Hike the Southwest Coast Path from Swanage to Kimmeridge Bay

Dorset, United Kingdom



15 miles

Route Type



Added by Jenna Mulligan

This lightly-trafficked path follows a cliff-line spotted with lighthouses, windswept grass, and quarry sites in the Dorset region.

Beginning at Peveril Point on the southwest edge of Swanage Bay, follow signs for the SW Coastal Path. This path is direct and easy to follow, but there are many sights and stops along the way to Kimmeridge. 

After just less than 2 miles, you'll reach your first noteworthy landmark - the Anvil Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse was completed in the late 19th century, and is available for rent if you want to start your hike from this point rather than from Swanage.

A further 2 miles and you'll reach the Dancing Ledge. This is the first visible sign of quarry on the trail, and there is a path leading down to the large stone ledge, which also provides access to the ocean. Some say that the name derives from the fact that the ledge is the size of a large dance floor.

The next 5 miles of trail pass by the Winspit Quarry and, after a steep climb, lead to St Aldhelm's Head. Winspit has deep caves and intriguing remains from its former use, and St Aldhelm's Head is the site of a 13th century chapel which is still in upright form!

1 mile past St Aldhelm's head, the trail will split for the first time. The left head trail will turn sharply downhill, leading to Chapman's Pool. The right hand trail stays high on the ridge line and detours around Chapman's Pool by passing into the village of Renscombe.

Following this detour for Chapman's Pool, the final 5 miles of trail hugs the coastline and should not detour inland again. You'll be able to see the Kimmeridge Bay tower in the distance for quite some time, alerting you to your destination.

The majority of this trail is dry by the late springtime,  but there are portions of muddy trail and a number of steep inclines and descents. Sturdy boots, gloves or hiking poles, and mobile knees are recommended!

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