Dorset Cycle Routes

We are currently testing out some new cycle routes in Dorset.

In the meantime please have a look at our local council's (West Dorset) recommendations..

https://www.dorsetforyou.com/cycling/west

Frome Valley Trail

 

Starting at Evershot, the second highest village in Dorset, this walk meanders close to the River Frome towards Poole Harbour. The walking route also passes through Chilfrome, Maiden Newton, Bradford Peverell, Charminster and Dorchester.

A wealth of wildlife can be seen in and beside the river. This includes the iridescent flash of a Kingfisher, the bright yellow Marsh Marigold, Water Crowfoot and Brown Trout. At present the trail finishes at Dorchester but there are plans to extend the route to Poole Harbour.

You can currently enjoy the trail on foot or by bike. There is also a short circular route calledRatty's Trail (PDF, 204kb)(opens in a new window) near Dorchester, named after the character from Wind in the Willows. If you keep your eyes peeled you may see 'Ratty' the Water Vole feeding in the river.

Landscape / terrain

Chalk Downland, riverbank, water meadows, woodland fringe. The majority of the walking route follows the River Frome. But there are some sections where diversions are in place when the river is in flood. The majority of the route is on hard surfaced tracks and the remainder within sunken lanes or on pastoral and arable fields. The cycling route follows county roads and farm tracks but you do have to cross the A37 at Giles Cross.

Finding your way

On the ground the trail is signed using an arrowhead disc. This has been designed to reflect the rich archaeological findings dating from the Bronze Age within the river valley. Where the trail meets other rights of way or a road, specially designed signs continue to point you in the right direction. At times the route may change from that shown on a map. Please follow the waymark discs and signs.

Route maps and leaflets

Frome Valley Trail Leaflet Stage 1 (pdf, 164kb)(opens in a new window) 

Frome Valley Trail - Evershot to Maiden Newton (walking) (pdf, 93kb)(opens in a new window)

Frome Valley Trail - Maiden Newton to Dorchester (walking) (pdf, 97kb)(opens in a new window)

Frome Valley Trail - Cycling (pdf, 100kb)(opens in a new window)

Ratty's Trail, Dorchester (pdf, 204kb)(opens in a new window)

Downloads:

Downloads

 

Cerne Valley Way

 

This circular walk takes in the hamlets and villages of Minterne Magna, Cerne Abbas, Nether Cerne, Godmanstone, Forston and Charminster.

This walk follows the course of the river, from near its source in the basin formed by the hill of High Stoy and Dogbury to its junction with the River Frome in the water meadows at Charminster. Along the route you can see the smallest pub in England, the Smith's Arms at Godmanstone, Britain's largest hill figure, the Cerne Giant and visit Hilfield Hill Local Nature Reserve.

The Cerne Valley Leaflet (pdf, 241kb)(opens in a new window) includes more information on the trail, the history and wildlife and a map of the route.

Landscape / Terrain

Chalk Downland and River Cerne valley. The route passes through the River Cerne Valley and then onto the chalk ridge before sauntering downhill back to Dorchester. There are few steep sections particularly where you climb up and back down the chalk ridge. The majority of the route is on hard surfaced track ways, the remainder within sunken lanes or on pastoral and arable fields.

Finding your way

On the ground the trail is signed with a round white disc with a buzzard in the centre. Buzzards can be seen circling above the trail along the whole route. Follow this waymark disc to find your way along the entire length of the trail.

Parking and Public Transport

Parking at Hilfield Hill Local Nature Reserve, Cerne Abbas and Dorchester. Train stations at Dorchester and various local bus services.

 

 

 

trail icon 

Wessex Ridgeway

 

The Wessex Ridgeway Trail is a magnificent ridge-top route crossing Dorset's rural heartland.

The walking, cycling and horse riding trail offers vistas across the county and breathtaking views far beyond. The majority of the route straddles a long chalk ridge but in places is broken up by small rounded hills and secluded valleys. Each section of the trail has its own unique identity and its delights to explore.

The walking route starts at Ashmore on the Dorset/Wiltshire border, whereas the cycling and riding section starts at Tollard Royal. The route meanders across the chalk downs, climbs magnificent hillforts such as Hambledon Hill and crosses over chalk streams brimming with wildlife. Along the way you will pass many attractive villages such as Cerne Abbas and take in stunning views of the Blackmore and Marshwood Vales, before sauntering down through rolling farmland to finish in the seaside town of Lyme Regis on the dramatic Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site.

The trail forms part of the Great Ridgeway, an ancient highway that was once an important trading route between the Devon and Norfolk coasts. Today this ancient highway provides the backbone to several recreational trails in southern England.

Landscape / terrain

Chalk downland, greensand ridge and clay vale. The majority of the route follows the top of a ridge but there are some sections which are steep, particularly when dropping down into the chalk valleys and back up again. The surface of the trail varies from hard-surfaced track ways and sunken lanes to grassy or arable fields. There are also a few sections on the road. During wet weather, particularly in the clay vale and river valleys, the route, although useable, can become muddy.

