Iconic Purbeck Walks

Selection of iconic walks around the Isle of Purbeck

guided-walks-800x600These iconic walks will give you the best of Purbeck as they visit the top sites and provide the best views. Venturing along the coastal paths and through the unique landscape of Purbeck they will be repeated during Friday and Sunday to ensure as many people as possible get to enjoy them. We have included a mix of distances and terrains so there will be something for everybody. You can choose whether to take a longer walk and explore the area or include a few shorter ones in order to get see the whole area on foot. Either way we will be giving a prize for the most miles covered in 3 days!

All walks will be lead by qualified instructors or walk leaders and will be bookable in advance

All you need to do is register for your chosen days and we will send you the full schedule for the days you have selected so you can plan your Festival and book into those that take your fancy (priority given in order of festival booking date)

Here’s a taste of the iconic Purbeck walks we will have on offer

Old Harry Loop from Bankes Arms and Back - with optional cream tea

The chalk stacks known as Old Harry Rocks mark the start of the World Heritage site of the Jurassic Coast. Old Harry Rocks were created through thousands of years of erosion by the sea and were originally a part of the chalk ridgeline that runs across the south coast joining up with the Needles on the Isle of Wight.

The chalk ridge was formed approximately 65 million years ago but you can join us to walk towards the rocks and look down on them from the cliffs. This walk has one steep climb but is otherwise fairly flat and has views across Studland bay and out to the Isle of Wight. This walk contains one climb but is otherwise on fairly even ground and it provides far reaching views over Studland Bay and towards Swanage.

Reward yourself at the end with a Cream Tea specially prepared in the Manor Farm tearooms for only £4 – must be pre booked in advance via NWUK (cream tea not available on all walks).

Distance: 4 – 4.5 miles
Start Location: Bankes Arms Car Park, Studland
Car parking: Free to National Trust Members (circa £4 a day for non members)

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
STUDLAND BEACH
THE PIG ON THE BEACH
THE BANKES ARMS

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

Corfe Castle Circular

The symbol of Purbeck, Corfe Castle tends to star in many NWUK photos too! Blown up by Cromwell in the Civil War it sits on a mound in between two massive chalk ridges surrounded by tiny cottages that make up the Village used in many film sets (including Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge & Bedknobs & Broomsticks). Join us for our favourite circular loops that take in the best views of the Castle and the whole of the Isle of Purbeck.

In Corfe Walk 1 (West Hill Loop) we will climb one of the ridges to look down on the Castle and Village from above plus taking in the delightful Copper Bridge and views across Poole Harbour. This walk involves a steady but manageable climb and no stiles – one area can be muddy in wet weather and the area is predominantly used for livestock grazing so Cattle/Sheep could be encountered.
Distance: 3.5 miles

In Corfe Walk 2 (Commoners Way) explores the intriguing Corfe Common and is a gentle climb towards Kingston where you can look down towards the Castle before heading through the woods and back into the Village via the delightful West St. This walk involves a small road section, a rocky track and a one narrow path which is knarly and sometimes muddy. The Common area is likely to be boggy in places when wet, this is a livestock grazing area and there are a couple stiles en route.
Distance: 5 miles

Start and Finish of both Walks is West Street Car Park – charge £3.10 for 3 hours, or alternatively National Trust Members can park in car park just outside village for Free and walk through the square to West Street (allow 10 – 15 mins)

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
CORFE CASTLE
MODEL VILLAGE
SWANAGE RAILWAY

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

Studland to Agglestone Rock

Agglestone Rock is yet another unique feature of the area. Also known as the Devil’s Anvil, it is a sandstone block of about 400 tonnes weight, perched on a conical hill on the wild heathland that borders Poole Harbour.

Your walk leader will take you through Studland Village and out onto the Heathland before a short climb takes you along a ridge towards the iconic rock where you can get up close and marvel at the magnitude before dropping down towards Studland road and through the woods to the Village and the 3 stunning beaches of Studland bay. This is a fairly easy walk with no significant climbs on sandy heathland terrain. There is a short road section at the start.

