Jurassic Coast Walk: 153 Miles of Dinosaur Fossils and Footprints

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If you’re looking for a walking trail that combines stunning coastal scenery with fascinating history and geology, look no further than the Jurassic Coast Walk!

Is it just me, or is the name alone enough to inspire a hiking holiday? The Jurassic coastline is one of the most visually stunning coastal walks in the UK and takes you back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the UK.

Spanning 95 miles (153 km) along the southern coast of England, from Exmouth in Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, this national trail is a must-do for anyone who loves the great outdoors.

The Jurassic Coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its unique rock formations, fossil-rich beaches, and excellent views. in 2001, it became the UK’s first natural UNESCO site. 

Along the way, you’ll discover charming coastal towns, picturesque villages, and historical landmarks, making it a journey of discovery as well as a physical challenge.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what makes the Jurassic Coast Walk so special and why it should be on your bucket list of hiking trails to conquer.

The 95-mile hike starts in the port town of Exmouth next to the natural attraction Old Harry Rocks.

It’s part of the national trail, the South West Coast Path and is a great choice if you don’t have time to do all the South West Coast Path. 

But over time, there have been some variations, including the one we’re going to be speaking about today:

Durdle Door, one of the Jurassic Coast Highlights

Highlights of the Jurassic Coast Walk

  • Jurassic Coast Beaches – including
    • Durdle Door Beach: Famous for its iconic limestone arch and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. And, of course, the limestone arch of Durdle Door – an iconic natural limestone arch that has been carved by the sea over thousands of years.
    • Lulworth Cove: A picturesque, sheltered bay surrounded by towering chalk cliffs and crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect spot for a swim after a day of walking or for a picnic lunch. You can also check out the Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre for more information.
    • Chesil Beach: An 18-mile-long pebble beach that offers spectacular views and fantastic opportunities for fishing and birdwatching.
    • Lyme Regis Beach: Also known as the “Pearl of Dorset,” this beach is renowned for its fossil-rich cliffs, and beaches and historic harbor.
    • Studland Bay: A beautiful, sandy beach with a backdrop of heathland and sand dunes, popular for its clear waters and nature reserve.
  • The historic village of Abbotsbury – This quaint village is home to an 11th-century church and a beautiful swannery, where you can see hundreds of swans in their natural habitat.

  • The unique rock formations of Old Harry Rocks – These chalk formations mark the end of the Jurassic Coast Walk and offer breathtaking views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbeck Hills.

Jurassic Coast, one of the scenic walks in the South West Coast path.

The Jurassic Coast Walk National Trail is one of 16 national trails found in the UK.

Here’s a list of all the national trails in the UK: Cleveland Way, Cotswold Way, Glyndwr’s Way, Hadrian’s Wall PathNorth Downs Way, Offa’s Dyke Path, Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, Pennine Bridleway, Pennine Way, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, The Ridgeway, South Downs Way, South West Coast PathThames PathThe West Highland Way, Yorkshire Wolds Way. 

Your Day By Day Guide to the Jurassic Coast Walk

You’ll start your walk from Exmouth for a 9-day walk. We’ve included your start and end point each day, along with the daily distances and accommodation options. 

I’ve hiked in the UK for 20 years, have experience in teaching outdoor education and have walked the Jurassic Coast Walk, so you’re in good hands. I’ll share the highlights, point out tricky or technical sections if there are any, and share my favorite accommodations for walkers each day. Let’s get started!

Note: it’s also possible to shorten the route to 6 days if you begin in the town of Lyme Regis, which may be more manageable if you have limited holidays or are looking for a shorter walk.

Day 1: Walk From Exmouth To Sidmouth

  • Start Point: Exmouth
  • Distance: 11.7 miles (18.82 km)
  • Total Ascent: 344 m (1,129 ft)
  • Finish Point: Sidmouth
Exmouth, the starting point in the Jurassic Coast Walk

Your walk starts from Exmouth‘s stunning port town, civil parish, and seaside resort. It takes you along the coast to the beautiful coastal town of Budleigh Salterton, where you’ll pass by beach huts.

Shortly after, you’ll walk around the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve, an excellent place for bird watching and much more.

From there, it’s about a three-mile walk before you can stop off for refreshments at the Ladram Bay Holiday Park. Throughout this section of walking the Jurassic Coast, you’re treated to striking red cliffs that are absolutely stunning. 

One of my favorite photo opportunities was at the scenic spot, High Peak, where you get stunning views of the beach and the red cliffs.

Sidmouth, one of the walks in Jurassic Coast Walk

Eventually, you’ll make it to the beach town of Sidmouth, where you can spend the night at one of the many beachside hotels, including Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, The Victoria, or The Belmont.

Day 2: Walk From Sidmouth To Seaton

  • Start Point: Sidmouth
  • Distance: 10 miles (16 km)
  • Total Ascent: 595.8 m (1,955 ft)
  • Finish Point: Seaton
Seaton, one of the walks in the South West Coast path.
Seaton Cliffs

From Sidmouth, you return to cliffs overlooking the sea with a stunning contrast of green fields and red cliffs.

