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The walks

Initially, thoughts of driving 300 miles from Yorkshire to Dorset, an area I’d not previously visited - in mid December, completely horrified me. But off I went. The requirement (the production of this walk pack) was wholly dependent upon “the English weather”. Christmas in Yorkshire was hoped for too!

I needn’t have worried. The weather proved to be extraordinarily unseasonal. Day after day of bright, sunny weather ensured. It was ideal for walking, with the bright sunlight further enhancing the exquisite beauty of the Dorset countryside and especially, the coastline!

Coincidentally with my visit, the coastline was awarded World Heritage status, placing the area in the same category as the Grand Canyon and the Barrier Reef etc.

The Dorset coast is a “living” example of the evolution of species, from fish to dinosaurs to mammals. Each of them are recorded as fossils.

Geologically, the timescale encapsulates the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods - approximately 250 million years. The coast is undoubtedly a wildflower wonderland and, a haven for bird life, in season.

My sincere hope is that these walks will inspire, and lead to your personal discovery of the delights of Dorset’s dramatic coastline and countryside.

A useful aid O.S. Outdoor Leisure map 15.

Happy walking.

  1. Dancing Ledge, 2 1/2 miles
  2. Worth Matravers, Seacombe & Dancing Ledge, 5 miles
  3. The Coastal Path to Durlston Head (returning along high level path),         7 miles
  4. Fields and Woodland around Langton, 3 1/2 miles
  5. Hill Bottom, St. Aldhelm’s Chapel and Winspit, 5 or      8 1/2 miles
  6. Encombe Valley & Houns Tout Cliff, 4 miles
  7. Worth Matravers to Corfe (and return), 8 miles
  8. The Priest’s Way to Swanage (and return),        6 miles
  9. Studland and Shell Bays,     5 1/2 miles
  10. Ballard Down & Old Harry Rock, 4 1/2 miles
  11. Agglestone Rock & Ballard Down, 5 or 7 miles
  12. Swyre Head, Kimmeridge Bay & Clavell’s Tower,         9 miles

Langton House Walk No.1


dancing ledge



This is one of those outings that are ideal for arrival day and those wanting an immediate glimpse of the sea!

Only two and a half miles, but superb seascapes are presented. There is, of course, a steep descent to and ascent from the coastline.

2 1/2 miles

Langton House.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.



From Langton House enter the lane on the west side of the complex known as Durnford Drove, then head towards Spyway Barn, which will be instantly apparent. To get there follow the signpost to Dancing Ledge.

The path passes between the buildings, but do spend a few minutes at the information point where local history, bird life and plant life etc. are simply, yet thoroughly explained. The story of the former stone quarrying here is particularly interesting. That industry closed in the 1960’s, but small operators are still evident here and there, using “open cast” techniques.

It’s quite amazing that men used to work “inside” the coastline cliff faces, creating a labyrinth of caves. Stone was then lowered to ketches (boats) waiting in the sea far below and shipped to London. Returning ketches were loaded with bricks for ballast and this probably explains the reason for many brick built houses in Swanage - unusual for an area in which stone was plentiful.

Before stone quarrying established itself in the area, Purbeck marble was in great demand for more decorative work. Examples of this can be found in Salisbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Locally, Kingston church is the place to see Purbeck marble.

Purbeck marble isn’t a marble at all - it’s a limestone, but when oiled the dark stone shines like marble.

The walk continues from the barn, heading directly towards the sea. Beyond the next gate a signpost points the way to the steep descent towards evocatively named Dancing Ledge - so named because stormy seas are
said to produce waves that “danced up on to the ledge”.

In 1910 Tom Pellatt the headmaster of Durnford House Preparatory School had a swimming pool created at Dancing Ledge. This was little more than a hole in the rocks which was filled by the seas waves. Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, attended the school.

The return to Langton is 75% uphill! Follow the indicator towards Langton and set off keeping close company with the wall to your right. Gradually the path creeps away from the wall and enters a gorse infested area. The
narrow path twists and turns throughout its upwards course to arrive at a gate. Here a signpost shows Langton 1 mile.

Set off again with the wall to your right, following an obvious track with Sea Spray barn across the field on the left. Arriving at a gate enter a lane (Priest’s Way) and head off to the right. Pass through another gate to
reach a pronounced junction. Here swing left along Durnford Drove to return to Langton House.

Langton House Walk No.2


worth matravers, seacombe, dancing ledge



5 miles.

Langton House

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Leave Langton House, using the access drive to arrive at the head of a cul-de-sac. Veer left, cross a footbridge into the field to walk along a clear path with the boundary fence on your left.