Distance: 3 miles
Location: L
Start and Finish at Middle Beach Car Park, Studland
Car parking – Free to National Trust Members (circa £4 a day for non members)

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
STUDLAND BEACH
THE PIG ON THE BEACH
THE BANKES ARMS

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

Worth Matravers Coastal Path Loops

Worth Matravers Coastal Path Loops (including Winspit and St Aldhelms Chapel).
Experience the real essence of Purbeck  on these circular walks (we will have a mix of distances) which start near to the famous Square and Compass Pub in the beautiful village or Worth Matravers.

This tranquil setting has a history of quarrying for Purbeck stone and the landscape has been shaped by this heritage whilst the pub seems to have changed little since it was frequented by the Quarry men (apart from having a Cider Cart and Fossil Museum).

On these walks your leaders will take you out from the Village to the Coastal Trails. Note – Walk one is a fairly challenging walk and both are subject to change in the event of sea fog (alternatives have been planned)

Worth Matravers Walk (Chapel Loop) will take you left towards the ancient 13th century St Aldhelm’s Chapel a tiny square building which sits on cliff top site thought to have religious connections way before it was built. This walk contains a mix of gravel tracks and a narrow section where pole use is not so easy (unless you double pole) which follows the cilff tops with fairly steep drops to the sea. There are also a couple of climbs (see the profile) and one descent and climb in and out of a gully which is challenging (circa 200 steps down and a steepish climb back – see photos. There is one stile on this walk
Distance: 5 miles

Worth Matravers Walk 2 (Smugglers Way) will take you in the other direction via the East man and Seacombe. There are a couple of climbs (circa 50 steps) and one small stone ‘gap’ stile to negotiate.
Distance: 3 miles

Both walks will finish back at the Square and Compass where the HQ team will join anyone who fancies a glass of local Cider.

All walks start and finish at Worth Matravers Village Car Park – suggested donation applies.

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
SQUARE and COMPASS
COAST GUARD
ST ALDHEMS CHAPEL

Kingston to Houns Tout Walk

A stunning circular walk that provides a unique view of Chapmans Pool and the Encombe Valley which is also known as the golden bowl. Walk through a stunning valley to the coast and then climb a steep uphill section (which is via steps but does have a drop to the sea to one side) to take in the views towards Portland and Kimmeridge Bay from Houns-Tout cliff.

Return via a ridge that provides more stunning views of the Encombe Vally (including the House, Lake and walled Gardens).

Refresh with a drink at the Scott Arms pub which has unrivalled views of Corfe Castle.

Distance: 3.5 miles
Start at Kingston, location K

Other things to do in the area
Scott Arms
Corfe Castle
Swanage Railway

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

Tyneham lost village and Worbarrow Bay

Today Tyneham is a ghost village and its school and church are given over to displays of life in the village as it was before it was taken over by the MOD during the Second World War. Still part of the extensive MOD ranges time has literally stood still in this Village.

Join us to experience just how tranquil life would have been for those displaced and read their stories as you explore the ruins after the walk. We will have a choice of 3 walks in and around the Village and it is included in the Marathon too.

The valley in which the Village sits is bordered by two chalk ridges which once climbed give views out across Lulworth and Poole Harbour on one side and across to Kimmeridge on the other. Both ridges lead down to the secluded unspoilt beach at Worbarrow with its iconic ‘Tout’. Both ridges involve a steep climb but we will also have a short flat walk to the bay for those less keen on the hill work!

