The Land of Bone and Stone

Set in the heart of the South Dorset Ridgeway, Bronkham Hill is a great place to get a sense of this ‘land of bone and stone’, with a collection of barrows clustered along the ridge.


The South Dorset Ridgeway has one of the densest concentrations of these Bronze Age funerary monuments in southern England and Bronkham Hill is one of the most spectacular groups of these on the ridge. The group runs for about a mile and includes four bell barrows and a double bowl barrow too! Added to this heady mix are natural hollows called sink holes, formed when a patch of chalk underneath the top layer of sands and gravels is dissolved.

It’s easy to walk to from Black Down along the South Dorset Ridgeway is part of the South West Coast Path National Trail and was the original route to be designated (the route around Portland was only added in 2003). It runs from West Bexington to Osmington Mills, decreasing the total distance of the South West Coast Path by 25 miles (40 km). Although it is some distance from the sea, it is part of the National Trail as it offers stunning views of the Jurassic Coast.

An easy walk from Black Down car park or Smitten Corner, along the National Trail, or follow the route on Map 4 of our Field Guide Series.

Find out about our Field Guide Series of maps. 

The Land of Bone and Stone

Hidden in the hills between Dorchester and Weymouth lies a remarkable landscape just waiting to be discovered.

This is the South Dorset Ridgeway, not just an ancient trackway but a ridge of high land that has attracted people for thousands of years – a special place to celebrate life and bury their dead.

Experts tell us that this ridge of land is as important as Stonehenge and Avebury for the scale of monuments and what they tell us of life in the past. But without a stone henge, this vast ceremonial landscape remains one of the UK’s best kept secrets!

Find out more about the South Dorset Ridgeway