Abbotsbury and Chesil Beach.

Start. Abbotsbury.

Route. Abbotsbury - Market Street - Back Lane - Blind lane - Wears Hill - Abbotsbury Castle - Tulk's Hill - East Bexington Farm - Chesil Beach - Market Street - Abbotsbury.

Notes. Today we took a walk through history, setting out from the once monastic village of Abbotsbury, 15th and 16th century houses lined the village streets. Unfortunately little remains of it's once monastic importance, although still able to boast a 14th century Swannery, 270ft long tilth barn claimed to be the longest in the country, St Catherine's Chapel perched high on a 260ft hill, a Pilgrims Chapel believed to have been built in the first half of the 15th century, sadly little remains of the great Benedictine abbey itself only the gate house.

As we left the village we stepped into pre-history striding out along an ancient ridge track, this ancient track used by neolithic, bronze age and iron age man over a period of 5,000 years lead to Abbotsbury Castle a bronze age fort occupied by the Romans between 43/440 AD, these hills also graced their presence. Our return was made along the edge of Chesil Beach, one big bank of gravel, 18 miles long, 50ft high, 660ft wide, made up of 100 million tonnes of pebbles, formed in the Holocene period over 6,000 years ago.

What better way to start the day than the Abbotsbury Tea Rooms on the junction with Rodden Row, Church Street and Market Street, with full stomachs and bladders we made our way along Market Street turning right at the first opportunity, this was Back Street. After nipping to the public loo (too much tea) we continued for 200 yards until a track emerged from our left. Between thatched cottages we wandered, a finger-post welcomed us, it read Blind Lane, hill fort and Hardy Monument, we followed Blind Lane ascending between dry stone walls then hedge rows. Once free of the confines of the lane we continued up hill passing through a couple of field gates then an old quarry to access a wonderful green track running along the ridge, this ancient track carried us west to what our guide book claimed was the best view in Dorset, the panorama from Abbotsbury Castle, unfortunately I'll have to take the authors word for it, our arrival coincided with a bank of cloud sweeping in from the south.

We continued west to a stile allowing access to the main road, directly across the road another stile lead onto Tulk's Hill. Guided by a dry stone wall we continued on. When the wall swung left a finger-post invited us to Chesil Beach, we obliged descending a green path between gorse and scrub. Several stiles later we stepped onto the narrow ribbon of tarmac that runs along the edge of Chesil Beach, a left turn saw us heading back to Abbotsbury.

The miles passed quickly now, when the road turned sharp left we continued straight on over the surface of a pebble path then into a lane emerging from our left, with high hedge rows on our left and a wire fence our right we continued forward. Two hundred yards later a finger-post on our right directed us through fields along the inland section of the coastal path. With Chapel Hill rising to our left and the Swannery on our right we continued to a stile allowing access to a lane, we ascended the lane to reach a finger-post, a plethora of paths lead to all points of the compass. Chapel and village via the Rope Walk looked the most interesting way back, after crossing the field a metal kissing gate lead into a lane, fifty yards down the lane saw us step back into Market Street.

view route map.


The start of today's little excursion, Abbotsbury Tea Rooms, Sue will well recommend it she's a tea room expert.

In Blind Lane viewing the church and tilth barn that dominate Abbotsbury.

Another view over the delightful Dorset village of Abbotsbury, looking to the Fleet lagoon backed by Chesil Beach and the English Channel.

Gain a little more height and the views start to open out.

Heading up Wears Hill with views behind us to Portland.

St Catherine's Chapel adorns Chapel Hill, dedicated to the patron saint of spinsters, over the years has served as a lookout and navigation beacon.

Stunning views from near the start of the ridge path.

Wears Hill over 2000 years ago a place of importance, note the row of tumuli across the skyline, probably burial mounds.

Viewing the long summit ridge of Wears Hill.

Sue poses for a picture with the English Channel as a backdrop.

Tumuli on Wears Hill.

Let the vast shingle bank of Chesil Beach carry the eye to the Isle of Portland.

Nearing the summit of Wears Hill about to enter the grassy ramparts of Abbotsbury Castle, the views we've been looking forward to have just been swept away by the Dorset mist.

The temperature's plunged, there's a considerable amount of moisture in the air, the path winds around the various banks and ditches of Abbotsbury Castle.

Striding out across Tulk's Hill with this dry stone wall to guide us and views west over Chesil Beach for company.

Views to the east, Chesil Beach and the Fleet can clearly be seen, as can Portland across the skyline.

On Chesil Beach with views to the highest sea cliffs on the Dorset coast, Golden Cap.

In the other direction disappearing into the distance, this photo was taken roughly half way along the beach, there's another nine miles or so behind me.

Chesil Beach seen over West Fleet.

St Nicholas Church.

Market Street lined with 15th and 16th century houses.

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