Explore the forgotten landscape of Ringstead. From the peaks of South Down, scattered with prehistoric activity, discover panoramic views of the Jurassic coastline. Visit the lonely but romantic chapel, sitting on the slopes, the building tinged pink, decorated with Whistler windows and dedicated to two locals. The churchyard remembers those lost at sea, while the water below still hides many more watery graves. Venture down to the golden beach via a cliff that can occasionally catch fire, its tinder the trees that grew millions of years ago. Walk along the shoreline to the abandoned village, now marked with little else but earthworks. Delve deep into the ancient woodland, full of crumbling ruins of a life long lost, to the old church, now a private home. Clamber back up the hill, though heath and gorse, with your previous footsteps visible in the landscape behind.

Distance: 3.5 miles/5km

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Ability: Easy, apart from one big climb.

Max Height: 490ft.

Min Height: 0ft.

Total climb: 540ft.

Terrain: Track, path road and field.

Map: OL Explorer 15 Purbeck and South Dorset

Start Point: National Trust Ringstead car park. (Postcode DT2 8NG, Grid Reference: SY758824, What Three Words: taps.swerving.spelled).

How to Get There: From Dorchester, travel south on the A352 for 4 miles. At Warmwell Cross roundabout, take the third exit signposted for Osmington. After passing through Poxwell, take the sharp and steep left hand turn after the bend. Follow the road all the way to the end, not to be distracted by the signs to Ringstead bay/village, to reach the car park.

Refreshments: None on route, but just nearby is the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills.

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Walk Excerpts

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