Reaching a junction of footpaths, keep straight on (signposted Acton). Cross a tarmacked road maintaining the previous course passing through an enclosed section, then pass through a gate and aim for a row of cottages.

Turn left to pass in front of the cottages then use a stile situated to the left side of the wide gate sited directly ahead. DON’T follow the road as it curves right. Continue straight ahead, noticing the strange construction patterns in the wall to your right side. The roof tops of Acton are also in view.

Merging with a broad track (Priest’s Way) swing right and follow the obvious route towards Eastington Farm, witnessing scenes of environmental vandalism, caused by the ongoing search for stone along the way.

Don’t be deflected. Follow the waymarkers to Worth, noting the abundance of blackberry and blackthorn (sloe) bushes along the way. Do take a plastic bag if doing this walk in season. Fruits of the hedgerows. Free of charge to the pickers!

Cross the access road to Eastington Farm, then pass though a gate just beyond and follow the direction of the arrow suggesting a line slightly left. Aim for another gate resting beyond and to the right of the second
of two telegraph poles. Crossing the field should bring first views of the sea.

Now make towards a large barn and enter the village of Worth Matravers which almost at once displays a hint of Canada! Walk downhill beyond the Square and Compass (refreshments?) to reach the duckpond. At this point veer right if wanting to visit the Norman foundation of St. Nicholas of Myra (recommended) or the tea rooms.

The walk route veers left at the duckpond (see shelter and ‘phone box) following the left indication towards Seacombe and Durlston. A second indicator confirms the route down a narrow road. Pay attention
hereabouts because you need to locate a left turn after approx. 25 yards, to follow a narrow path that runs between houses. At the end of this section cross the stile, then aim straight ahead, making toward the marker post sited on the horizon across the valley.

All around is evidence of early settlers who cultivated the land by creating flat terraces known as strip lynchets. The upward section passes through these and presents the opportunity for close inspection. First hill of the day!

Cross the stile to head off towards Seacombe (3/4 mile). This is an invigorating section, especially when the wind’s coming from the east. Hold on to your hats!

Cross another stile, then descend the steps to arrive at a gate/stile nestling in the valley. At that point swing right to head towards the coastline, crossing a small footbridge and passing a sign to Seacombe and Coast Path. Lots of gorse hereabouts. See if you can detect the coconut aroma this bush emits. Particularly evident following rain.

Approaching a gate with the sea in view, veer left, uphill - signposted Dancing Ledge. At the top of the incline Dorset’s dramatic coastline comes into view. (If the sun’s in the right position, evidence of strip lynchets are greatly enhanced along the westerly headland).

Now follow the coastal path all the way to Dancing Ledge. An area marked by N.T. signs. Along the way areas of coastal stone extraction are witnessed. Look out for the old cannon at Headbury immediately before
reaching Dancing Ledge.

From Dancing Ledge follow the indication to Langton. This upward path initially accompanies the wall to your right, before veering left to enter an area of gorse, blackthorn and blackberries.

A well-defined path wriggles upwards to reach a gate. There a signpost indicates Langton 1 mile. Walking with a wall to your right, follow an obvious track with Sea Spray barn (stormy seas if the spray reached this
point!) to the left.

The track leads on to a gate. Turn right along Priest’s Way. Ignore the temptation to enter Tom’s Field, instead proceed along the wide track, pass through another gate to arrive at a junction. Turn left along Durnford Drove to Langton House.

Langton House Walk No.3


the coastal path to durlston head



7 miles

Return by high level path.

Langton House.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Starting from Langton House enter the lane running alongside the complex, known as Durnford Drove and make towards the coast via Spyway Barn, which is soon evident. A waymark to Dancing Ledge confirms the
way. It’s worth spending time at the information centre within the barn.

Continue towards the sea, following a steep descent to Dancing Ledge (see Walk No 1) then swing left along the well used “South West Coast Path” all the way to Durlston Head.

The route passes above Blacker’s Hole, noted for its seabird colonies. The two sets of mile marker posts are used by the Royal Navy - for speed trials - and the lighthouse at Anvil Point, built in 1881 following a disaster at sea in 1874 near Peveril Point, when the “Wild Wave” was shipwrecked. Also the “Caves” at Tilly Whim, where limestone was quarried. In 1887 George Burt, the owner of the Durlston estate and nephew of John Mowlem the founder of the building contractors, opened the caves as a tourist attraction and these remained open until 1976 when rock falls caused the caves to be deemed unsafe. Tilly Whim contained a thick band of freestone, a valuable type of Purbeck limestone, for which quarrymen mined horizontally into the cliff face.

