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Sustainable travel in Dorset

A female walker on the coast path near Burton Bradstock on a sunny day in early April
The South West Coast Path runs through Burton Bradstock | © National Trust/Zoe Stansfield

Whether you’re looking to travel by train, bus, bike or foot. Plan your day out in Dorset using greener travel options.

Travel by bus

  • Brownsea Island - For Poole Quay or Sandbanks Jetty: the More Bus service number 60 runs from Rockley Park via Poole Quay to Sandbanks Jetty. The More Bus services numbers 8 and 9 run services close to Poole Quay via Hamworthy, Turlin Moor, Upton and Creekmoor. If travelling by public transport the Poole town circular bus connects the quay with the bus and train stations.

  • Cerne Giant - Damory Coaches bus service 216 between Dorchester and Sherborne stops at the Cerne Giant viewing area and car park, and Cerna Abbas village. Please note this service only runs on weekends.

  • Corfe Castle - Take the Purbeck Breezer bus service number 40 from Poole to Swanage via Corfe Castle, or the service number 30 from Swanage to Weymouth via Corfe Castle.

  • Hardy Monumment - Take the First Bus service number X53 to Portesham. Alight at the Kings Arms and it's a 40 minute walk to the monument.

  • Hive Beach - The Jurassic Coast X53 operates a daily service and runs along the whole length of the Jurassic Coastline, linking Hive Beach with Bridport, Weymouth train station and Axminster train station.

  • Hod Hill - Bus service numbers 83, 30 and 314, Blandford to Shaftesbury, alight Stourpaine. Bus service number 7, X8, 309, 310, 317, 323, 330, 368, Blandford to Sturminster Newton, alight Durweston.

  • Kingston Lacy - On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays Local Bus Service 88 runs from Wimborne to Kingston Lacy car park.

  • Studland Bay - Take the Purbeck Breezer bus service number 50 from Bournemouth and Poole or Swanage.

Nearby railway stations

  • Brownsea Island - The nearest stations are Poole (1/2 mile) from Poole Quay and Parkstone (3.6 miles) from the Sandbanks Jetty. The Poole Town circular bus connects the Quay and Sandbanks with bus and train stations.

  • Clouds Hill - The nearest stations are Wool (3½ miles) and Moreton (3½ miles). Wool is on the mainline from London, Waterloo to Weymouth, Dorset. The station is served by taxis. Moreton is also on the Waterloo to Weymouth mainline. From Wool station walk north past the Frampton Arms (on your right), turn right into Station Road which leads to Moreton village. From Moreton station you can pick up the Lawrence Trail to reach Clouds Hill. To join the trail follow the lane onto the unmade track which leads to a footbridge over the River Frome. Please be aware this is a busy road with limited footpath.

  • Corfe Castle - The nearest train station is Wareham, after which you can cycle or take the Purbeck Breezer bus service number 40. Swanage railway is an independently run steam and diesel railway running services from Wareham to Swanage four times per week during the summer. Alight directly at Corfe Castle station.

  • Hardy's House, Max Gate - The nearest stations are the Dorchester South (1 mile) and Dorchester West (1 mile). From Dorchester South, turn right into Weymouth Avenue, turn right onto Prince of Wales Road, continue for half a mile, at the mini roundabout take the second exit signposted Wareham A352 (over the railway bridge), continue straight over the next roundabout, at the next roundabout take the first exit, turn left into Syward Road and then take the immediate left into the cul-de-sac. Max Gate is on the right hand side.

From Dorchester West train station, follow the road downhill to the crossroads, cross to Great Western Road and follow past Junction Road pub, crossing into Prince of Wales Road, continue for half a mile, at the mini roundabout take the second exit signposted Wareham A352 (over the railway bridge), continue straight over the next roundabout, at the next roundabout take the first exit, turn left into Syward Road and then take the immediate left into the cul-de-sac. Max Gate is on the right hand side

Cycle routes

The National Cycle Network (NCN) is a UK-wide network of signed paths and routes, ideal if you’re looking to reach places by bike.

  • Brownsea Island - NCN25 takes you to Poole Quay, but please note that bicycles are not permitted on the island and cycle racks are available at Poole Quay.

  • Cerne Giant - Is on NCN26 between Castle Cary and Dorchester, mainly on quiet roads with some traffic-free sections heading into Dorchester. From Dorchester it's 8 miles along a quiet, but rough and uneven road to Cerne Abbas.

  • Corfe Castle - is on NCN2 from Bournemouth and Poole via Studland Bay or Wareham. Cycle racks available at castle entrance and Castle View .

  • Hambledon Hill - NCN25 runs adjacent to Hambledon Hill.

  • Hardy Monumment - NCN2 passes alongside Hardy Monument.

  • Hardy's Cottage - Follow NCN2 out of Dorchester, heading East, take left turn, off NCN Route 2, towards Lower Bockhampton (follow white finger posts). Continue through Lower Bockhampton, and straight over crossroads, following white fingerposts to Higher Bockhampton and Hardy's Cottage. Turn right, following fingerposts to Hardy's Cottage and Higher Bockhampton. As you come down the hill, you will see the Visitor Centre straight ahead of you. There are cycle racks available at the Visitor Centre.

  • Hardy's House, Max Gate - Follow NCN2 out of Dorchester, heading East. Hardy's House, Max Gate is on the left, straight off of NCN2, just after crossing the bridge over the A35.

  • Hive Beach - Easy access to Hive Beach along the B3157, which runs from Bridport to Weymouth. The road is undulating and busy during the summer months. NCN2 runs along the length of the south coast and passes close by the estate.

