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Great Dorset Walks

Want to explore our beautiful county? Not sure where to start? We've rounded up some great routes to get you started. Rather have a guided walk or join others? We've got that covered too with our round-up of local walking groups.


Dorset Health Walks

If you are looking to get more active and connect with others, then a health walk could be the one for you. Dorset health walks are free. They’re a short and regular guided walk that lasts between ten to ninety minutes for people of all abilities, especially for those who would like to get moving more. These walks are a great opportunity to explore green spaces, towns and villages across Dorset. Explore health walk locations near you.

Guided Walking in the BCP area

Find friends, inspiration and motivation with a guided walk. Here are some ideas of where to find guided health walks around Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Ramblers Wellbeing Walks

Everyone is welcome at Ramblers Wellbeing Walks; they make it easier to start walking and stay active - while being with good company. These walks are for anyone wanting to improve their wellbeing or get back into physical activity. So, whatever your reason for walking, you'll always enjoy these friendly group walks. Find a Ramblers Wellbeing Walk near you.

Parkwalk at Parkrun

Every Saturday morning in a park near you, friendly groups of people get together to walk or run to improve their health and get outside. There is no time limit at parkrun, so people can walk at their own pace and still soak up the parkrun atmosphere. It's a great opportunity to chat to people, get active and it's something that whole the family can do together. Walking is also one of the best entry points into parkrun, especially for those who may be taking their first steps towards healthier and happier lifestyles. Find your nearest Parkrun.

Nordic Walking UK

If you're new to Nordic walking, then you should try Nordic Walking UK. The friendly group of qualified instructors can help you find out more about this amazing activity, set and achieve goals, and give you access to both tuition and so many walks a week via their community of groups. Everyone is welcome. You can visit the Nordic Walking UK website to find three walks that suit you and become a part of the Nordic Walking UK community - there is a charge for these walks.

The Parks Foundation

The Parks Foundation provide activities in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s parks and green spaces to enhance the areas and improve the health and wellbeing for those taking part. You can choose from mindfulness walks, insect hunts, bird watching, nature trails and more - all of which are fun, free, and friendly. These group activities are great for connecting with new people and getting out in nature. See The Parks Foundation upcoming events.

Welly Wednesday at Kingcombe

If you're passionate about the environment, join this monthly meeting group who come together at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kingcombe Visitor Centre for a Wednesday Welly Walk. They meet on a monthly basis to explore Kingcombe National Nature Reserve; appropriate footwear is needed as it's an uneven trail. The group walk is suitable for people aged 18 years and over. Find out more and book. 

U3A walking groups

If you have recently retired from work or just come to live in lovely Dorset, or want to get into walking more, you should join your local U3A group. The walking groups are an excellent way of getting out exploring and meeting new people. Groups are small but friendly - and new members are always welcome. 


Walking in Bournemouth

Bournemouth is an area rich in heritage and natural, outstanding beauty. With a wide range of gardens, plenty of beaches and historic buildings, the town is an impressive leisure spot for walking, hiking and exploring an area rich in heritage. A map of parks and gardens in the area provides a perfect starting point for those wishing to explore at their own pace. A much-loved route through Poole includes The Bourne Valley Greenway, a green corridor which includes heathland, a nature reserve, amd gardens. Discover Bournemouth.

Walking in Christchurch

There are some wonder walks in Christchurch including The Avon Valley path which follows the course of the River Avon; The Stour Valley Way which follows the Rover Stour and Christchurch Millennium Trail, taking walkers to sites of historical interest from the Neolithic times to the 20th century.Discover Christchurch

Walking in Poole

Poole offers beautiful beaches, open countryside, heathland, nature reserves, formal parks, gardens and a vibrant, historic town centre. You can enjoy a Rotary 5 Quays Walk to discover the town or, if you prefer a longer route, try The Castlemen Trail, The Cockle Trail, Poole Faith Trail and the South West Coast Path. Discover Poole 

Walking in East Dorset

Castleman Trail is 16.5 mile (26.5 kilometres) trailway follows much of the old Southampton to Dorchester railway line. Wareham Forest: Stretching from Wareham to Sturminster Marshall, the Wareham Forest Way discovers some of the less well known landscapes of north Purbeck and east Dorset. Find East Dorset Walks

Walking in West Dorset

Including 630 mile South West Coast Path Dramatic landscapes and seascapes are revealed with every twist and turn, the South Dorset and Wessex ridgeways; Kingston Maurward Walkabouts visiting Thomas Hardy's two homes and the Cerne Valley Way, a circular walk takes in the hamlets and villages. Find West Dorset Walks

Walking in North Dorset

Wessex Ridgeway Trail is a magnificent ridge-top route crossing Dorset's rural heartland and offers big vistas. The gravelly tracks of the North Dorset Trailway makes it a great walking and cycling route. It runs along the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line and takes you through some picturesque villages of the Blackmore vale. Or try Sturminster Newton Walkabouts, a series of eight circular walks all starting from Sturminster Newton and taking in the surrounding area of the Blackmore Vale. Find North Dorset Walks

Walking in Weymouth and Portland

Weymouth and Portland has a wealth of walks, trails and local footpaths and bridleways to explore. You can travel through 20 million years of Jurassic time, explore flowery meadows and fossil-filled quarries and a wild coastline. One great way is walking the South West Coast Path which skirts around Weymouth and the Isle of Portland. For a shorter option try Portland quarry trails, less than 2km long and  where you can find out about the famous Portland rock and quarries, how the stone was worked and transported over a century ago and the wildlife living there now. Another good shorter option is The Rodwell Trail, 3.5k along Weymouth's old railway line and Sandsfoot Castle. Find Weymouth and Portland walks

Dorset History Walks

Dorset is rich in history and these walks are designed for anyone who would like to know a little more about the area.  All the walks are short (just a few kilometres) but it is recommended to allow an hour and a half to allow lots of time to sit and enjoy the surroundings on route. All walks avoid steep hills and difficult to walk areas. These self-guided walks include Blandford, Cerne Abbas, Fordington, Sherborne, Swanage and Weymouth. Discover history walks


Orienteering is an activity for all ages that combines map reading with getting active in the great outdoors. The aim is to navigate between various points on a map. When you find each point you can scan a QR code on your phone or write down the letters/numbers that you see. You can even get competitive, seeing how long it takes you to find the points and compare with others. Find local routes and orienteering courses.

National Trust walking routes

The National Trust offers lots of choice for walkers in Dorset with coastal rambles, formal garden strolls and countryside walks with far-reaching views. Take the bracing climb up Hambledon Hill to look out over Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, or walk back through time as you explore the Iron Age hillfort at Badbury Rings on the Kingston Lacy estate. Or how about a coastal hike – Old Harry Rocks, The Golden Cap or the Purbeck Ridgeway from Corfe Castle. National Trust routes

Moors Valley Mindfulness Trail

Enjoy a sensory walk with an audio tour (you can link in to audio files on the Moors Valley website or download an app) that will guide you through experiencing the fundamentals of mindfulness whilst interacting with the natural world. The trail is approximately 3.5km long and is made up of two loops in a figure of eight with 13 stopping points. Discover the mindfulness trails


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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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