After the stone had been cut into workable sizes the slabs were lowered using a donkey-powered whim on to “stone boats” which in turn transported the stone to “bankers” yards at Swanage, prior to shipment elsewhere.

Keeping to the coastal path all the way, seek out the dolphin watch cabin and the bird watching gallery, before reaching the final attraction - the Globe Stone at Durlston Head. The Globe was another of George Burt’s projects. It weighs 40 tons, is 10ft in diameter and consists of 15 sections. The globe was produced at Mowlems Greenwich yard in 1887.

Continue a little farther on the coastal path with fine views of Durlston Bay and Peveril Point to emerge at the castle (another of Bart’s projects) - where refreshments can be obtained.

We abandon the coastal path for the return leg.

From the castle head up the driveway towards the car-park and swing left immediately, to walk alongside the perimeter wall. Follow an obvious route that eventually merges with the access road to the lighthouse. Along the way a Purbeck stone quarry is encountered, complete with the donkey powered whim (or Capstan) and the “Sledge”.

Continue towards the lighthouse, but a short distance before reaching it peel off to the right, at an open gateway. A butterfly indicator points the way.

Make towards a gate, then rise to a similar opening close to the high point. Beyond the second gate take a few steps to the mound directly ahead and pick out a wide gate situated about 1/2 mile ahead. That’s the desired destination, but a labyrinth of paths exist, ahead. Simple rule - keep the sea in sight!

The distant gate is the exit from the Country Park. Don’t be tempted by the offer of something warmer!! California.

The general direction never changes, although the route isn’t a straight line. The golden rule being to maintain the higher ground, and for much of the way you’ll have a “guardian” wall, to your right.

In detail from the California option. Press ahead veering slightly right to pass through an open gateway (Waymarker - Dancing Ledge, 13/4). The next focal point is the N.T., Belle Vue sign, and a really awkward stile to negotiate. Onwards through a gate (two earthenware sinks when I passed by).

(I was intrigued by the method of wall construction in Dorset and, what can truthfully be described as “stone stacking” rather than building. Thousands of tons of stone involved).

Next seek a stile situated twenty yards left of another gate and proceed to a further stile leading into an open field (end of wall guardian). An obvious path curves left to descend, then ascends to a stile and then a gate. Fifty yards farther on - turn right, pass through a gate and return to Langton House via Spyway Barn.

Langton House No.4


the fields and woods around langton



Not a great distance, but the homeward leg
involves a steep climb out of the valley. An
enjoyable outing nonetheless for those
wanting exercise and some fresh air.

3 1/2 miles.

Langton House.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Leave Langton House and follow Durnford Drove to the main road. Note the associations with the Reader family (Gang Show) on the Scouts’ building on the left.

Turn right at the junction, cross over to walk past the church soon after turning left (signpost) into a green track that runs alongside the graveyard.

Pass through the exit gate, then proceed straight across the field towards a stile that gives access into woodlands, with long distance glimpses of Ballard Point to the right.

Almost at once the path merges with a more prominent one - turn right and walk towards a gate. (A notice board reveals a three year regeneration scheme in the woodland which formerly housed Crack Lane marble quarry).

Pass through the gate, veer left to pass through a second gate and proceed downhill towards the main road (A351) caution neded.

At the main road veer left (towards Harman’s Cross) to walk along the verge to arrive at a junction with a secondary road on the left, at the brow of the road. Enter the “no through road” signposted lane. When confronted by a sign to Wilks Wood farm, veer right (waymark) along a wide track running through umbrageous woodland. At the next junction take the left fork, then continue straight ahead passing stiles both left and right.

I passed this way on a spring like day in December 2001. What it must be like to sample these surroundings in the summer when flycatchers are darting in and out of the trees, warblers are singing, woodpeckers are drumming and the sound of cuckoo fills the air? According to my map the woods are called Langton West Wood but the sign indicates Wilks Wood.

Emerging from the woodland, with the rather untidy Quarry farm ahead, turn sharp left to follow the indication to Langton. This involves an uphill section which loosely follows the woodland boundary. Look out for the gates and stiles.

Where the woodland ends, swing *left through a stile, then continue alongside the top edge of the wood. Pass through a stile situated alongside a telegraph pole, then shoot straight across the next field towards
an unnecessary stile then continue straight on to a wide gate.

Pass through this gate and swing 90º right uphill and pass through a metal barred gate into a farm enclosure. Walk up the small field and pass through a small gate on the right. Pass through the farm buildings then
proceed to the main road. At the road turn left, then soon after enter Durnford Drove on the right.