During this section of the Jurassic Coast Walk, you might find the route busier. The town of Banscombe and Beer is a very popular hiking route for people staying in the area.

You’ll also notice that cliffs start changing from red to white chalk cliffs. If you have some space-time, you can take a walk to Beer Quarry Caves for a look around.

Beer is a stunning little town where you can stop off for a pint or check out one of the many activities before heading to the village of Seaton.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Seaton, check out Garlands at Beer, Upcott House, Fring House, or The Dolphin.

Day 3: Walk From Seaton To Lyme Regis

  • Start Point: Seaton
  • Distance: 7.2 miles (11.5 km)
  • Total Ascent: 260 m (853 ft)
  • Finish Point: Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis, one of the Jurassic Coast walks
Fossil Beach in Lyme Regis

This is a relatively short section of the walk, but ensure you fill up on water and snacks before leaving Seaton; there aren’t many places to stop.

The walk starts with a quick walk through fields before it turns into a mini jungle, which makes this section strenuous. 

There’s not much to see during this section, and it was my least favorite section of the Jurassic Coast Walk, to be honest. It takes approximately  4 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level.

Eventually, you’ll reach the town of Lyme Regis, where you can stay the night at Lyme Townhouse, Alexandra Hotel, Cobb Gate Beach House, or Cliff Cottage.

Day 4: Walk From Lyme Regis To Bridport

  • Start Point: Lyme Regis
  • Distance: 12 miles (19 km)
  • Total Ascent: 810 m (2,657 ft)
  • Finish Point: Bridport
Bridport, one of the Jurassic Coast Walks in Dorset, England

Your first day starts in the stunning coastal town of Lyme Regis, known for its fossil cliffs and fossil-rich and sandy beaches.

The hike takes you inland and edges around the remains of Europe’s most significant coastal mudslide. When you descend into the town of Charmouth Beach, be sure to allow plenty of time for fossil hunting! 

After you’ve finished your fossil hunt, you’ll walk a beautiful stretch of the coastal path following the cliffs along the Golden Cap, which is 191 meters and the highest point on the south coast of Britain. 

Eventually, you’ll hit your resting point for the night in the beautiful market town of Bridport. You’ll find plenty of accommodations, including The Bull Hotel and Town House Bridport Dorset.

Day 5: Walk From Bridport To Abbotsbury

  • Start Point: Bridport
  • Distance: 10 miles (17 km)
  • Total Ascent: 240 m (787 ft)
  • Finish Point: Abbotsbury
Abbotsbury, one of the walks in the Jurassic Coast Walk
Abbotsbury village

Today you’ll depart from the market town and return to the stunning stretch of coastline for one of my favorite days with a huge variety of stunning scenery. The hike will take you past the enchanting village of Burton Bradstock before reaching the iconic sandstone cliffs at the start of Chesil Beach.

This 18-mile stretch along a shingle barrier beach has claimed many shipwrecks over the years, but it’s still stunning.

You’ll then gradually climb to the village of Abbotsbury, which is your stopping point for today.  If you don’t arrive too late, check out the local Swannery, where you can find Mute Swans.

As for accommodation options,  check out the Cowards Lake Farmhouse or East Farmhouse, which isn’t too far from Abbotsbury Abbey Remains (an old Benedictine monastery).

Day 6: Walk From Abbotsbury To Weymouth

  • Start Point: Abbotsbury
  • Distance: 14 miles (23 km)
  • Total Ascent: 339 m (1,112 ft)
  • Finish Point: Weymouth
Weymouth, one of the walks in Jurassic Coast Walk

After leaving Abbotsbury, you’ll head across the open countryside to one of my trip highlights, Fleet Lagoon, Britain’s biggest inland tidal lagoon.

Fleet Lagoon is an area of Special Scientific Interest thanks to the host of wildlife that live both in and out of the water. If you love nature, you’ll love this place; it’s truly stunning.

Your hike continues over Ferry Bridge, which provides stunning views across the rugged Isle of Portland. And your day finishes at the seaside town of Weymouth.

The seaside town is known as one of the top ten beaches in Europe. And with this, there are plenty of places to stay, including Jurassic Apartments, The Old Castle Hotel, and Warwick Court.

Day 7: Walk From Weymouth To Lulworth Cove

  • Start Point: Weymouth
  • Distance: 11 miles (18 km)
  • Total Ascent: 634 m (2,080 ft)
  • Finish Point: Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove, one of the walks in Jurassic Coast Walk
Lulworth Cove

Today, your hike will get progressively more challenging as you climb out of Weymouth along the coastal cliff tops. Luckily, you’re rewarded with wonderful views of Durdle Door, a natural limestone sea arch known for being one of the most photographed landmarks in Dorset and the towering cliffs of Stair Hole.

It’s also home to the beautiful Lulworth Cove, a sheltered bay with crystal-clear waters perfect for a refreshing swim after a day of walking.

Your final stop will be Lulworth Cove which is a stunning beach town. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get a place to stay at Lulworth Lodge. If not, you can also stay in West Lulworth at the Bijou B&B.

