Great Wessex Way
266 km / 165 miles
An exploration of the unspoilt and spectacular Wessex countryside that passes through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cranborne Chase and Dorset. Between them they cover almost all of this linear walk. Highlights include the starting point of the cathedral city of Salisbury, the rolling chalk downlands of north Dorset, Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill, the iron age Hambledon Hill fort, Corfe Castle, part of Dorset’s famous World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the lost village of Tyneham, Portland with its history of quarrying, a climb of Golden Cap, the South Coast's tallest cliff, and then finishing on Lyme Regis’s iconic cobb harbour wall. An alternative finish route to Sherborne is described, provided by turning north at Bridport in West Dorset to pass over Dorset's highest point and see Thomas Hardy’s rural heartland before ending the walk at Sherborne’s Abbey. There is in addition a described 9-mile circular walk around Portland Bill.
The route touches on The Hardy Way, The Wessex Heights Walk, The Wessex Ridgeway, The Jubilee Trail, The Stour Valley Way, The Wareham Forest Way, The Purbeck Way, The South West Coast Path, The South Dorset Ridgeway, The Monarch’s Way and The Macmillan Way but there are many significant sections that are off such trails. Inevitably with a route of this length there is going to be some overlapping but the route as a whole stands as a distinctive new path.
Publications, Badges and Certificates:
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