*An alternative route back to Langton aims diagonally right from the stile. This option takes in Norman’s Field - a preserved former family-owned stone quarry. This was worked up to 1940 when Mr. Norman died of a heart attack having worked the capstan himself following the death of his donkey. If electing this route continue up the lane, turning left at the main road.

Langton House Walk No.5


hill bottom, st aldhelm's chapel & winspit



This walk commences from the car-park in the pretty village of Worth Matravers, located by turning right at the road junction beyond the Square and Compass public house.

The Square and Compass Inn which also houses a museum, dates from about 1840. A local trade guild - Ancient Order of Purbeck Marblers and Stone Cutters used to dine at the pub annually on 2nd February. This was called “Kissing Day”.

This walk can be extended by 3 1/2 miles by adding the return route between Langton House and Worth Matravers, as described in Walk 2.

5 or 8 1/2 miles.


Worth Matravers (or Langton House)

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Leave the car-park, turn right and right again at the junction and head downhill towards the village. Pass to the left of the duck pond and continue to follow the road, passing between a shelter and an ancient water pump, before rising towards a junction.

Continue ahead, then turn right into a field (signpost Hill Bottom) just beyond a children’s play area. Cross the field aiming for the exit point in the top left corner. Hop over a stile to walk along the left-hand edge of a field aiming for a telegraph pole directly ahead.

Beyond this, with evidence of open cast stone mining activities (Swanworth Quarry) ahead, descend to another telegraph pole, cross a stile (sign Hill Bottom) and continue, descending through a woodland canyon that’s rich in bird life to reach Hill Bottom.

Cross two stiles situated close together, then swing left along a wide track. Arriving at a junction, either veer left across a damp patch, or continue ahead along a green swathe to turn left after a few paces. Both options lead on to an access road where two signposts confirm the correct location. Turn right along the road.

Reaching a telegraph pole situated adjacent to the starting point of the Purbeck Way, leave the road on the left. Cross a bridge, pass through a gate, then swing left, immediately, rising steadily to join the coastal path overlooking Chapman’s Pool. Breathtaking views are presented throughout the ensuing 2 1/2 miles of coastal path which terminates at the redundant Winspit stone quarry. Along the way a memorial to Royal Marines is observed and there’s a steep descent and ascent (204 steps!) Thankfully, there’s a seat close by following the exertions! Another seat skilfully fashioned from a block of Purbeck limestone carries a moving inscription.

Farther on are the white-painted former coastguard cottages and the coastguard station (the officer of the day informed me that views of the Isle of Wight eastwards, and Portland Bill westwards are available when
visibility permits). Also, there’s the Norman chapel dedicated to St. Aldhelm - a square building, without windows, which contains a superb vaulted roof inside. The chapel is still used for worship on occasions.

Continue beyond the coastguard station seeking a waymark to Winspit and just follow the obvious route, keeping close company with the sea. Reaching the old quarry buildings, descend into the valley and turn left. Follow the wide track to a junction close to a sewerage plant and veer right. Enter the village in front of
London Row cottages. Turn right up the hill towards the car-park.

The church at Worth Matravers holds the grave of Benjamin Jesty, who discovered vaccination in 1770. Jesty noticed that milkmaids suffering from cowpox were immune from the more lethal smallpox.

Langton House Walk No.6


the encombe valley and houns tout cliff



A visit to Kingston’s huge square-towered church (St. James’) containing fine examples of Purbeck marble, is in itself, a worthwhile journey, but the added attraction of “a peep into the Encombe valley” is an additional bonus. This outing involves a steep descent (steps) at Houns-Tout Cliff a short distance from Chapman’s Pool, and a steadily rising upwards route from the coast back to Kingston village.

4 miles.




Enter Kingston from the Langton Road veer left at the Scott Arms, pass the church to locate a small car-park on the left about 1/4 mile farther on.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


The walk commences from the car-park by entering the main woodland track and turning right (signpost Houns-Tout). These woodlands are part of the Encombe Estate where the rambler is left in no doubt as to where they can or cannot walk!

Follow the main track until the route towards Houns-Tout branches off to the left (signpost) then continue onwards, ignoring the temptation to enter the confines of Hill View. Cross a stile to follow an obvious route, travelling high above the Encombe valley which offers spectacular vistas.

The valley embraces Encombe House, built as a retreat for John Pitt (around 1770) and in modern times the family home of the Scott family (sometimes Earls of Eldon) for well over a century. The valley also houses the dairy buildings and a notable obelisk. The Scott’s benevolence funded Kingston’s church building costs. The obelisk was quarried at nearby Seacombe, and erected to the memory of Baron Stowell, the first Earl of Eldon’s elder brother.

