To help celebrate this week’s Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival, we have a walk from the picturesque Corfe Castle into the lovely Victorian seaside town of Swanage. You can use the Swanage Railway to get back to Corfe Castle – although do check timetables in advance as the train times vary greatly over the seasons. Once back in Corfe, the castle is definitely worth a visit and there are a number of great pubs to grab some food too.
Length of route:
OS Explorer Map (1:25 000) Purbeck and South Dorset OL 15
Details: Start at Corfe Castle’s pay and display car park just off West Street. Turn left as you exit the car park and head into the centre of the village. Turn left again as you reach the main road and then turn right into Sandy Hill Lane. You’ll pass under the railway (the one you’ll be travelling on later) and then turn left over a stile. This permissive footpath of the Rempstone Estate will see you climbing sharply up to the Purbeck Ridge. It’s a great spot to view Corfe Castle itself – so do take a look back!
At the top of the ridge, turn right (signposted Rollington Hill) and follow the path along the ridge. You’re heading for the radio mast where the path merges with a stoney bridleway. At this point go through a gate and fork left. You’ll see lovely views of Poole Harbour emerging on your right.
You’ll see a series of stone markers for Ulwell and pass through a number of gates before the stone track starts to drop and you’ll be able to see Swanage Bay ahead. Look out for an obelisk on a hill to the left of Swanage, this is on your route. Follow the stone track down the hill and you’ll come to Ulwell Road.
Turn right here and follow it for a few hundred yards. Cross the road and turn into the second lay-by with the ‘Welcome to Swanage’ sign. Turn left and go through a small metal gate before heading up the footpath to the left. Follow signs for the obelisk as you climb, cross the stile at the top to reach the obelisk.
From the obelisk, turn right towards Old Harry Stones, go through a gate and out towards Ballard Point. This section is easy walking with magnificent views – a just reward for the hard climb. When you reach a crossroads in the path, go straight ahead signed ‘Coast Path’. Turn right (following the Coast Path sign) and follow the path downhill.
The path winds along the coast before joining the residential streets of Swanage. The South West Coast Path is marked by an acorn and there are signs on the roads to keep you on track. You’ll come to the seafront and can continue walking into Swanage.
The small town is worth a stroll – and possibly an ice cream break – before you catch the train back to Corfe Castle. The station is well signposted in the town as ‘steam railway.’