Day 8: Walk From Lulworth To Worth Matravers

  • Start Point: Lulworth
  • Distance: 15 miles (24 km)
  • Total Ascent: 1,236 m (4,055 ft)
  • Finish Point: Worth Matravers
Worth Matravers, one of the walks in the Jurassic Coast Walk
St. Aldhelms’ Chapel in Worth Matravers

This will be your most challenging day so far on the Jurassic Coast Walk. You’ll need to be prepared for some strenuous hiking with steep climbing, so ensure you get a good night’s sleep and have a good hiking breakfast before heading out. 

The route takes you through the military firing range between Lulworth and Kimmerridge. But here’s the thing:

It’s one of the trip’s highlights, but you can only walk through the firing range if not in use. If the military is firing, there will be an alternative route available.

Kimmeridge Bay as seen from the Jurassic Coast Walk
Kimmeridge Bay

You’ll reach the conservation area Kimmeridge Bay, where you’ll be able to find loads of fossils so be sure to allow some time to look for them.

Your day of hiking finishes in the charming village of Worth Matravers, where you can spend the night at Compass Cottage or Seafield.

Day 9: Walk From Worth Matravers To Old Harry Rocks

  • Start Point: Worth Matravers
  • Distance: 14 miles (23 km)
  • Total Ascent: 706 m (2,316 km)
  • Finish Point: Poole
Old Harry Rocks, one of the walks in Jurassic Coast Walk
Old Harry Rocks

This is your final day of the Jurassic Coast Walk. You’ll head across the cliffs to Dancing Ledge, where you’ll find a small swimming pool carved into the rock.

From there, you can head to the official endpoint of the Jurassic Coast Walk at Old Harrys Rocks (stunning rock formation), where you can stare out to the Isle of Wight.

But your hike, unfortunately, isn’t finished. You’ll have to continue hiking to the city of Poole. After a day of hiking, I recommend spending the night there; then the next day, take public transport back home. 

Where To Stay Along The Jurassic Coast Walk

Arrival Day: Exmouth

Day 1: Sidmouth. Our Recommendations: Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, The Victoria, or The Belmont

Day 2: Seaton. Our Recommendations: Garlands at Beer, Upcott House, Fring House, or The Dolphin

Day 3: Lyme Regis. Our Recommendations: Lyme Townhouse, Alexandra Hotel, Cobb Gate Beach House, or Cliff Cottage

Day 4: Bridport. Our Recommendations: The Bull Hotel or Town House Bridport Dorset

Day 5: Abbotsbury. Our Recommendations: Cowards Lake Farmhouse or East Farm House

Day 6: Weymouth. Our Recommendations: Jurassic Apartments, The Old Castle Hotel or Warwick Court

Day 7: Lulworth Cove. Our Recommendation: Bijou B&B

Day 8: Worth Matravers. Our Recommendations: Compass Cottage or Seafield

Day 9: Poole

Frequently Asked Questions About the Jurassic Coast Walk

When Is The Best Time To Do the Jurassic Coast Walk?

When hiking in the UK, the best time to go there is always spring and summer. During the spring season, the path will be slightly quieter, but you have more chances of some quick showers. But during the summer, the track is going to be very busy.

Who Will Enjoy This Walk?

This is a hike that anyone who enjoys long-distance hikes will enjoy. Elderly people might find some sections challenging, but it’s not impossible, just take your time.

If you’re with children, you might have to cut the route short, but they’ll enjoy searching for fossils along the coastline.

Are There Any Similar Walks In The UK?

If you like this hike, then you’ll enjoy the South West Coast Path. It incorporates this section along with six other trails.

Where To Get Food & Drink On the Jurassic Coast Walk?

While there are towns and villages you can stop for a bit to eat in, we always recommend carrying some hiking snacks with you though, in case you get hungry and aren’t near a village.

You’ll also want to have a good hiking breakfast before you head out each day.

What Gear Do I Need To Bring on the Jurassic Coast Walk?

Here’s our list of recommended trekking gear for a multi-day walk like this. Of special note is buying clothing made from Merino wool, which is perfect for English weather, especially if you’re doing the walk in spring or fall.

Plus, I like to bring a good hiking book so I have something to read in the evenings (usually on my Kindle) and record the day in my hiking journal.
And for the ladies who still want to look good while doing this route, check out our hiking makeup tips.

Is There anyway I can get involved in helping to preserve the Jurassic Coast?

Yes, you can become a member of the Jurassic Coast Trust here, which helps preserve this iconic coastal trail.

Chalk Cliffs in the Jurassic Coast
Chalk Cliffs in the Jurassic Coast

More Information on Walking the Jurassic Coast Walk

Guidebooks are great sources of information, like this guidebook which includes a route planner and route maps if you’re planning on doing it by yourself.

In conclusion, the Jurassic Coast Walk is a truly unique hiking trail that combines stunning coastal scenery, fascinating history, unique geology and the amazing opportunity to look for dinosaur fossils!

As England’s first natural UNESCO site, this 95-mile trail offers a journey of discovery for hikers and walkers. Add it to your bucket list and discover for yourself where dinosaurs roamed and the beauty that England’s southern coast has to offer.

Jurassic Coast Walk: 153 Miles of Dinosaur Fossils and Footprints

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