The Cogden circular

Cogden car park

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Looking eastwards over the farmland at Cogden towards Portland © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

Looking eastwards over the farmland at Cogden towards Portland

A Red Devon cow grazing in an organic field at Cogden © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

A Red Devon cow grazing in an organic field at Cogden

Anthills of the Yellow meadow ant at Cogden, West Dorset © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

Anthills of the Yellow meadow ant at Cogden, West Dorset

Pink thrift and white sea kale growing in the shingle at Cogden Beach © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

Pink thrift and white sea kale growing in the shingle at Cogden Beach

Route overview

A circular stroll through flower-filled farmland returning via the South West Coast Path. Cogden Beach is part of the larger Chesil Beach, a striking section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site which is the largest shingle ridge in the world.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

A 1:25,000 OS map of a downloadable trail at Cogden, West Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Cogden car park SY503886

  1. From the middle of the car park, head east through the kissing gate and continue for approximately 0.5 miles (0.8km) through another three gates. To your left you should now see the gate to Othona (private).

    Show/HideChesil Beach

    You can admire the 15-mile sweep of Chesil Beach leading to the distinctive outline of Portland in the distance. This section of coast is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Between the farmland and the shingle is Cogden reedbed, a haven for migratory birds.

    Looking eastwards over the farmland at Cogden towards Portland © National Trust/Rowan Thompson
  2. In front of you the track forks – take the right hand track through the field and through another gate to find yourself crossing the bottom of a long steep field.

    Show/HideRed Devon cows

    Cogden is grazed with red Devon and Guernsey cows which you might encounter on your walk. The red Devon is a beef breed and you can buy some of their delicious meat from Tamarisk Farm shop in West Bexington. They are quite friendly beasts and perfectly harmless if treated with respect.

    A Red Devon cow grazing in an organic field at Cogden © National Trust/Rowan Thompson
  3. Go through another gate into a field where you will see ant hills to your left. Follow the path round the patches of scrub and through another gate.

    Show/HideYellow meadow ants

    These grassy hummocks are the home of the yellow meadow ant which only lives in undisturbed grassland. This field is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its rare plants and insects.

    Anthills of the Yellow meadow ant at Cogden, West Dorset © National Trust/Rowan Thompson
  4. You will now find yourself at the top of three fields which slope down to the sea. Follow the path through two more gates and you will find yourself on the South West Coast Path.

  5. Turn right (westwards) and follow the coast path until you pass through a patch of willow trees using the board walk over the mud. Continue along the coast path through fields and between hedges until you emerge near the beach.

    Show/HideShingle flowers

    In summer the shingle is a riot of colourful flowers. You will see pink thrift and maybe the white flowers of sea kale and the small yellow bird’s foot trefoil.

    Pink thrift and white sea kale growing in the shingle at Cogden Beach © National Trust/Rowan Thompson
  6. Take the track leading up the hill through two more gates back to the car park.

End: Cogden car park SY503886

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 2.2 miles (3.5km)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • OS Map: OL15
  • Terrain:

    This walk follows an undemanding stretch of the South West Coast Path, but it can get muddy in places in winter. There are some moderate slopes. Sensible walking shoes with good grip are advised, or sturdy wellington boots in the winter months. Please keep dogs on their leads while in fields with livestock, and use the dog bins provided.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The South West Coast Path links Hive Beach at Burton Bradstock with Cogden Beach

    By bike: National Cycle Network route 2 runs nearby

    By bus: Coastline X53 stops at the end of the short road to Hive Beach and also goes directly past the entrance to Cogden car park

    By train: Nearest train station is Weymouth 15 miles (24km)

    By car: Burton Bradstock is located on the B3157 coast road from Bridport to Abbotsbury and Weymouth. Nearest postcode is DT6 4RF

  • Facilities:

    At Cogden Beach:

    • National Trust car park (free for members) open all year

    At Hive Beach:

    • Café and toilets (opening times vary according to season)
    • National Trust car park (free for members) open all year with information point open March-October

    In Burton Bradstock village:

    • Petrol station with Spar shop
    • Post office/village stores
    • Two pubs
    • Toilets
    • Children's play area

  • Contact us