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Six outdoor activities for adults in Dorset

Dorset is filled with incredible woodlands, beaches, coastline and trails all waiting to be explored. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or someone who prefers a gentle stroll taking in the peaceful sights and sounds of nature, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to idyllic spots to enjoy the great outdoors!

Dorset outdoor activities

We’ve hand-picked six of our favourite adult only outdoor activities in Dorset, all of which help to showcase some of the best locations in our wonderful county.  Ready to get active? Let’s go!

1.      Coasteering at Lulworth Cove

For thrill seekers who enjoy a spot of jumping, swimming and climbing while exploring millions of years of Earth's history, coasteering at Lulworth Cove is an absolute must. Formed by the force of the sea and melting ice at the end of the last Ice Age, this stunning spot along the Jurassic coast is known across the world for its unique geology, providing an exhilarating experience that allows you to explore caves and rock formations that paint an incredible picture of Earth’s dramatic past.

Find out more: Lulworth Outdoors Coasteering

2.      Hiking on the Isle of Purbeck

For those who prefer their outdoor activities on dry land, the Isle of Purbeck is a popular area for hiking, enabling walkers of all ages the opportunity to explore the stunning views of south Dorset. While not strictly an isle (it’s actually a peninsular), Purbeck has everything from gentle trails through ancient woodlands to more challenging walks such as the 12-mile hike from Corfe Castle to Swanage. One of our own particular favourites is The Commoners’ Way circular, a 5.5 mile walk from the small village of Kingston which takes you past the hilltop fortress of Corfe Castle. You can also watch the steam trains on the Swanage Railway pull in at the village station, making this trail a must-visit for history buffs, train enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Find out more: Isle Walk Purbeck

3.      Kayaking along the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is one of the most popular destinations in Britain and it’s right here on our doorstep! Kayaking is a great way to explore this vast monument to our past, allowing you to get up close and personal to the outstanding rock formations, fossils and landforms from the sea. One of the most popular (and scenic!) stretches to go kayaking is the route from Ringstead to Durdle Door. This incredible journey will take you along the spectacular chalk cliffs, through Bat Hole Arch and on to Durdle Door and Man o War Bay.

Find out more: Sea Kayak Dorset

4.      Cycling along the North Dorset Trailway

Getting out and about in our fabulous county is far more fun on two wheels than four! There are lots of great cycling routes in Dorset but one of our particular favourites is along the North Dorset Trailway. Extending approximately 14 miles from Sturminster Newton to Spetisbury, the Trailway is largely made up of sections of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway which linked Bristol and Bournemouth up until the late 1960s. Along the way, you’ll take in the stunning views of Hambledon Hill while following the course of the meandering River Stour. Keep an eye out for otters and kingfishers as you cycle along this wonderful – and mostly traffic-free - stretch of road.

Find out more: Visit Dorset – North Dorset Trailway

5.      Wildlife spotting at Arne

Located close to Poole Harbour within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Arne is the perfect place to enjoy wildlife-spotting. Boasting some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the county, this stunning nature reserve is also home to all six of the UK’s remaining native reptiles, including adders, sand lizards and smooth snakes.

For bird watchers, there are roughly 250 species and 55 families of birds to look out for. You may be lucky enough to see the rare Dartford Warblers darting about in the scrub, as well as nightjars, spoonbills and hen harriers. Don’t forget to listen out for the great spotted woodpecker too!

Find out more: RSPB Arne

6.      Ziplining at Bournemouth Pier

Definitely one for the adrenaline junkies! Located at the end of Bournemouth pier is a 250m zip line running from the top of the pier tower down to the beach. If you have a fear of heights, this activity may not be for you, but for those are brave enough to take a leap of faith from 60ft up in the air, you’ll be treated to some spectacular panoramic views across the Bournemouth coastline as you ‘zip surf’ over the waves onto the beach below.

Find out more: Rock Reef

Want to get more active?

Whether you prefer walking, swimming, cycling or something a little more out of the ordinary, being out and about in the great outdoors has multiple health benefits. Not only can it help you get fit and active, it’s also a fantastic way to boost mental wellbeing. For more information, take a look at the Get Active section of our website, featuring some great advice on how to reach your health and fitness goals. You can also register with us today and receive personalised advice from our team of LiveWell coaches.


"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

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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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