This is a guide to running in Dorset, a county in South West England on the English Channel coast between Highcliffe and Lyme Regis. Over half the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and three-quarters of its coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site. Half the population of Dorset lives in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.
For the best places to run in Dorset, our focus is on waterfront running in the main coastal towns. Working from east to west, we start with a lovely run in Highcliffe, combining a waterfront promenade, castle, and clifftop trails. In the Southbourne & Bournemouth areas, there’s a 7-mile seafront promenade, scenic overcliff trails, and gardens in Bournemouth. In Poole, there’s scenic waterfront running. In Weymouth, there’s a waterfront promenade, paths around the Lodmoor salt marsh, and the Rodwell multi-use trail. Trail runners should tackle a section of the incredibly scenic, 630-mile South West Coast Path that passes through Dorset — great options around Swanage & Weymouth. We also recommend consulting the Area of Natural Beauty website for suggestions on additional trails that are good for running.