komoot
  • Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features
Discover

The county’s finest road rides — Dorset style

myfrozenlife (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The county’s finest road rides — Dorset style

Road Cycling Collection by Kit P

9

Tours

43:41 h

507 mi

29,150 ft

Riding in Dorset is an endless meander through narrow lanes and high edges, almost as though you’re following the path of a local farmer staggering his way home after a heavy night in the pub. This isn’t Roman efficiency; these are local roads, walking tracks that evolved into lanes for practical purposes. These are what make Dorset what it is today – and it immediately seems conducive to road riding with each twist and turn revealing a new horizon, a hidden manor house, or even higher hedges.

Dorset is a county often overlooked by many, but for those that have got the hang of its tiny, winding lanes and high hedges, they’ll argue that it’s a true pearl. The open portions of hillside offer views that stretch for miles, and regardless of the season, you can expect Dorset’s scenery to put on a show.

Bringing both joy and despair to a road rider, Dorset is one of the only counties in England without a motorway and many drivers struggle to look past its burdened role as a bottleneck for summer traffic. Fortunately, once you know exactly which roads to avoid (especially during the high season), the county’s widely diverse terrain is brilliantly accessible through its rich network of tiny lanes, which thread their way over its numerous steep and leg-burning hills.

These nine routes throw back the plush, velvety curtains on this rich county’s best secrets, literary heritage, and slightly wacky customs. It encompasses a spider’s web of scrawny roads that traverse the county, leading you on a wonder-filled journey of its villages, right through to the more well-known sights that are found on its unique, rugged coastline. Here's where the weather whips across the landscape before heading inland and often battering the rest of the county.

Dorset’s rhythm is unashamedly provincial with a heartbeat that’s significantly slower than the rest of the UK, but once you’re out on its quiet roads you’ll realise that two wheels are the ultimate way to explore the county.

On The Map

loading
loading

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    East Dorset's finest — Dorset style

    Difficult
    06:24
    86.1 mi
    13.5 mph
    3,925 ft
    3,925 ft
    Ferry
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This ride is particularly interesting because it involves a ferry, so expect a bit of an adventure! Nip past Sandbanks (while admiring some of the highest-priced property in the world) before jumping onto the chain ferry across to Swanage. Once there, you head inland, taking on some beautiful climbs

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    05:07
    68.6 mi
    13.4 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,500 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    A fairly long ride that cuts across the county, this great route starts in Poundbury, a modern development of the outskirts of Dorchester, Dorset’s county town. Poundbury was designed by Prince Charles in the mid-90s so expect Georgian architecture, wide streets and tidy pavements. It's very self-contained

    by Kit P

    View
  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Difficult
    05:40
    66.8 mi
    11.8 mph
    3,700 ft
    3,700 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Public schools are like the apples of the famous Dorset Apple Cake – the county just wouldn't be the same without them. So grand, they're rather eye-catching with their impressive architecture. These schools are scattered across the county, each with acres upon acres of land and virtually traffic-lanes

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    02:06
    24.0 mi
    11.4 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    It's been said that the Blackmore Vale could be classed as the Ardennes of Dorset by its local cyclists, and once you’re here, you’re likely to agree. This route is the epitome of the Dorset Ardennes, and it really packs a punch thanks to its back-to-back climbs.

    

    Starting and finishing in the beautiful

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    03:08
    39.5 mi
    12.6 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,350 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The significance of the ride name here is all about Weymouth, which is steeped in history thanks to King George III. It became the seat of government during his reign after he decided to move here for the summers to bathe and recuperate – once you feel the sun on you while riding, you'll certainly appreciate

    by Kit P

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:05
    45.7 mi
    11.2 mph
    2,800 ft
    2,800 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    From Sherborne – known for its Abbey – you do a loop in the northern part of Dorset, taking you out through the narrow lanes around Yetminster and Chetnole. This is a route that'll continually throw in a few major surprises around each tight turn and it packs a lot of diversity and two major climbs into

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    04:12
    52.2 mi
    12.4 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,500 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    This super diverse 52 miles (84 km) route starts and finishes in the village of Cranborne, seen as the gateway to the Cranborne Chase AONB. It's another hilly area of Dorset with rolling chalk downs, numerous small villages, and plenty of steep climbs to keep you interested.

    

    From the top of the long

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:55
    66.1 mi
    9.6 mph
    4,000 ft
    4,300 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Green fields, high hedges, wiggly lanes, a few horse riders, the sea, the sea, the sea... the list of what you'll observe on this Dorset route is virtually endless.

    

    You can start from Tisbury train station and the Tour goes from the north-eastern tip of the county right down to the iconic beach town of

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:05
    58.1 mi
    9.5 mph
    3,975 ft
    3,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This route starts from Bridport and if you want to sell it to your riding buddies then you can call it a loop of SW Dorset’s secret lanes. Tucked away from the Jurassic Coast, there's a veritable treasure trove of lanes, villages and sights that only true explorers will find on their bikes.

    

    At just a

    by Kit P

    View

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    507 mi
  • Duration
    43:41 h
  • Elevation
    29,150 ft

You Might Also Like

Best of British road climbs

Road Cycling Collection by Katherine Moore

#107TDF: 107 miles a day during the 107th Tour de France

Road Cycling Collection by ChrisHallRides

Cycling the Mühldorfer Radlstern in Bavaria – endless new experiences

Bike Touring Collection by Kreisstadt Mühldorf a. Inn

Cycling from Germany to Netherlands – 2-Country Route

Bike Touring Collection by Johanna

Discover

The county’s finest road rides — Dorset style

What We Offer

Discover
Terms of ServicePrivacy PolicyCommunity GuidelinesSecurity vulnerability reward programImprint