Dorset's Jurassic Heritage Coast near Durdle Door & Lulworth

Dorset's Jurassic Heritage Coast near Durdle Door & Lulworth

Durdle Door Rock Arch

Durdle Door Rock Arch

Purbeck is an excellent place for coastal and countryside walks, bird and wildlife watching. A vast area of land on Purbeck is covered by National Nature Reserves containing the country's most extensive areas of heathland, home to rare native wildlife. The Isle of Purbeck has long been a popular destination if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy Dorset's unspoilt countryside. The rolling chalk hills of the Purbeck Downs are criss-crossed with footpaths and bridleways taking you past beautiful flower rich meadows, ancient woodlands and heath.

The Purbeck Way is a waymarked walking trail running through the Isle of Purbeck from Wareham to the south Purbeck coast at Chapman's Pool where you can then join the South West Coast Path to Ballard Down on the Studland peninsula. En-route you'll see spectacular heathland, woodland, downland and breath-taking coastal scenery on Dorset's World Heritage Jurassic Coast. For more magnificent views take the road from Stoborough towards West Lulworth through beautiful wooded countryside up on the hills to a viewpoint (with parking) for panoramic views across Purbeck. Pick up maps and guides at the Purbeck Information Centre near the quayside in Wareham.

Wareham Quay

Wareham Quay

Wareham, Isle of Purbeck Capital

A beautiful riverside market town, historic Wareham makes a great base from which to explore coast and countryside on the Isle of Purbeck. Hire rowing boats or canoes from the town's stunning quayside or simply relax and enjoy fine food and ales in an old waterfront inn. Purbeck's main heritage centre sits on the pretty quayside at Wareham and the town has a choice of activities and walks in the surrounding area, including in nearby Wareham Forest.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth & Durdle Door

The Lulworth area on the Purbeck coast features some of Dorset's most famous naturally formed landmarks along the most dramatic stretch of the Jurassic Coast including the great Portland limestone rock arch of Durdle Door jutting out into the sea. The South West Coast Path hugs the high chalk cliff around Durdle Door, Bat's Head and Lulworth Cove. This is one of Britain's most popular destinations for coastal walking holidays.

Studland Beach

Studland Beach

Studland Bay

The Dorset coast around Studland is magnificent. The steeply cut chalk rocks have left bays and interesting stacks only accessible by coastal walks. The three mile long beach sweeps in an arc of fine white sand backed by sand dunes and heathland - nationally important wildlife sites. It's a quick ferry ride over to the Studland peninsula from Sanbanks in Poole or you can take the B-road from Swanage. All around Studland is magnificent unspoilt scenery and nature reserves, excellent for birdwatching and walking.

Old Harry Rocks from Swanage Pier

Old Harry Rocks from Swanage Pier

Swanage & Corfe Castle

A seaside centre on the Isle of Purbeck, Swanage has a beautiful sandy beach with views across to Old Harry Rocks. Popular with families, the resort has a historic flavour with its beautiful Victorian Pier and heritage town trails. Pick up the classic Swanage Steam Railway running for six miles to Corfe Castle or head off on a boat trip from Swanage Pier around Purbeck's World Heritage Coast. Swanage and Purbeck are Enid Blyton Country with many features in the area making appearances under another guise in her children's books.

Durlston Country Park near Swanage

Durlston Country Park near Swanage

Durlston Country Park

On the south eastern tip of Purbeck, just one mile south of Swanage is Durlston Country Park. As well as being an easily accessible park with Visitor Centre, cafe and historic attractions, Durlston is an important wildlife site. Historic attractions include The Great Globe which was carved from 40 tons of Portland stone and Durlston Castle built in 1887 by George Burt as the focal point for his Durlston Estate - it was actually something of a folly only being used as a restaurant! The combination of sea cliffs, downs, ancient meadows, hedgerows, woodland and dry-stone walls mean that abundant and often rare wildlife flourishes here. In Spring the meadows are dotted with cowslips and the downland that covers much of the Park is particularly special for its huge range of orchids including the rare early spider, early purple, green-winged, bee and pyramidal orchids as well as Autumn Lady's Tresses. The downs are also home to a wide range of butterflies and migrant birds and the sea cliffs are excellent for razorbills, guillemotts, gannets, fulmars and shearwaters. Looking out to sea dolphins are often spotted here including common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, as well as harbour porpoises, common and grey seals. Ample pay and display parking is available at Durlston Park.

