The Dorset Of Thomas Hardy Walk

A self-guided walk through the Dorset of Thomas Hardy and Geoffrey Household.


This is a walk through some of the most unspoilt countryside in England. Dorset is a 'rural county by the sea,' the countryside of which is known all over the world as the backdrop to the literature of Thomas Hardy. It is also the scene for most of the classic thriller 'Rogue Male,' a remarkable insight into Europe between the World Wars. This is a walk that includes wonderful scenery, pretty villages filled with thatched cottages, and above all, the best of rural England.


Day 1:  Arrive Cerne Abbas (Hardy's Abbot's Cernel), a very pretty village snug in the Piddle Valley and overlooked by the famous - or, for some, infamous - Cerne Abbas Giant. Overnight Cerne Abbas.

Day 2:  Walk Cerne Abbas to Evershot. This is a wonderful walk, with marvelous panoramic views. It will take you through the countryside featured in Rogue Male and you will finish at the village of Evershot, which Thomas Hardy, in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, called Evershead. Overnight Evershot. 11 miles/17.5 kms

Day 3:  Walk Evershot to Beaminster. This takes you deep into farming countryside. Wonderful views again, a couple of pretty villages and hamlets, a charming little church and then a magnificent descent into Beaminster, called Emminster in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Overnight Beaminster. 9 miles/14.4 kms.

Day 4:  Walk Beaminster to Bridport. This delightful walk will take you out via Mapperton, where you can visit the gardens of Mapperton House, voted the finest manor house in the country. Continue deep in glorious Dorset countryside to pass through the charming village of Powerstock and arrive at Bridport for overnight. Overnight Bridport. 10.6 miles/17 kms.

Day 5:  Take public bus to Lyme Regis and return along the Jurassic Coast. Lyme Regis is a lively, interesting seasisde town, home to the late John Fowles and the setting for 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'. The return walk takes you over the Golden Cap, the highest point on the south England coast. Overnight Bridport. 10.6 mi/17 kms

Day 6:  Walk via West Bay along the coast to Abbotsbury, with views to Chesil Beach. Abbotsbury is a handsome village, with its internationally known swannery, and magnificent tithe barn, the largest in England. Overnight Abbotsbury. 8 mi/13.5 kms

Day 7:  Walk up to the ridge behind Abbotsbury, with wonderful views out to Chesil Beach and the sea. Pass the Hardy Monument (which commemorates Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag-Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar) and then to Maiden Castle, the largest Iron Age fort in Britain and which featured in 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'. Finally enter Dorchester via Poundbury. Overnight Dorchester. 9.4 mi/15 kms

Day 8:  Departure after breakfast.

N.B. Extra nights possible, as well as the walk from Dorchester to Cerne Abbas for those that wish.


£575.00 per person based on two sharing one room

Single supplement on request

Practical Information:


A selection of carefully chosen B&B's or Inns – all rooms with private bathrooms. Upgrades are possible and it is possible to mix and match the accommodation if you wish – please ask us.


Sturdy walking boots and walking socks (with a change of socks in rucksack), rucksack/day pack, 1 x water bottle with 1 litre capacity, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sun block/cream, compass, torch, first-aid kit


Mid-April to mid-September. Accommodation will be difficult to obtain on UK national holidays unless booked well in advance (and may require an alteration to the programme).


Dorchester has two separate rail stations - Dorchester South is on the main line between Weymouth and London Waterloo. Dorchester West serves the west country. The two stations are about a 5 minute walk from each other and the town centre.

To plan your journey by train, click the following link: Train to Dorchester

To plan your journey by car, click the following link: Plan your Journey by Car


Seven nights accommodation with breakfast in good quality B & Bs, hotels, or inns with ensuite bathrooms; luggage transfer (or transfer to trailhead if staying in the same place for two nights); route notes and maps


Lunches, dinners, drinks, insurance, anything not mentioned in programme.


We recommend that you take out appropriate holiday insurance covering you against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for whatever reason.