Spyway sea saunter

Langton Matravers, Dorset BH19 3HG

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The Priest's Way in Purbeck, Dorset © Mimi Rousell/National Trust

The Priest's Way in Purbeck, Dorset

Stone sculpture of The Limousin Cow at Langton Matravers © National Trust

Stone sculpture of The Limousin Cow at Langton Matravers

Looking down onto Dancing Ledge © National Trust

Looking down onto Dancing Ledge

Route overview

This flat, linear walk takes you out across rich grasslands, with great sea views and some unusual sculptures on the way out.  There are sweeping views of Allwood Down, one of Dorset's chalk ridges, on the way back.

  • Grade of walk: Flip Flop (easy and lots of fun)
  • Type of walk: 'Beautiful Views', 'Flora and Fauna'

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map of the Langton Matravers walk in Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Spyway car park, grid ref: SY997784

  1. The walk starts from the kissing gate at the end of the car park, and continues along the track ahead of you. You'll cross the Priest's Way, one of the oldest 'roads' in Purbeck.

    Show/HidePriest's Way

    As you walk towards Spyway Barn (the name Spyway orignated from the smuggling activities that were once common along this part of the coast), you'll cross the Priest's Way. The Priest's Way is one of the oldest roads in Purbeck and for 1000 years a priest would ride a pony or walk between the churches of Swanage and Langton to take the service. Today, the 'road' is used recreationally by walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers to access the South Purbeck Estate.

    The Priest's Way in Purbeck, Dorset © Mimi Rousell/National Trust
  2. Keep going along the track to the farm buildings. Between the cottages and the buildings, take time to look in the display barn to find out more about conservation in this area.

  3. Now head on into the grassland. Here, you may see sika or roe deer or hear the loud whistling call of the sika stags in the autumn breeding season. With views to the English Channel, keep going through grasslands until you reach a kissing gate. The 'quirky' cow is one of a pair of sculptures by Sarah Moore carved to acknowledge the importance of conservation grazing in managing these landscapes.

    Show/HideThe Limousin Cow

    The Limousin Cow is one of two sculptures by Sarah Moore that recognise the importance of these animals in managing this landscape. The other carved animal is a pony, situated westwards along the Priest's Way at Eastington. The combination of cows and ponies grazing, and their different grazing habits, enable grass blade or sward height to be grazed more effectively. This specific conservation grazing enables the limestone grassland to be managed without using fertilizers or chemicals.

    Stone sculpture of The Limousin Cow at Langton Matravers © National Trust
  4. Once through the kissing gate you're rewarded with some coastal views and the chance to sit down and savour this diverse landscape. If you fancy a short detour to Dancing Ledge (a shelf of rock on the beach left by quarrying), follow the rough stone steps which are straight in front of you. This is a popular spot for picnics and swimming in the summer.

    Show/HideDancing Ledge

    The once prosperous quarrying industry has left an abundance of relic features. One such remnant is Dancing Ledge, a quarry shelf, said to be the size of a dance floor. The visible ruts are from the carts used to move Purbeck stone from where the quarrymen cut it from the quarry face to be loaded at the cliff edge and transported by stone boat. The 'swimming pool' was dug on the instruction of one of Langton Matravers' headmasters to allow his students to swim year round following a bracing run from the top.

    Looking down onto Dancing Ledge © National Trust
  5. Retrace your steps back through the gate and head back to the car park. Look at some of the stone walls built from the locally quarried Purbeck Stone. In the distance the chalk ridge of Allwood and Ballard Down creates a whole new landscape to be explored another time.

  6. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk

End: Spyway car park, grid ref: SY997784

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 15
  • Terrain:

    A linear walk on tracks and grassland. Dogs are welcome under close control.

  • How to get here:

    • By bus: Wilts and Dorset 40, Poole to Wareham and Swanage. Alight Langton Matravers High Street/Durnford Drove and follow signs to Langton House. Continue along this single track road to right and Spyway car park
    • By train: Branksome or Parkstone, both 6.5 miles (10.5km) via ferry; Wareham 12 miles (19km)
    • By car: A351 to Langton Matravers then B3069, follow signs to Langton House and continue along single track road to right and Spyway car park

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