The route requires little explanation. A memorial seat to Michael Byrne has been strategically positioned for spectacular seascapes westward, with the high point of Swyre’s Head just across the valley. In the vicinity of Houns-Tout Cliff a descent involving 168 steps is involved, with Chapman’s Pool (a spectacular bay) in view
as are the white-painted former coastguard cottages and St. Aldhelm’s chapel top the opposing headland.

At the bottom of the descent cross over a stile on the left, to enter the field, aiming towards a gate/stile situated in the far right hand corner. Exit there to walk along a green swathe, soon merging with, and
turning left along, a farm access road (signpost Kingston).

This is another exquisite valley with West Hill Wood to the left. Look out for raptor’s! This road is followed without deviation back to Kingston, arriving at a convenient point to visit the church (if open). Additionally, there are splendid views of Corfe Castle across the valley. Kingston’s church tower houses a peal of eight bells. Finished in 1880, it served as a private chapel to the Scott’s (Encombe House) until it was consecrated in 1921. Reaching the junction turn left to return to the car-park.

Langton House Walk No.7


worth matravers to corfe, via hill bottom (and return)



A there and back walk that will facilitate two pleasant rambles. Suitably divided by a visit to Corfe with its castle, tea rooms, shops etc.
A satisfying, leisurely day out. Not without hills to climb! Especially during the return leg. Make mental photographs, because the return route covers the same ground as the
outward leg.

The walk commences from the carpark
in the pretty village of Worth Matravers, reached by turning right at the junction beyond the Square and Compass public house.

The pub houses a museum and dates from around 1840. A local trade guild - Ancient Order of Purbeck Marblers and Stone Cutters used to dine there every February 2nd. This was known
as “Kissing Day”. Squares and compasses were stone cutters tool

8 miles.

Worth Matravers.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Set out from the car-park, turn right and right again at the junction. Pass to the left of the duckpond,
following the road between the shelter and the old water pump rising to reach a junction. Continue straight ahead to enter a field on the right (signpost - Hill Bottom) beyond a children’s play area. Cross the field aiming for the exit point in the top left corner. Hop over a stile to walk along the left edge of the field, aiming for a telegraph pole. Descend the next field with evidence of open cast stone quarrying (Swanworth Quarry)
revealed, and cross a stile located near another telegraph pole. The path descends through a woodland canyon (rich in bird life) to reach Hill Bottom - a location marked with two stiles close together.

Cross both stiles and turn right (signpost - Afflington Barn) along a wide track. Pass through a gate and continue on, eventually peeling away from the quarry boundary, to reach a second gate.

Beyond the gate climb the banking, veer left towards an opening then right, to pass to the left side of the renovated Afflington Barn. Cross the main road to enter a wide track (signpost Corfe Castle) with the castle in view. Pass to the left of a telegraph pole and descend steadily, searching diligently for two sets of waymarkers on the left, roughly 1/2 mile away. Leave the track on the left at the second of these waymarkers. Another clue - the main track curves noticeably to the right where the waymarkers stand.

Cross a stile, turn left, then leave the track on the right after 25 yards to enter a field. Keep following the left hand boundary through several fields to reach a couple of stiles separated by a footbridge.

After these, swing right to pass through a smallholding (wooden house to right), cross a stile then the boardwalk. Beyond a footbridge, a signpost points the way to Corfe Castle. Cross Corfe Common to reach
a white, foot-high marker, situated on the brow of the hill.

At the marker veer left, then 25 yards farther on veer right to cross the road. Keep close to the houses to exit the Common by a metal gate. Pass between the houses, cross straight over the road and enter a passageway. When confronted by a gable-end turn right, crossing the fields towards the castle. Enter the town by exiting the playground at the far left corner. For the return route locate the church and walk along West Street. Pass Marblers Tea Rooms, then turn left at a sign for East Street, picnic area and playground.

In the play area veer right then re-cross the fields towards the houses. Follow the narrow passageway, cross the road into a cul-de-sac to pass between the houses to reach Corfe Common again.

Keeping close to the houses, aim towards the adjacent gates. Rise and veer left towards the foot high marker, swing right to cross the Common aiming towards the signpost and footbridge.

After the bridge cross the boardwalk (a yard too short when I passed by!) and a stile to pass the smallholding. Cross the stiles and footbridge to walk along the right hand boundary through several fields to arrive on to a green swathe and turn left. Twenty-five yards farther on cross a stile on the right, then turn right again when reaching the main (uphill) track.