  • Hod Hill - Is adjacent to the North Dorset Trailway NCN NR25 and can be accessed from Stourpaine.

  • Lambert's and Coney's Castle - NCN2 runs nearby. From central Axminster, take the B3261 (Lyme Road) before turning left along Sector Lane. Follow Sector Lane before turning left onto the B3165. Follow the B3165 for approximately 3km. The National Trust Lambert's Castle car park is on your right. Please leave your bike here and explore both hill forts on foot.

  • Studland Bay - Is on the NCN2, which runs east to Bournemouth and Poole and west to Corfe Castle and Wareham. Bike racks are available at Knoll Beach. Beryl bikes bays are available at all four Studland Bay car parks (South, Middle and Knoll Beaches, Shell Bay). Any bicycles, including Beryl bikes, can be brought over on the ferry for a £1 fee each way (the Beryl bike hire fee can be 'paused' while on ferry). For more information on Beryle bikes, please visit the Beryl Bikes website.

Arriving by foot

The South West Coast Path (SWCP) is the longest waymarked long-distance footpath and a National Trail. It stretches 630 miles, running from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

  • Brownsea Island - To Poole Quay: From the Quay visitors car park in Poole: follow the pedestrian signage to Poole Quay where you will find ferries departing to Brownsea Island.

To Sandbanks Jetty: From Studland, catch the chain ferry as a foot passenger across to Sandbanks if coming from Purbeck. If parking up at Sandbanks surface car park or in surrounding roads on the Sandbanks peninsular, use BH13 7QJ to navigate to the National Trust jetty (this is situated next to the Chain Ferry, opposite the Haven Hotel).

  • Cerne Giant - From the centre of Cerne Abbas village it's a gentle ¼ mile walk along a sign-posted footpath to the Cerne Giant viewing area. The Wessex Ridgeway passes 1 mile from the Cerne Giant and is linked by quiet roads and other footpaths. It is a long-distance trail running along ancient trackways from Marlborough in Wiltshire to Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast.

  • Corfe Castle - Follow the Purbeck Way from Wareham or Swanage.

  • Hambledon Hill - Stour Valley Way National Trail runs across the hill.

  • Hardy Monumment - From Portesham follow the lane north-east uphill. Descend to Black Down Farm. Fork left and follow the South Dorset Ridgeway uphill through the wood.

  • Hardy's House, Max Gate - From Dorchester town centre: From High East Street (where you'll find Dorset County Museum), walk down the road and turn right past the Teddy Bear Museum onto High Street Fordington. Keep following this road for about 5 minutes. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Alington Road/St Georges Road. Continue to follow the road for about 6 minutes, crossing one roundabout. Continue onto B3144, and at the next roundabout take the first exit. Turn left into Syward Road and then immediately left into the cul-de-sac. Hardy's House, Max Gate is on the right hand side. Alternative route (flatter but slightly longer): From the Corn Exchange cross to Cornhill and follow this to the junction with South Walks Road (Cornhill becomes South Street part way along). Cross the pedestrian crossing to Prince of Wales Road (B3144) and join the route described in the shorter walk above.

  • Hive Beach - The SWCP follows the contours of the south coast, linking Hive Beach to West Bay and Bridport to the west, and Abbotsbury to the east. From Burton Bradstock village, leave the road to the west of the garage and follow the footpath through fields to the beach.

  • Lambert's and Coney's Castle - The Wessex Ridgeway Trail traverses north to south on the east of Lambert's and is also part of the small lane that runs along the ridge of Coney's Castle. From central Axminster follow the A358 north. After the roundabout take the second right Beavor Lane and follow this eastwards. It soon becomes Evil Lane. Turn north along Cuthays Lane and follow the bridleway through Cuthays to the road at Pendragon. Turn back in a south-easterly direction and follow the bridleway uphill passing New Park on your left before turning left onto Stammery Hill. Turn right and cross over the B3165 and follow the lane downhill. When the route bends round to the right follow the lane directly downhill before turning left and joining the Monarch's Way. Continue in a north-easterly direction before turning eastwards along a footpath past Ridge Farm and Dodpen Farm. Turn left onto a lane and where it swings sharply to the left continue uphill. Continue uphill, go straight over Fishpond Bottom Road and follow the footpath over the heath to the National Trust Lambert's Castle car park.

  • Studland Bay - Is on the SWCP and is accessible on foot from Bournemouth and Poole via the Sandbanks chain ferry.

Arriving by water

  • Brownsea Island - Access to Brownsea Island is via ferry. All up to date information on getting to Brownsea Island from Sandbanks and Poole Quay is available on the website, under 'Planning your visit'. The National Trust's Seahorse landing craft can transport visitors using wheelchairs, quickly and safely to the island. This service is pre-bookable only, and tide dependent. Pick-up location is from the Sandbanks Yacht Company slipway (near Sandbanks Jetty) and it's an easy 10-minute journey to the island. The service is weather dependent, so to check out sailing times and prices, please see the 'Planning your visit' section of the Brownsea Island website or call 01202 492164.
  • Corfe Castle - A chain ferry links Sandbanks in Poole with the Isle of Purbeck, carrying vehicles, bikes and foot passengers. The ferry service runs every 20 minutes. For more information call Sandbanks Ferry on 01929 450203.
  • Studland Bay - A chain ferry links Sandbanks in Poole with Studland Bay, carrying vehicles, bikes and foot passengers. The ferry service runs every 20 minutes. For more information, visit the Sandbanks Ferry website.
An early morning view across Corfe Castle, Dorset in winter

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