Tyneham Loop 1 (Brandy Bay)
This shorter walk drops from the Village into the Bay where paddle steamers used to bring Tourists to the tranquil village before it was evacuated. A fairly steep but short climb up to the coast path is rewarded with views across Brandy Bay and back to Kimmeridge before dropping back down into the lost Village. This walk does traverse a fairly high ridge with a drop to the sea below.
Distance: 2.5 – 3 miles

Tyneham Loop 2 (Flowers Barrow)
Car parking suggested £2 donation for upkeep of the Village
Also starting with a walk to the Bay this walk then crosses to the other side of the bay before a STEEP and fairly long climb up to a prehistoric ridgeway, where the massive Iron Age Flowers Barrow hillfort has a tremendous outlook over coastal vistas stretching from Portland to Poole. Without doubt this is one of the most beautiful vistas in the area.
Distance: 4 miles

Tyneham  Loop 3 (Gentle Woodland Walk)
This gentle walk takes you form the Village,past the old farmyard and down to Worbaarow Bay on an even gravel track. We will allow time to stroll along the beach and take in the tranquillity and views before heading back to the Village via a magical woodland that typifies the unspoilt nature of this secret valley.
Distance: 2 miles

Start and Finish of all loops in Tyneham Village car park
Car parking suggested £2 donation for upkeep of the Village

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
LULWORTH COVE
DURDLE DOOR
LULWORTH CASTLE

Read more about the fascinating lost village of Tyneham www.tynehamopc.org.uk

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

Dancing Ledge to Seacombe

This really is following in the footsteps of the Dinosaurs because footprints in the rocks have been found in most of the local quarries  along the route including  Keats Quarry where they were a metre in diameter and belonged to a 30-metre, 30-ton Diplodocus.

A fairly challenging walk with steep descents (sometimes slippery) this walk captures the essence of Purbeck stone and its importance to stonemasons and fossil hunters. Dancing ledge itself is a platform where ships used to come to collect the stone and is so named because it the size of a ballroom.

Now it also has a natural swimming pool area which was blasted out for the use by a local prep school.  Sea views, old caves and the Priests way – this walk has a bit of everything.

Distance: 4. 5 miles
Starts and Finishes at Spyway Car Park, Langton Matravers.

Things to do in the area
Burngate Stone Carving Centre
Square and Compass

Swanage Pier to Worth Matravers

A longer walk from our hub that takes in the full beauty or the Coastal Path through Durlston Country Park and out towards the quarrying Village of Worth Matravers.

This route takes the Priests Way back into Swanage almost skirting past the famous NWUK HQ too! Along the route you will see Durlston Castle (a Victorian building which is now the Visitor Centre) a Lighthouse and the amazing Dancing Ledge where a tidal swimming pool was blasted out of the rocky ledge for a local prep school over 100 years ago.

We will stop for a break in Worth Matravers where you can choose to eat your own picnic or visit the Square and Compass for one of their iconic pasties (Menu choice is meat or veggie pasty on a paper plate with no trimmings!)
Distance: 9.5 miles

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
DURLSTON COUNTRY PARK
SQUARE and COMPASS
SWANAGE PIER

Note: No car required

Swanage to Corfe (return by Steam Train)

Leave the hub in Swanage and climb up to Ballard Down where expansive views of Studland Bay reward you for the effort!
This walk is like walking along the spine of Purbeck with far reaching views across the harbour to Poole as well as to the Castle and beyond.

The walk continues along the ridge undulating with the natural chalk formations until the path eventually descends into Corfe Castle where you can watch the Steam trains come and go from the old Victorian Station.

This is a one way only route so you will need to catch the steam train back to Swanage (or a bus) after taking some time to explore the Castle, Village, National Trust shop and several tea rooms of course! A fairly gentle walk with one moderate climb.
Distance: 5 miles

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
SWANAGE RAILWAY
CORFE CASTLE
CORFE CASTLE MODEL VILLAGE

Church Knowle to Kimmeridge Valley Loop

A complete taste of Purbeck, this walk combines both of the chalk ridges that define the ‘Isle’.

This walk literally crosses Purbeck taking in expansive views in all directions. Starting in Church Knowle a village with a stunning 13th century church it takes in both hills and dale, arable land, woodland and stunning cliff tops.