At the main road cross over (sign Chapman’s Pool). Walk between the buildings then swing right along a wide track. Reaching a telegraph pole keep straight ahead, then soon after kink left and right to descend towards a gate.

Through the gate turn left and follow a clear path towards the quarry boundary. Pass through another gate and soon after this cross the two stiles on the left (signpost Worth). An obvious path leads uphill to a stile and continues the upwards route to reach a telegraph pole. Walk along the right-hand edge of the field to cross a stile then enter another field to reach the road - turn left and left again to visit the ancient church of St. Nicholas and the tea shops. Beyond the latter follow the road back to the car-park.

Langton House Walk No.8


the priest's way to swanage (and return)



Another outing that follows the same course in both directions and facilitates a visit to a point of interest - Swanage. Here is a resort that exudes Victorian investment and affluence.

The route follows the eastern section of the Priest’s Way, so named because of the travels of a priest between Worth and Swanage in times when the former was the more
dominant location.

6 miles.

Langton House.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Leave the Langton House complex, enter Durnford Drove and turn left, towards the sea. Merging with a broad track (Priest’s Way) turn left signposted Swanage. Pass a solitary tree, then continue onwards to reach
Spyway farm “modern buildings”.

At this point either continue along the broad track or walk diagonally across the adjacent field. Whichever route is selected veer right when reaching a wide gate and continue to follow the Swanage indicators.

Where the track veers right towards Verney Farm, continue ahead, passing through a wide gate and proceed as before until arriving at a gate - signposted Herston. Turn left here, and with Swanage in sight descend
the field towards a wide gate.

A short distance beyond the gate at a junction, swing right to walk alongside some modern bungalows emerging into an “open” space with an imposing bungalow (built 1989) to your right.

Continue straight ahead to merge with a road and turn left. Follow this road (don’t enter Cow Lane) until it merges with the High Street, then maintaining the same direction march into Swanage, passing the Black
Swan, a war memorial and the site of Wesley Cottage - destroyed by enemy action in 1941. A plaque is on the left beyond the Purbeck House Hotel.

Make a note of where the White Swan is situated. The return route commences from there. Now explore Swanage at your leisure. The return route is straightforward enough and needs little narrative. Simply relocate
the White Swan and head off along the High Street until reaching the British Legion Club. At that point veer left to enter Priest’s Road.

Continue straight on - don’t deviate (bungalows on left - 25 Priest’s Road confirms the way). Follow the road when it curves left, pass a telephone box then as the road bends to the right, veer left to enter Priest’s Way. Soon after the manoeuvre enter an unmade road on the right.

Cross a stile (ignoring Coast Path) to walk straight ahead alongside the bungalows. Where the wall ends turn left to walk uphill, following the Priest’s Way sign.

Make towards a long-forgotten building to turn right and pass through a gate. Next simply follow your nose without deviation until the gate a short way beyond Verney Farm is reached. As before either cross the
field diagonally, or, follow the wide track around the perimeter.

Pass Spyway farm “modern buildings” soon reaching a fork in the path. Take the right fork and return to Langton House.

Langton House Walk No.9


studland bay and shell bay



Several of the walks in this set accompany the coastline along the cliff top footpaths that comprise the South West Coast Path. This outing permits access along the waters edge and the temptation to remove ones boots shouldn’t be resisted. Shell collectors take a plastic bag!

There are three things to mention:

  • Dogs are not allowed on sections of the beach between last Saturday in June and first Sunday in September.
  • There’s a naturist area!
  • A fenced-off area designated to allow migrating birds - to rest!

There are several options for the return leg of the walk having reached the Shell Bay information centre (and nearby fish restaurant).

  • Retrace the coastal route.
  • Catch the service bus (50) which stops 1/3 mile along the road.
  • Walk along the road*.
    The latter isn’t recommended in the high season when traffic will undoubtedly be heavy.

5 1/2 miles (approx).


Knoll Car Park, Studland

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


According to O.S. maps there are rights of way, first on the right side of the road, then later on the left side. I failed to locate either of these and walked along an almost deserted road it being December.

The attendant National Nature Reserve contains all six British reptiles. The rare Dartford Warbler and Hobby too can be seen if you’re lucky. The shoreline also has numerous wading birds.

To locate the Knoll car-park follow the B3351 road a short distance beyond the hamlet of Studland. The car-park (£4) is well signposted and contains a N.T. Shop and café. Public toilets too.

Views across the bay include Old Harry rocks, Isle of Wight and the skyscraper buildings of Bournemouth. Subject to conditions of course.

The actual walk needs no description - simply walk to the shoreline and turn left.

