West Dorset is famous for its many Holloways.

The name holloway comes from the Anglo-Saxon word which literally means ‘sunken road’.

These sunken roads date from at least 300 years ago, many going back as far as the iron age.

They would have started as drovers’ roads or pilgrims’ paths, worn down by human feet, hooves of horses and cattle, and wheels of carts heading to market.

In some places within Dorset AONB, Holloways have receded as much as 20 feet below the land on either side. Trees rise up from the banks flanking the overgrown narrow path.

Hell Lane, the infamous smugglers pathway, is perhaps one of the most impressive and interesting.

With Shutes Lane it connects Symondsbury with North Chideock, climbing up over the ridge near Quarry Hill.


Go and explore these magical ancients ways on foot!

A great 5-mile circular starts at Seatown and will lead you inland towards Chideock and North Chideock exploring Hell Lane along the way.

Or start from Symondsbury Estate and take in Colmers Hill as you walk towards Seatown through Shutes Lane and Hell Lane.

Keep an eye out for carvings, faces and hidden markings as you walk the holloways and sunken paths. It really has a magical Tolkienesque feel to it.

Images by Cool Places Britain

Cool Places to Explore

Colmers Hill | Pilsdon Penn | Golden Cap | West Bay | Forde Abbey House & Gardens | Mapperton House & Gardens | Lyme Regis | Hive Beach.

Cool Places to Eat

Symondsbury Kitchen | Hive Beach Café | Watch House Café | The Station Kitchen | Rise Café | The Three Horseshoes | Brassica | Swim.