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Great Wessex Way

Dorset, Wiltshire

266 km / 165 miles
An exploration of the unspoilt and spectacular Wessex countryside that passes through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cranborne Chase and Dorset. Between them they cover almost all of this linear walk. Highlights include the starting point of the cathedral city of Salisbury, the rolling chalk downlands of north Dorset, Shaftesbury's Gold Hill, the iron age Hambledon Hill fort, Corfe Castle, part of Dorset's famous World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the lost village of Tyneham, Portland with its history of quarrying, a climb of Golden Cap, the South Coast's tallest cliff, and then finishing on Lyme Regis's iconic cobb harbour wall. An alternative finish route to Sherborne is described, provided by turning north at Bridport in West Dorset to pass over Dorset's highest point and see Thomas Hardy's rural heartland before ending the walk at Sherborne's Abbey. There is in addition a described 9-mile circular walk around Portland Bill.

The route touches on The Hardy Way, The Wessex Heights Walk, The Wessex Ridgeway, The Jubilee Trail, The Stour Valley Way, The Wareham Forest Way, The Purbeck Way, The South West Coast Path, The South Dorset Ridgeway, The Monarch's Way and The Macmillan Way but there are many significant sections that are off such trails. Inevitably with a route of this length there is going to be some overlapping but the route as a whole stands as a distinctive new path.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Challenging
Start: SU142295 - Salisbury, Wiltshire View on StreetMap
Finish: SY340914 - Lyme Regis, Dorset View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2015

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Looseleaf Great Wessex Way route description  (Frank Masterman  - 2015 )
External download Great Wessex Way overview leaflet  (Visit Dorset ) Download
External download Great Wessex Way stopping points  (Visit Dorset ) Download
Leaflet Great Wessex Way leaflet  (Frank Masterman  - 2015 )
Other Great Wessex Way route cards  (Frank Masterman  - 2015 )

Click to showhide 1 more Publications, Badges and Certificates


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Show Connected Path Outlines
Related Paths
National Trails (England & Wales)
Paths Marked on OS mapping
Other Paths

Show Accommodation
Hostel Accommodation
Bunk House

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 183, 184, 193, 194, 195
OS Landranger Active 183, 184, 193, 194, 195
OS Explorer 15, 116, 117, 118, 130
OS Explorer Active 15, 116, 117, 118, 130

Walking Support Providers:

Support Providers
Baggage Handling and Self-Guided Walks (Walk & Cycle Britain Limited)

Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

Hostel Accommodation
< 1 km
< 1 km
Bunk House
< 1 km
160 km
Hostel Accommodation
< 1 km
160 km
Hostel Accommodation
< 1 km
192 km
Hostel Accommodation
3 km
233 km
Hostel Accommodation
3 km
262 km

Click to show 4 more Accommodations

Additional Images:

Connected Paths:


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Route Profile:

266.0 km (165.3 miles)
6,311 m (20,705 ft) ascent
268 m (879 ft)  maximum height

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