With its beautiful, ancient landscape, multitude of historical landmarks and abundant wildlife, Dorset is a rambler’s paradise. Families staying at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Restaurant and The Acorn Inn have plenty of opportunities to explore the most child-friendly Dorset walks, which combine gentle terrain and easy-to-follow routes with points of historical interest and wildlife spotting opportunities. Ask the hotel to prepare you a picnic in advance and set out on one of these five great Dorset walks for children.
Smugglers’ Trail at Stonebarrow Hill
Located at the Golden Cap Estate,The Smugglers’ Trail is one of the most interactive and fun-filled Dorset walks. Providing an insight into Dorset history, walk in the footsteps of the county’s famous smugglers by downloading the free Stonebarrow Hill smugglers’ story, trail map and activity sheets. Children can complete rubbings at posts positioned throughout the route, and there are plenty of picnic spots so the whole family can take a moment to enjoy the stunning surroundings and sea views.
An idyllic country park and forest, Moors Valley has a Play Trail and a Tree Top Trail. The Play Trail is dotted with wooden structures that children can explore, such as the giant snakes in the ‘Snake Pit’ and a balancing challenge courtesy of the fallen forest. The Tree Top Trail can be found half way along the Play Trail and features a 200-metre-long wooden walkway positioned five metres high, so your little monkeys can feel as though they’re swinging from the treetops.
An easy walk along pathways, an outing to Kingston Lacy will please both adults and children. Grown up visitors can admire the magnificent seat of the Bankes family, built to resemble an Italian palace and filled with priceless artwork from the likes of Brueghel, Rubens and Van Dyck. Children will enjoy exploring the acres outside as well as the kitchen garden, where they can get a close look at the seasonal fruit and vegetables and learn about growing their own food.
One of Dorset’s most famous beaches, the wide sandy expanse of Studland Bay is ideal for a family stroll. Amble along the four-mile beach for as long as you like before exploring the nature reserve behind the dunes, which is a haven local wildlife, including deer, birds and insects.
A short Dorset walk that’s suitable for all abilities, this Corfe Common route takes in the dramatic sights of the ancient Corfe Castle. Begin at the Corfe Castle ticket office and loop around Corfe Common, a sandstone ridge that’s the largest area of common land in Dorset. It’s a chance for all the family to appreciate some beautiful and ancient scenery, including some Bronze Age burial mounds that date back an astonishing 4,000 years. Reward your efforts with a Dorset cream tea in one of the village’s charming tearooms.
Image Credits: Lead image iStock/leuan. Golden Cap iStock/KempMartin. Wooden style iStock/FatManPhotoUK. Studland Bay iStock/fotoVoyager.