We have put together a list of a few of our favourite wintery walks in Dorset. January can be a lovely chance to get outside and take in your local surroundings. Often we find ourselves with fewer social commitments at this time of year, so why not take each day as it comes and choose a walk based on your mood and the weather.
If you live in Dorset then you’ll know that you don’t have to go far to find a real gem and one of the great things about January is that we can reclaim our favourite spots as our own, as they tend to be so much quieter!
1. Wareham Forest Woodlark Trail
This is a great place for a woodland walk that the whole family can enjoy. Little ones will love charging about in the trees but if they stop for a moment or two you may be lucky enough to spot some wildlife too! There is a two-mile circular marked walk, which starts and finishes at the Sika Trail car park. If you are up for a longer walk then take a look at the Wareham Forest Way – a 13 mile walking trail between Wareham and Sturminster Marshal.
2. Black Down and the Hardy Monument
Black Down is set within the ancient South Dorset Ridgeway – an area of historic importance with ancient monuments thousands of years old. Here you will find the 1844 monument built in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy - Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. It was in his arms that Nelson died. Whether you are keen to see the monuments or simply looking for a decent walk with stunning views, this place will not disappoint. From the ridge you will be rewarded with panoramic views across the South Dorset Ridgeway and across to the Jurassic Coast – breathtaking! Pop a flask of hot tea in the car, it can get windy up on the ridgeway and you might be pleased for a winter warmer afterwards!
3. Cerne Abbas Giant
You may have seen the striking images of the ancient naked figure sculpted into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas. He certainly has made a bit of a name for himself and earlier this year the National Trust (after months of studies) have revealed they think he dates back to the late Saxon period. You may want to simply stroll through the pretty village and view him from the car park, but there is also a nice 2.8 mile circular walk – there are a couple of stiles though and some stone steps and muddy sections so have someone on hand to help with buggies and children.
4. Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head
If like us, you find it utterly cathartic to be near the ocean and you just want to ‘see the sea’ then a fantastic walk to try is the 8.2 miles from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head. You can walk along the promenade (and boardwalk for the very last section) the whole way, making it traffic free. Along the way you will pass Bournemouth and Boscombe piers, plus Durley Chine and Alum Chine. There are numerous cafes, pubs and restaurants to stop at en-route meaning you can get make a real day of it! We love Urban Reef located just next to Boscombe Pier and with a selection of Dorset Tea on offer you can be sure of a decent cuppa to keep you going.
5. Christchurch Harbour
If you’d prefer to be closer to town then a wander in and around Christchurch is perfect. Park near the Priory and from here you can explore the riverside and maybe stop to feed the ducks and swans. If the boats are running you can either hop across the river to Wick and amble up to Hengistbury Head, or jump aboard the ferry and cruise all the way up to the Mudeford sandbank.
For more great places to explore in Dorset, check out our previous blog post featuring some of the county’s finest beauty spots. There really are so many wonderful places to explore, we’d love to see some photos of your favourite winter wanders! Tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.