A TEAM walked the length of the South Dorset Ridgeway to mark the launch of new projects to support and protect the important landscape.

Members of the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership which looks after the beauty spot between Weymouth and Dorchester covered 17 miles in a day from Osmington in the east to West Bexington in the west.

The Ridgeway is one of the richest and most important cultural landscapes in England and the partnership received £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to safeguard the area, help people enjoy the countryside and feel pride for the area.

Over the next few years the partnership is proposing to deliver around 25 projects which aim to protect historical features, look after wildlife, give more opportunities for people to enjoy the Ridgeway, provide traditional countryside skills training and enable residents particularly schoolchildren to learn about the countryside.

Land Felt, one of the first projects, is drawing to a close with exhibitions of the work featuring felt produced from local fleeces and natural dyes. The final exhibition of work can be seen at Strangways Hall, Abbotsbury, from April 11-13, 10.30am-4pm.

Cllr Hilary Cox, Dorset County Council's cabinet member for environment, said: “The walk is a great way to highlight the work that the partnership is doing. The area is outstanding in many ways and the projects aim to bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to benefit the landscape and rural communities.”

The partnership is led by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and comprises a number of organisations including the county council, the county museum, wildlife trust, Dorset Forest School and Kingston Maurward College.

The walk started at Osmington Mills on the Jurassic Coast, climbed along the inland route of the South West Coast Path to Black Down and the Hardy Monument before winding down past iconic prehistoric monuments such as the Hell Stone and finished at West Bexington.

For more information about the work going on to support the Ridgeway see southdorsetridgeway.org.uk