Finding your way

On the ground the trail is signed using round discs (waymarks) with an image of a Wyvern, a two-legged dragon associated with the ancient kingdom of Wessex. Where the trail meets other rights of way or a road, specially designed signs continue to point you in the right direction. Along with these unique signs, symbols of a horse and rider mark the main route for all users (walkers, cyclists and horse riders). However if you are on foot, then at certain locations there is an alternative route for walking. At these locations please follow the symbol of a person. The wooden signs along the trail include the name of the nearest point of interest or village, distance from this in miles and the status of the path shown by a coloured symbol. For example a bridleway is shown as a blue horse and rider and a footpath shown as a yellow man. At times the route may change from that shown on a map. Please follow the specially designed waymark discs and signs.

Wessex Ridgeway Guide

The Offical Wessex Ridgeway Trail Guide (pdf, 2Mb)(opens in a new window) is now available to download, please note the file size is 2Mb, because of its size it may take a while to load.

 

 

North Dorset Trailway

 

This walking, cycling and horse riding route runs along the route of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line and takes you through some picturesque villages of the Blackmore vale. The old railway line provides an ideal route for a Trailway as it links many of North Dorset's towns and villages.

There are four sections you can currently visit that take you through some of North Dorset's spectacular countryside, towns and villages with views of Hambledon Hill and the meandering River Stour.

The trail runs along a flat, surfaced three metre wide track suitable for pushchairs, mobility vehicles, horses, bicycles and walkers.

The North Dorset Trailway leaflet (pdf, 10Mb)(opens in a new window) shows the sections which are currently open to the public. Please do not trespass on sections not currently open to the public.

You can find more information on the North Dorset Trailway Network(opens in a new window) website.

Places of interest

Cycling in Weymouth and Portland

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Enjoy cycling around Weymouth and Portland with cycle routes and maps

Enjoy 24 miles of cycling on traffic free routes around Weymouth and Portland with cycle routes and maps.  Keep your bike secure with 250+ free cycle parking berths (use your own lock) spread across the town centre.

National cycle network (NCN) route 26 - Portland to Weymouth (four miles)

Traffic free throughout from Victoria Square in Chiswell to Weymouth town centre.  With beautiful scenery along the way, take in the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre(opens in a new window) or Weymouth and Portland's National Sailing Academy(opens in a new window).

NCN 26 - Weymouth to Dorchester (eight miles)

Traffic free from Weymouth until the edge of Dorchester, this is a pleasant, leisurely day ride. Pause for a well earned rest at the top of the ridgeway to take in the views of coast and countryside or divert to visitMaiden Castle(opens in a new window).

Why not continue on from Dorchester and follow NCN26 to Sherborne?  The full route from Portland to Sherborne is 41 miles and is manageable in a day.

The Rodwell Trail

Signed as NCN26 between Weymouth Marina and Ferrybridge, the 2 mile route of the old Weymouth and Portland Railway line is very popular with pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers.

Sandsfoot Castle, one of Henry VIII's Device Forts, offers a great spot for a picnic with a café and lovely views over Portland harbour.

Radipole Park Drive - Local Route 1 (1.8 miles)

Largely traffic free, this route passes alongside Radipole Lake into Weymouth Town Centre from Radipole. Take in Radipole Park Gardens along the way with children's park and tennis courts.

The Marsh Route - Local Route 2 (2.3 miles)

Connecting Chickerell with Weymouth, this route is mostly traffic free and provides easy access to the swimming pool and through The Marsh open space.

The Granby Route - Local Route 3 (1.5 miles)

Use this traffic free route to access the Granby Industrial Estate and Link Park employment areas from NCN26 and the Marsh Route

The Redlands Route - Local Route 4 (2 miles)

This route connects the attractions of Lodmoor Country Park with Redlands and the Wey Valley School via Weymouth Park and Ride.  The route is traffic free between Lodmoor Country Park and Dorchester Road

The Littlemoor Route - Local Route 5 (2 miles)

This traffic free route connects Preston, Littlemoor and Upwey, including the railway station.

The Preston Route - Local Route 6 (0.9 miles)

A quiet, traffic free spur to link Preston with the town centre through Lodmoor RSPB nature reserve.

The Overcombe Route - Local Route 7 (2 miles)

Connecting NCN26 with Overcombe, Weymouth College and Lodmoor Country Park this route follows quiet roads and traffic free paths.  There is also a 0.9 mile spur along Preston Beach Esplanade offering great views over towards Weymouth Beach.

Tour de Manche

If you're feeling adventurous why not consider the 750 mile Tour de Manche(opens in a new window), a cross channel cycle touring itinerary which passes through some of the most beautiful coastline scenery and towns in Dorset, Normandy, Brittany and Devon.

Lodmoor Country Park

Ideal for cycling or walking with the family, the path leads cyclists to a dedicated shared use cycle path along Preston Beach Road to Overcombe Corner.

 

We also have some rides in other areas of Dorset...

Purbeck cycle rides

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There are seven cycle rides around the Purbeck area which are suitable for a variety of ages and abilities, ranging from 8 to 47 miles.

All routes are circular, with five being self-guided and two routes signposted.  They all have an accompanying leaflet with a map.  There is also additional information in the leaflets about interest points that you will pass along the way, as well as how to follow theCountryside Code(opens in a new window).

Circular cycle routes:

Pedal Around Purbeck map

There is a district-wide cycle map showing how all the routes inter-link with each other plus where to park your bike, details of bike shops, bike hire and local cycling groups. You can purchase a copy of the map from the Discover Purbeck Information Centre or download a copy (pdf, 1Mb)(opens in a new window).