Local author Anne-Marie Edwards knows a thing or two about local pubs. And she can also tell you exactly how to get there, while taking in some interesting scenery and stretching your legs at the same time.

She already has a number of walking guides to Dorset under her belt. In her latest, Pub Walks in Dorset, she combines the best of the county’s countryside and coastal paths with a selection of pubs that have been chosen for their good food, range of ales, history and character.

The 20 circular routes vary in length from two-and-a-half to nearly six and each walk has an accompanying map. There are also details of how to get to the start, where to park and what can be seen en route.

Included in the mix are coastal walks at Abbotsbury, Eype and Kingston (featured here); woodland walks at Lytchett Minster, Corfe Mullen and Stoke Abbot; downland routes at Sixpenny Handley, Horton and Corfe Castle, and riverside walks at Tarrant Gunville, Moreton, Shillingstone and Hinton St. Mary.

In addition there are walks in pretty valleys as at Winterborne Stickland and Cattistock and through picturesque villages such as Loders and Piddletrenthide.

This walk starts in Kingston, standing high in the Purbeck Hills. It takes you to the sea along the crest of a high downland ridge with splendid views over one of Dorset’s loveliest valleys, known as the Golden Bowl. The route leads to Houns-tout, a dramatic cliff top overlooking Chapman’s Pool with its blue, scallop-shaped bay.

How to get there: Drive through Corfe, heading south on the A351, turn right for Kingston along the B3069. At the top of the hill turn right past the front of the Scott Arms, then turn right again into the pub car park.

Length of walk: 3½ miles.

Map: OS Explorer Outdoor Leisure 15 Purbeck and South Dorset (GR: SY958797)

1) Turn right from the entrance to the Scott Arms and walk up the stone-flagged pavement beside the main street of the village and follow the signs for Encombe. You pass St James’s church on your left. Keep straight on past a turning on the right and the drive to Kingston House and follow the track bearing a little left, signed ‘Hounstout’. This brings you to another footpath signed ‘Hounstout’ which leads uphill through the woods of Kingston Plantation.

2) You leave the trees to enjoy your first view of the Golden Bowl and Encombe House, a fine building faced with white ashlar and decorated with porticoes and columns. Follow the path over stiles along the crest of the ridge to the cliff top at Houns-tout to meet the Dorset Coast Path.

3) Bear left along the cliff-top path as it curves round the edge of Houns-tout. Looking ahead you will see St Aldhelm’s Head crowned with the tiny Norman chapel. At this time of year – late July – you are likely to see an abundance of butterflies including red admirals, peacocks and small tortoiseshells. The path curves a little left and below you lies a perfectly rounded cove, Chapman’s Pool. The surrounding cliffs crumble easily, resulting in landslips. When smuggling luxury goods from France was rife along the south coast, it is said that some coastguards, with eyes on their safety, asked smugglers not to land their contraband there!

4) Take care as you follow the path down the steps to the foot of the hill.

5) Turn left over a stile and keep ahead following the sign ‘Coast Path to Hill Bottom ¾’. Continue up this strangely remote valley. The path curves right through a gate to meet a lane. Turn left and follow the lane which runs gently uphill and becomes metalled as it passes the trees of Kingston Plantation. The road follows South Street, passing St James’s church on the left to descend into Kingston. Turn right and walk down the village street to return to the Scott Arms and your car.

  • Pub Walks in Dorset by Anne-Marie Edwards is published by Countryside Books priced £7.95.

Available from local booksellers, some local garden centres, local National Trust properties and attractions, or at countrysidebooks.co.uk