. Yachts, from 32-feet to 42-feet, are available for charter in Poole, Christchurch and Lymington. The courses and cruises are available for both beginners and experienced sailors.
Snowtrax, Christchurch- Everyone is welcome at Snowtrax, from those wishing to improve their skiing skills or the outright novice looking for skiing lessons, to ordinary members of the public just wanting to soak in the scenery. Or why not try ski-bobbing or ringo-ing! Great fun and no experience necessary.