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Roaming the ramparts of Dorset's hillforts — National Trust

MarilynJane (CC BY 2.0)

Roaming the ramparts of Dorset's hillforts — National Trust

Hiking Collection by National Trust North and West Dorset

9

Tours

17:04 h

36.7 mi

4,275 ft

There are Iron Age hillforts scattered throughout Wessex and Dorset hordes some of the best. Our ancestors had a good eye for strategically-placed defences and settlements and were rewarded with plenty of isolated hills. With well-preserved ramparts and plenty of footpaths, it’s easy to spend a day roaming about these ancient landscapes.

The hikes in this Collection lead you to the summits and rings of these historic places. Ranging from 1–7.5 miles (1.6–12 km), and using routes from quiet lanes to rambling bridleways and footpaths, you’ll easily find a walk to suit your mood. There are some steep sections on a few of the hills but nothing technical and the trails are well-maintained.

Each hike starts from a car park , some of which are operated by the National Trust. The only exception is for Eggardon Hill, where you can park considerately in Askerwell village.

You can hike these routes throughout the year, but to get the most out of them, try to walk on clear days. This enables you to enjoy the sweeping views and see if you can spot distant landmarks such as the mighty Golden Cap. In the case of neighbouring hillforts, clear weather allows you to easily admire one from the other.

Pack some snacks and water and lace up those shoes; ancient history is waiting for you.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Hambledon Hill ramparts — National Trust North and West Dorset

    Easy
    00:37
    1.48 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A 1.5-mile walk (2.4 km) around a sprawling Iron Age hillfort is one of the most Dorset things you can do as this beautiful county is brimming with ancient history. Hambledon Hill, in Child Okeford, is one of Dorset’s most amazing examples of defensive earthworks and this route leads you through them

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Intermediate
    02:12
    4.77 mi
    2.2 mph
    575 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is a 4.4-mile (7 km) adventure taking in two neighbouring Iron Age hillforts and some glorious panoramas over the undulating patchwork landscape down to the sea. The starting point is the National Trust’s Lambert’s Castle car park and while this route is hilly by definition, the gradients are usually

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Easy
    00:30
    0.98 mi
    1.9 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This short and sweet walk is a mile (1.6 km) long and leads you on an exploration of Lambert’s Castle Hill, the site of a former Iron Age hillfort. You start from the National Trust’s Lambert’s Castle car park.

    

    1: From the car park, follow the trail leading south east over the hill.

    2: Take the north

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Easy
    01:55
    4.11 mi
    2.1 mph
    550 ft
    575 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This gentle 4-mile (6.6 km) walk takes you to the top of Pilsdon Pen, a hillfort with thousands of years of history. Excavations have found over 100 hut circle remains here and there are Bronze Age burial mounds as well, long predating the hillfort itself.

    

    Thanks to its height and isolation, the summit

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Intermediate
    02:12
    4.76 mi
    2.2 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike takes you from the pretty Dorset village of Askerswell up to the summit of Eggardon Hill. One of the county's many hillforts, the hill offers epic views of the Jurassic Coast as well as across Dorset in every direction.

    

    While you can park in a lay-by at the foot of the summit path, this trail

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Intermediate
    03:11
    7.57 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This lovely 7.5-mile (12.2 km) hike has two distinct landscapes: the ancient Badbury Rings hillfort and the beautiful River Stour. A gentle walk, there’s only mild elevation gain and nothing steep. Most of the hike uses quiet lanes with a couple of footpaths thrown into the mix.

    

    You can easily walk this

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Easy
    01:31
    2.70 mi
    1.8 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This fantastic 3-mile (4.8 km) walk takes you on a Tour of one of the country’s most iconic chalk hill figures set into Dorset’s gorgeous countryside. You see the Cerne Abbas giant as well as some of the village’s oldest spots. The starting point is the car park immediately above the village, which itself

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Intermediate
    03:00
    6.27 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This 6-mile (10 km) hike takes in two of Dorset’s hillforts which are, handily, neighbours. The two are quite different, with Pilsdon Pen being largely exposed and Lewesdon Hill being largely forested. From both, you can enjoy outstanding views in clear weather.

    

    1. Begin at the Lob Gate car park immediately

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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  • Intermediate
    01:56
    4.11 mi
    2.1 mph
    600 ft
    575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Hod and Hambledon Hills are equally impressive neighbours. Both hillforts just a stone’s throw from each other, they make the perfect day’s hike. Both offer excellent views across Dorset’s pretty, undulating landscapes and have well-preserved ramparts to explore, making them ideal for family walks, too

    by National Trust North and West Dorset

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    36.7 mi
  • Duration
    17:04 h
  • Elevation
    4,275 ft

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