Incorporating a drink/snack stop overlooking Kimmeridge Bay (option to visit Café 5 mins down steep hill for ice cream and comfort stop) the walk then climbs up to Heaven’s Gate along the cliff tops before dropping back down into the Valley, through old farmyards and back into Church Knowle with its welcoming Pub.

This walk contains a couple of moderate climbs and two fairly steep ones. The terrain varies from rocky tracks to arable fields and there is one narrow footpath section that can be overgrown (long trousers advised!) The route includes areas where Livestock may be grazing and a farmyard area in a valley which can be muddy in wet weather. There are several stiles en route and a couple of areas where its uneven underfoot.

Distance: 6.9 miles
Start and Finish at the New Inn Church Knowle

Things to do in the area
Margaret Green Animal Sanctuary
Corfe Castle

Swanage Pier to Durlston Loop via Peveril Point

A favourite of the local groups, this relatively short walk is guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away.

A route that has been popular since Victorian Swanage, this trail winds up from the Pier and seafront along the coastal trail and up into the amazing Durlston Country park and round Peveril Point.

From Durlston you can view the bay were dolphins are often spotted and wildlife abounds plus experience the Victorian link by spotting the London bollards which are a feature of the park. (They were used to weigh down the empty ships which came to collect the Purbeck stone used in many major London buildings).

No stiles involved but a brisk climb up to Durlston.

Distance: 3 miles
Starts at Swanage Pier

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
Swanage Pier
Swanage Seafront
Swanage Town Centre
Sandpit Field and Festival Hub

Old Harry Loop from Swanage and Back

Walk from the hub car park at North Beach out of Swanage and up to the ridge which overlooks the Bay where a bracing walk along the coastal path leads the chalk stacks known as Old Harry Rocks which mark the start of the World Heritage site of the Jurassic Coast.

Old Harry Rocks were created through thousands of years of erosion by the sea and were originally a part of the chalk ridgeline that runs across the south coast joining up with the Needles on the Isle of Wight. The chalk ridge was formed approximately 65 million years and views from the top enable you to look down onto Old Harrys rocks and out over the adjoining Studland Bay with Poole Harbour beyond.

This walk contains one climb but is otherwise on fairly even ground and it provides far reaching views over Studland Bay and back towards Swanage.

Distance: 4.5 – 5 miles
Starts at the Festival Hub

Other things to enjoy in the area:-
Swanage Pier
Swanage Seafront
Swanage Town Centre
Sandpit Field and Festival Hub

Kimmeridge to Heavens Gate

Kimmeridge to Heavens Gateincluding a visit to Smedmore House & Gardens plus Tea

A walk that is exclusive to our Festival and includes access to the amazing Smedmore House (a stunning privately owned Georgian mansion). This walk takes you through the adjoining village and down to Kimmeridge Bay a hotspot for surfers and snorkelers, before heading up to the iconic folly of Clavells Tower which sits on the cliff top.

The trail then follows the Coast path before a further steep climb to Swyre head which is so worth it! The return leg continues along the high ridge with views across to Portland and Weymouth as well as back towards Chapmans Pool and beyond towards Swanage.

It simply is iconic Dorset with terrain varying from arable and parkland to Jurassic coast and picture box village. At the end of the walk, we have arranged for you to visit the House and enjoy a cup of tea with cakes donated by the Friends of Smedmore House who will be hosting an open day in aid of the Kimmeridge Village Hall (an impressive new venture which you will see on the walk).

Distance: 6.5 miles
Start and Finish at Smedmore House car park (pre paid with open day entry fee voucher)

Things to do in area
SMEDMORE HOUSE
CLAVELLS TOWER
KIMMERIDGE BAY (parking £5)
CLAVELLS CAFE

Note: this walk starts at a location away from the Main festival hub so transport will be required.

The Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival 2017

15th, 16th and 17th September 2017
Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival and Purbeck Nordic Marathon


Click Here to Register for the 2017 Festival