abbotsbury to ferrybridge

south west coast path

29th september 2013

The weather forecast for today looked a bit dull and damp when I looked at my weather app first thing this morning.

weather forecast.jpg

As it turned out, it was a thoroughly pleasant and sunny day. I thought I hadn't taken a screenshot of the weather forecast this morning (it turned out I had) and maybe I was making the gloomy forecast up so I checked the weather forecast again while I was out walking and it had changed completely. Not very often my weather app gets it completely wrong.

weather forecast 2.jpg

Today's walk is perhaps not the most exciting walk, largely being inland due to the presence of Chesil Beach, but it's great to be back walking on the Dorset coast. Apparently Chesil Beach consists of 180 billion pebbles but I've not got time to count them all as I've got some serious walking to do.

chesil beach pebbles

chesil beach

The walk starts at the car park behind Chesil Beach just before Abbotsbury. I head down to the beach to admire it's majesty before heading back to the coast path. The path detours inland towards Chapel Hill where St Catherine's Chapel can be seen.

The coast path passes Abbotsbury Swannery before taking to grassy hills with some lovely views back over Chesil Beach.


Abbotsbury is a village and civil parish in the English county of Dorset. It lies in the West Dorset administrative district, and is known for its swannery, subtropical gardens and historic stone buildings.

The path passes above Clayhanger Farm and through loads of fields with the coast at some distance. I detour inland again, this time to visit Langton Herring and the parish church of St Peter as well as the Elm Tree Inn. The reviews for the inn don't look too hot so it's a good job it's too early for opening time.

parish church of st peter

elm tree inn

I head back to the coast path to reach West Fleet with a view over to Herbury Island.

I finish listening to an episode of Ramblings here, featuring Werca's Folk Women's Choir. Well worth a listen if you like folk choirs or grew up watching Bagpuss.


herbury island

boats on the fleet

The path continues past Gore Cove and the Moonfleet Manor Hotel and Restaurant, named after J.M. Falkner’s novel Moonfleet in which he describes a lake of brackish water full of “sea-fowl, herons, and oysters ... shut off from the open Channel by a monstrous great beach or dike of pebbles”.

sea-fowl, herons, and oysters ... shut off from the open Channel by a monstrous great beach or dike of pebbles
— moonfleet

 East Fleet Touring Park can be found here and some gallops are close by but I didn't see any horses today.

 I continue along the shore to reach East Fleet where I visit the remains of Old Church. Only the chancel remains and the rest of the church was destroyed in a storm in 1824 which breached Chesil Beach.

old fleet church

chickerell rifle range

Chickerell Rifle Range is reached but the red flags weren't flying today so I was able to cross the range without any problems.

east fleet lagoon

I carry on to reach Lynch Cove and then accidentally walk into a swamp and end up covered in stinky mud before having to head inland again to bypass the Wyke Regis Army Training Area.

wyke regis army training area

I continue back to the coast before finally reaching a beach at Pirate's Cove. The path passes in front of a caravan site and then Crab House Cafe. It occupies a ragged boatyard of a site overlooking the eastern end of the Fleet lagoon, just before the bridge to the Isle of Portland.

I pass the Ferrybridge Inn at Ferrybridge before heading on to the end of the walk at the Ferrybridge car park next to Chesil Beach Visitors Centre.

chesil beach visitors centre



Ferrybridge is on the causeway to the Isle of Portland, Dorset and is the point at which the Fleet lagoon joins Portland Harbour.



Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • lots of swallows
  • lots of pheasants
  • sheep
  • geese
  • roses at Langton Herring



The podcast of today's walk is now available.  You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

podcast logo small.png

Marks out of ten?

My pedometer app failed to start today so I don't have any step figures today but the walk is about 12 miles. Relatively easy walking and lovely weather. 6 out of 10.


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View abbotsbury to ferrybridge in a larger map

chesil beach