Fancy hiking amongst dinosaurs? Then pick one of the many walks along the Jurassic Coast because prehistoric creatures weren’t just here millions of years ago, they’re still here today. This coastline is a UNESCO World Heritage site and stretches for around 100 miles (160 km) from East Devon to West Dorset. Overlooking the gorgeous English Channel, the cliffs form a natural timeline stretching back 185 million years, allowing you to find fossils from the Triassic, Jurassic and later periods.
You can enjoy the micro and the macro on Jurassic Coast hikes thanks to shoreline trails, clifftop viewpoints and stunning beachside towns. Stretch your legs high above the sea before descending to a cove to inspect the rocks and overturn ancient fossils. Thanks to the ease of fossil hunting, the Jurassic Coast is a fantastic place to walk with curious children, where every step is a treasure hunt.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Walks along the Jurassic Coast are geology lessons provided by nature herself. In the fossil forest to the east of Lulworth Cove, you can walk amongst 145-million-year-old fossilised tree trunks. The Cove itself is picture-perfect, a sea-carved semi-circle with clear water and moored fishing boats. To the west lies Durdle Door, one of the area’s most famous geological marvels – a natural rock arch.
Some of the best hiking trails on the Jurassic Coast start in Lyme Regis, a seaside town famous for fossils. The beaches here are littered with rocks embedded with prehistoric animals and the town is filled with cafes, restaurants and fossil shops. You can walk east along the cliffs to the highest point on England’s south coast: Golden Cap. Or head west, through the nature reserve to the quiet town of Seaton.
Walks for everyone at any time
Short, long, steep or flat, there are hikes on the Jurassic Coast for everyone. With long seafronts at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Lyme Regis, Weymouth and Swanage, there are lots of mostly flat walks with pretty views. The Isle of Portland, an incredible natural peninsula joined to the mainland by a narrow strip, has gentle walks with easy-going surfaces too.
The western half of the coastline is undulating, with some considerable hills that rise up from beachside towns to the towering cliffs that bookend them. As a result, you’re never short of challenging hikes and phenomenal views. The eastern half is lower in places, although you can still find plenty of glorious clifftops and extraordinary sights, such as the Old Harry Rocks sea stacks at the far eastern extent of the Jurassic Coast. Around the midpoint of the area lies Chesil Beach, the vast shingle barrier stretching between the mainland and Portland.
Warmer than much of the country, you can walk the Jurassic Coast at any time of year. It’s well worth noting that the cliffs are prone to erosion which both reveals fossils and creates hazards. As a result, always follow signage and stay away from cliff edges as landslides are not uncommon.
Bike Touring Collection by komoot
Road Cycling Collection by komoot
Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.