Isle of Purbeck
Visiting the Isle of Purbeck is like stepping back in time to another world. A place of natural beauty and fascinating history from villages of stone and thatched cottages to long beaches of golden sand and the crystal clear sea with one of the highest sunshine records in England.
For golf enthusiasts there are several courses where visitors are welcome, and the area is ideal for walking either along the Coastal Path or inland through the quieter villages. The Purbeck Cycle way covers a variety of routes.
The picturesque seaside resort of Swanage is situated on the south coast of Dorset. Classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty and, more recently, named as a gateway to the Jurassic Coast, Swanage offers something for everyone. Swanage’s central beach once again achieved a Blue Flag award for 2010 and we hope to do the same next year.
Its safe sandy beaches give access to a variety of water sports including water skiing and banana boat rides. There is also a bathing only zone making it a safe place to take the family. Outstanding country walks are also available in the surrounding countryside, including part of the South West Costal Path.
The Steam Railway, run by enthusiasts, links Swanage with Corfe Castle and Norden.
For those looking for a bit more adventure Swanage is the location of the United Kingdoms oldest established diving school. Based on Swanage Pier, which was originally built in 1896 to replace the old pier, it offers chartered boat trips to various dive sites. The Isle of Purbeck coastline is also a haven for climbers and offers climbs of varying difficulty including Dancing Ledge.
Approximately 3 miles to the east of Swanage is the quiet village of Studland. An unspoilt location owned mainly by the National Trust and offering access to 3 miles of sandy beaches and dunes with safe bathing. There are also wonderful walks to be found in Studland Heath Nature Reserve and along the cliffs, past Old Harry Rocks, to Swanage as well as through the hills to Corfe Castle. The local horse riding stables can offer rides through the countryside.
The chain link ferry connects to Sandbanks giving access to Poole and Bournemouth.
Corfe Castle and Church Knowle
Approximately 5 miles from Swanage, the castle itself, built at around the end of the 11th Century, was ordered to be destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in the late 1640’s and is now one of the most impressive ruins in England and, since being bequeathed to them by the Bankes family in the 1980s, is owned by the National Trust.
The village itself has a Norman church and beautiful Purbeck Stone Cottages, some built from stone taken directly from the castle ruins in the centuries following its destruction, several old established pubs and many walks around the Purbeck Countryside, including over the Purbeck Hills to Swanage. Just outside of the village is the Norden Park and Ride which offers direct access to Swanage via the steam railway.
Langton Matravers, Acton and Worth Matravers
These two small villages are both located to the west of Swanage. Both have strong links to the local quarrying of Purbeck Stone, which is still quarried to this day.
Langton Matravers is the larger of the two, benefiting local shops and village pubs.
Worth Matravers is an unspoilt village in the heart of the local countryside with a duck pond and consisting mainly of quaint stone cottages and the village pub. It offers easy access to beautiful country walks and the rocky cove of Winspit.
On the main Weymouth to Waterloo railway line (2 hours only), Wareham is approximately 10 miles from Swanage and is a small former market town at the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck.
It has a local Art Gallery and Museum, together with the remains of the old town walls. The River Frome is popular for swimming, boating and picnicking.