Bournmouth Coast Path
The 37 mile long Bournemouth Coast Path links two long distance walks - the Dorset Coast Path which begins at Lyme Regis and the Solent Way which ends at Emsworth on the Hampshire/Surrey border. The Dorset Coast Path is, of course, the most easterly section of the South West Coast Path National Trail. Together the three paths span 179 miles of coast and are part of the E9 European Coastal Path which eventually will stretch from Portugal to Estonia!
The Bournemouth Coast Path was established as a recognised walking route in 1985 and it was designated as a part of the E9 in 2003. The British section of the E9 route travels from Plymouth to Dover and includes the South West Coast Path, the Bournemouth Coast Path, the Solent Way, the Staunton Way, the South Downs Way, the 1066 Country Walk and the Saxon Shore Way.
The Bournemouth coast Path is full of varied interest with two natural harbours, ferries, woods, high cliffs and some of the finest views on the south coast. The Isle of Wight is a constant presence along the way being viewed first from the west across Swanage Bay and finally from the north across the Solent. Taking the old cliff route along the Bournemouth section affords the best panoramic views and the chance to explore the famous chines and rich coastal history.
This is an easy walk to undertake in short sections as transport connections are good. However, some sections have winter route alternatives as some ferries do not operate in the winter months. All the options are fully explained in the guidebook by Leigh Hatts. The start and finish points quoted are also those chosen by Leigh Hatts. In fact the 37 miles includes small sections of the Dorset Coast Path and Solent Way.
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