*The ferry across Poole harbour is propelled by chains. The nearby road is lined with replacement setts.

Langton House Walk No.10


ballard down and 'old harry' rock



B3351 road at Studland and locate the carpark close to the Bankes Arms. Studland has a much preserved Norman church. Close to the church door is the headstone of
Sgt. William Lawrence. Not to be confused with Thos. Edward Lawrence (of Arabia) 1888-1935. His grave is at Moreton, 8 miles west of Wareham.

At the southern end of Studland Bay stands Old Harry rock, once part of the same chalk barrier as the Needles in the Isle of Wight. Now these two landmarks are separated by
the sea, fifteen miles apart. Old Harry is a superb vantage point.

4 1/2 miles.

South Beach Car-Park, Studland.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Begin the walk using a stile situated at the lower end of the car-park (Bankes Arms end), cross the field to reach a road. Turn right towards the *village cross, thatched barn etc, and turn left to pass between
the buildings (Manor Farm) - signpost Ballard Down.

The road rises steeply, passing the Glebelands estate to arrive at a gate giving access to the open ground. A signpost to Swanage indicates the way forward.

A stiff climb to the stone seat (aptly inscribed - Rest and be thankful) on the ridge ensues, but the panoramic views adequately compensate. The bays at Swanage and Studland, Poole harbour (with Brownsea Island) and the sprawling Godlingston Heathare each prominent. The Isle of Wight too if the visibility is good.

At the ridge swing left (towards the coast) and march along a broad, green swathe eventually reaching the O.S. triangulation point. Veer right here, pass through a gate and join the coastal path, which rolls out
majestically towards the headland. As the coastal path curves left Old Harry and the attendant cliffs come into view. Their appearance is vividly white, just as though the surfaces had benefited from an application of
“brilliant white” emulsion paint! If you want a closer look at Old Harry continue to the cliff edge, otherwise turn left along a well-worn path towards the trees and beyond to arrive at a road. Turn right, uphill, to the car-park.

*The Studland cross is fashioned from Freestone, taken from the stone beds at St. Aldhelm’s Head. The stone contains skeletal evidence of numerous small creatures that lived in the warm seas of the Jurassic period. The cross dates from 1975. The style is Saxon, in keeping with patterns found on surviving Saxon crosses in Dorset.

Langton House Walk No.11


agglestone rock and ballard down



South Beach car-park at Studland is situated close to the Bankes Arms, just off the B3351 road.

The walk takes in a gigantic ironstone outcrop known as Agglestone Rock which is
located on the wildlife rich Godlingston
Heath. Look out for reptiles - all six known British reptiles are known to frequent the heath.

5 or 7 miles.


South Beach Car Park, Studland.

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


Depart from South Beach car-park, join the road and turn left. Follow the road passing the Manor House Hotel, to reach a junction. At the junction veer left for a few paces to enter a waymarked track on the right.
Initially the track descends within the woodland surrounds before rising to reach a main road.

Turn right at the road, then after 200 yards (bus stop) cross over and enter Wadmore Lane and access (eventually) to Godlingston Heath. Several signposts to Agglestone Rock appear along the lane which should be followed slavishly until reaching a metal gate beyond which lies a footbridge.

Cross the bridge, swing left and with the rock in sight leave the main track at the first obvious opportunity (between birch and oak trees) and head across the heathland, directly towards the objective. Sand becomes
problematic as the rock is approached!

Having enjoyed the views and inspected the gigantic rock, set out across the heath, maintaining the previous line (ignore a right turn soon after leaving the rock) to pass through a metal gate (signpost - Studland
Road). Initially the path skirts around the golf course perimeter, but after passing a vantage point (red and white pole) the path merges with a more prominent one. At that point turn right and stay with the broad track, soon passing five short, upright poles (clubhouse away to right) to arrive at a gate and the Studland road. Immediate objective - the obelisk, in sight!

Turn left along the road for 25 yards to re-enter the golf course - stile. Aim to the right side of a redundant building, then descend along a clear path which crosses a stile en-route to meet the road. At the road turn
left. Walk on the wide verge to reach a waymark, then cross over and the ascent to the obelisk commences.
The area is known as Ballard Down - a verdant landscape that exhilarates, excites and possibly exhausts, the weary rambler!

Oddly enough the obelisk wasn’t erected at the highest point on the ridge. It stands at 489 ft above sea level, a good distance from the actual summit. The plaque reveals that the obelisk was manually demolished during the dark days of 1941 and reconstructed 32 years later. Another inscribed stone tablet refers to the Swanage Water Act - 1883.

