Local Area

Extract by Nicholas Crane about the Isle of Purbeck

"A peninsula rather than an island, Purbeck is nevertheless a place apart, virtually severed from mainland Dorset by Poole Harbour and by military firing ranges. Only fifteen miles by six miles, it is crammed with history and scenic diversity; a microcosm of 'old England', with Sir Giles Gilbert Scott phone boxes and a steam train that plies between a lopsided castle and the slumberous Victorian seaside resort of Swanage. There are thatched cottages and old inns, a curving white sand beach, and cliffs with some of the country's toughest rock climbs. In places, it looks as if a romanticist has hand picked one of everything from the mother country and placed it for safe keeping in this exquisite, miniaturised land."


Walking, mountain biking, bird watching, golf, scuba diving, sailing and rock climbing are all popular outdoor activities. England's first UNESco natural world heritage site, the Jurassic Coast is close at hand for exploring cliffs and headlands such as St. Alban's Head. Paths from the village lead to Winspit, Seacombe Cove, Dancing Ledge and Chapman's Pool. Here there are coves with rocks, beaches, ledges and zawns and fossil hunting possibilities.

Sunset at Chapman's Pool

They are connected by fine cliff stretches of the Dorset section of the South West Coast Path. which starts its 600mile journey to North Devon from Shell Bay. There being no road access on this part of the coast it is preserved in its natural state.

Sailing in Swanage Bay

The Victorian seaside resort of Swanage has a pier, summer amusements, the Mowlem theatre/cinema and services, shops and supermarkets. The chain ferry across Poole Harbour gives access to the shopping and entertainment facilities of Poole and Bournemouth.

Views from Worth Matravers, Corfe Castle

There are many places of interest to visit in the surrounding area.
The National Trust owns large estates in Eastern Purbeck including Corfe Castle, Kingston Lacey House, Brownsea Island and Studland Heath. To the North lies Wareham (indoor swimming pool, restaurants and galleries) and Wareham Forest.

Family attractions in Purbeck include Monkey Word and the Tank Museum. Lulworth Castle and the dramatic scenery of Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are along the coast.

Durdle DoorIn the west, Purbeck is separated from Lulworth, Weymouth and the Isle of Portland by the Army Ranges, across which there is access, subject to restrictions.

The Steam Railway from Swanage already reaches Corfe Castle and is scheduled to link to the main line at Wareham in the near future.

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