One of the most iconic trails in the UK overlooking turquoise waters
The Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch which creates the perfect frame to the picturesque long sandy beach and turquoise (but cold!) waters. It is the classic postcard image and the symbol of the Jurassic Coast of Britain. The origin of the name comes from Durdle a derivation from the Old English thirl, meaning to pierce.
I did this hike at least 7 times because is one of those places that inspires freedom, happiness and allows you to sink in nature and listen to the sound of the wind and waves only (sorry there are cows mooing too =)!). The cliff trail is dotted with wildflowers on the ridges, it is perfect for birdwatching such as Peregrine falcons, black-back seagulls etc.
The area is very popular for camping, water sports and family holidays so it can be pretty crowded during summer, but it never looses the charm and it’s the perfect occasion to have a panoramic picnic and admire one of the best sunsets you will ever witness!
Facts About the Hike
Distance: 2.5 miles/ 4.1 km
Elevation Gain: 250 meters ascent
Time: 1.30 hours
Map: The hiking trails are well marked and easy to follow, so the map in my post will be enough, just go straight ahead.
When to go: This hike is at its best during the spring and summer months, when the wildflowers are in bloom and live cattle is grazing on the edge of the cliff.
Bring: Hiking shoes, water, snacks or lunch, a waterproof light jacket (remember you are in UK!), and of course, your camera.
Getting to the start of the hike
By Car: it depends where you come from. I used to live in Bath and it takes two hours. Check here the detailed directions.
By Train: From Bath is takes two hours to get reach Weymouth and then you need to take the bus X54 from the Kings square towards Poole and stop at the Durdle door car park. It takes about 35 minutes.
On the trail
The trail starts at the Durdle Door parking near the camping ran by the National Trust. The parking costs about 6 pounds for the whole day. From here follow the directions through a small but thick woodland area perfect to rest a while and get some shelter on particular hot days. From here you will start descending towards the sea and the bay where the renowned Durdle Door arch and the Man o’ War rocks lie.
This trail is perfect to take great pictures thanks to the green and blue contrasts of nature! It is particularly beautiful during spring to when the grassy cliffs are covered with wild flowers. Once you reach the Durdle Door you can choose to go down the steps and enjoy the beach and swim in those blue waters. On the left you will see the famous Man o’ War rocks!
Go towards East following the directions for the Lulworth Cove passing the little gates. A breath taking view over the cliffs and down hill will accompany you until you will reach the picturesque Lulworth Cove, dotted with boats, a perfect sheltered heaven for small boats and a great spot for swimming. Bear in mind there are often cows grazing on the path. This traditional village is the perfect place to eat some fish and chips or ice-cream with a lovely view over the bay!
Once you arrive in Lulworth Cove you can rent kayaks and explore the arches, coves and little grottos nearby or carry on the coastal path until Poole if you feel particularly energetic! You can also visit Lulworth castle 10 minutes by car from the beach, a magic place with stunning gardens and views over the coast. Lulworth Cove is an idyllic relaxing place perfect for a romantic retreat or a hiking week-end!
More information on hiking in Dorset
If this walk inspired you to explore this astonishing natural area even further, have a look at the guide for the best panoramic hikes in Dorset. I also advise you to check this great guide about short walk for families or some spectacular pub walks in the region! Whatever your level or preferences these guides will inspire you to find your next trail!Coastal Pub Walks: Dorset: Walks to amazing pubs along the South West Coast Path (Top 10 Walks: South West Coast Path) Pub Walks in Dorset Short Walks in Dorset