An exhilarating ridge walk ensues. Breathtaking vistas all the way. Just stride out until reaching the stone seat (inscribed Rest and be thankful). Those feeling energetic and adventurous could elect to refer to walk 10 and continue along the ridge towards Old Harry rocks. This option adds about two miles.

The original route swings left at the stone seat and descends from the ridge towards a gate. Turn right, follow the road passing the Glebelands estate.

To return to Studland simply walk along the road emerging near the village cross. At that junction continue straight on to visit the Norman church dedicated to St. Nicholas.

The headstone of Sgt. William Lawrence, is close to the church door. Not to be confused with Thos. Edward Lawrence (of Arabia) 1888-1935. His grave is at Moreton, 8 miles west of Wareham.

To conclude the outing walk around the church, exit via a small gate and return to the car-park.

Langton House Walk No.12





A “classic” outing full of interest, embracing
something for everyone. Take a packed
lunch and savour the delights of the Dorset
coastline and countryside along the way.
Refreshments are available in Kimmeridge.

9 miles.

Start/car parking:

Note: It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.


The walk commences from the car-park in Kingston village, reached by veering left at the Scott Arms to pass the church. The carpark is about 1/4 mile farther on, to the left.

Continue walking along the road, away from the village, soon leaving the wooded area behind. An impressive view of Corfe Castle soon comes into sight, across the valley on the right.

Arriving at another car parking area turn left to pass between the stone pillars, then a small gate. There’s a signpost to Swyre Head. A wide track crawls upwards between the fields, and reaching another gate Swyre Head comes into view.

Proceed towards the high point, with wonderful glimpses of the scenic Encombe valley to your left. Visible attractions include Encombe House - the home of the Scott family for more than a century. Built originally as a retreat for John Pitt C1770. Also seen Chapman’s Pool (formerly had a lifeboat station), and situated on a distant headland St. Aldhelm’s chapel.

Supreme, far-ranging vistas are presented from Swyre Head, which isn’t a natural summit. That summit was created by the landowner and enabled him to claim the highest point in Purbeck!

Now follow the indication towards Kimmeridge, passing the O.S triangulation point and proceeding steadily towards a possible rendezvous with St. Peter! Clavell’s Tower on the coast should be in sight.

Follow this wondrous high level route until it joins a road. (The hamlet of Steeple together with its church, will be observed along the downward section). Reaching the road turn left towards a road junction, then cross a stile and descend towards the left side of the church graveyard. Several Clavell headstones evident.

Continue straight ahead to pass through Kimmeridge - a village of mainly thatched houses. Tea rooms on left near telephone box. When I passed in December the telephone box was painted grey. Perhaps this was the undercoat?

Stick with the road (becomes a toll road for vehicles) beyond the village and onwards towards the coast. When confronted with an array of signs ignore them, but turn right at the next opportunity - signposted - toilets. Next look for a signpost partially hidden in the bushes to your right side (Quay and Information
Centre) and descend some steps to emerge into a boatyard. This is the quay. Lobster pots etc. Note the “nodding donkey” associated with oil extraction situated across the bay.

Exit the boatyard area to climb the steps opposite to arrive at Clavell’s Tower, built as a folly in 1831, two years before his death, by the Revd. John Clavell, who resided at nearby Smedmore House.

The ruined three-storey building with basement, Doric colonnade and circulartower is threatened with total collapse owing to sea erosion. The current incumbent of Smedmore House (Philip mansel) has launched the Clavell Tower Trust, with the hope that £1/2 million can be raised to fund a resiting of the tower some 50 yards inland.

Continue to follow the coastal path towards, but not quite to - Chapman’s Pool. Along the way, beneath the cliffs are the exposed flat bedrocks known as Kimmeridge Ledges. These provide valuable feeding grounds for
the hundreds of sea birds hereabouts. Also note the teasels along the cliff top.

The steepest climb comes shortly after passing a waterfall that empties into the sea at a place known as Egmont Bight. Here there’s a secluded beach.

After the strenuous ascent rest a while at the Michael Byrne memorial seat to savour the delights of the coastline. Depart from the coastal path by crossing the nearby stile to overview the Encombe valley once again. Enter the woodland and proceed straight on, soon merging with a wide track. Turn right and right again (signpost Kingston 1/2 mile) and return to the car-park.

Kimmeridge is founded on rock formed in Jurassic times (180-135 million years ago) known as Kimmeridge clay and is a mecca for geologists. These rocks run across England between Yorkshire and Dorset then onwards beneath the Channel to France and the Jura mountains. According to the experts, Chablis can only be produced on land drained by Kimmeridge clay!

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