Jurassic Coast Beaches - here at Durdle Door

Jurassic Coast Beaches - here at Durdle Door

Langton Matravers Village

Langton Matravers is a large village to the west of Swanage surrounded by the Purbeck countryside. It has been a settlement since before Saxon times. The village is home to the Coach House Museum which tells the history of the local Purbeck stone quarrying industry. Exhibitions of the local history society's large collection are also shown here periodically. For a family day out try Putlake Adventure Farm where the kids can play in the indoor and outdoor play areas, have a tractor ride or see all sorts of rare breeds.

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay between Lulworth and Langton Matravers is renowned for its shallow shale beds that provide excellent access to rock pools and marine wildlife. The road down to Kimmeridge Bay is a privately run toll road. Kimmeridge Bay is a popular stop along the Jurassic Coast. The geology here makes the shallow waters and rocky shore popular for rock-pooling, snorkelling, diving and surfing.

Purbeck Heaths, East Dorset

The Dorset Heaths National Nature Reserve which contains Stoborough Heath and Hartland Moor to the south of Wareham along with the Studland and Godlingston Heath all around Studland are some of the most extensive heathlands in the country. The Dorset Heaths are internationally important and are home to some of Britain's rarest wildlife including sand lizards, adders, grass snakes, common lizards, slow worms, smooth snakes, Dartford warblers and nightjars, as well as all the specialist plant species of heathlands. Further north west of Studland is Arne Reedbeds National Nature Reserve. This is an excellent birdwatching reserve, largely managed by the RSPB. Here you're likely to spot nightjars, Dartford warblers, avocets and hen harriers. The local Natural England office and the RSPB run regular guided walks in these areas.

Isle of Purbeck Golf Club

In 1950 Enid Blyton's husband, Kenneth Waters, bought the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club. While holidaying here they were both known to play almost every day. Under their management it was extended to 27 holes, including a 9 hole course, Dene, and an 18 hole championship course, Purbeck. Today the course is a beautiful heathland course frequently ranked among the top 100 courses in the UK. From the road leading down to the club are some fantastic views across the heathland to Poole Harbour. Visitors are welcomed to the Golf Club and either course will suit golfers of all abilities.

Accommodation in Purbeck

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    £395
    Per week (seasonal)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 14 reviews
    Rating from 14 reviews
    Family friendly Edwardian terraced house offering comfortable holiday accommodation for up to 8 people in Swanage. Two lounges, enclosed garden, sea views. Street parking nearby.
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  • Dorchester
     
     
    Classic 18th century manor house in the pretty village of Moreton near Dorchester, a gateway to Hardy Country with a 2 acre garden, piano and period features. Tennis & games room.
     
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  • Corfe Castle
    Sleeps 7
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    £295
    7 nights (seasonal)
     
    Range of attractive cottages in the Purbeck peninsula, all boasting excellent self- catering facilities, period features & stylish furnishings. Please enquire to discuss your needs
     
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  • Swanage
    Sleeps 4
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    £345
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    Swanage self-catering cottages providing holiday accommodation by the beach. Suitable for families, with designated parking and easy beach access. Sleep 4 or 6.
     
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    £56
    Per room per night B&B
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 97 reviews
    Rating from 97 reviews
    Friendly guest house just minutes from Swanage beach & town centre. All en-suite rooms with toiletries & generous hospitality trays. Superb breakfasts. Free wifi and parking.
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  • Swanage
    Sleeps 6
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    £450
    weekly includes ALL utilities, bedding, towels, parking
     
    4 Star spacious luxurious holiday apartment over two floors by the beach front at Swanage. Comfortably sleeps 6 people, superbly equipped, pet friendly. 2 bathrooms. Wi-Fi
     
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  • Langton Matravers
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £425
    Per Week (seasonal)
     
    Self Catering annexe near Swanage with off road parking and large garden. Children, pets and smokers welcome. Free Wi-Fi internet & SKY+ HD. Established since 1991. Sleeps 8 + cot.
     
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  • Prices from
    £70
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    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 294 reviews
    Rating from 294 reviews
    Family-run guest house in Swanage. Established for over 20 years. Off-road car park. Few minutes from town centre and beach. Delicious breakfast with local produce. Free Wi-Fi.
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  • Prices from
    £50
    Per Week (Seasonal) Sleeps 2-6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 190 reviews
    Rating from 190 reviews
    Charming Farmhouse apartments near Swanage with stunning views over the Purbeck Hills. Ideal for couples or families with full self catering facilities. Free parking & bike storage
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  • Ringstead
    Sleeps 6
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    £410
    Per Week (seasonal) sleeps 2 - 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 46 reviews
    Rating from 46 reviews
    Award-winning cottages on Dorset's Jurassic Coast a short walk from Ringstead beach. Perfect for families & couples. Original beams and cosy fires. Extensive gardens. Short breaks
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