Old Harry Rocks walk

South Beach car park, Studland, Dorset BH19 3AU

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Old Harry seen from Ballard Down in Purbeck, Dorset © National Tust/Will Wilkinson

Old Harry seen from Ballard Down in Purbeck, Dorset

Listen for the wild piercing cry of the peregrine falcon © National Trust/David Palmer

Listen for the wild piercing cry of the peregrine falcon

Look out for gulls flying up on draughts of wind along the clifftops © northeastwildlife.co.uk

Look out for gulls flying up on draughts of wind along the clifftops

Route overview

Breathtaking views of the Jurassic coast and unique rock formations await you on this circular pub walk.

Route details

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

Route of the walk at Old Harry Rocks on the Purbeck Estate in Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: South Beach car park, grid ref: SZ038824

  1. From the car park walk down the road past the Bankes Arms pub and turn left by the public toilets on to the path signed for Old Harry. Look out for rectangular earthworks in the wood near Old Harry - the remains of fields used by Celtic farmers.

  2. From Old Harry follow the coast path up a gentle rise, keeping well back from the sheer cliff edge.

    Show/HideOld Harry

    Old Harry, and the remains of Old Harry's wife, have been carved by the action of the waves. Together they form one of Dorset's most famous landmarks. Savour the fine views across Poole Bay to Bournemouth, Hengistbury Head and the Isle of Wight.

    Old Harry seen from Ballard Down in Purbeck, Dorset © National Tust/Will Wilkinson
  3. At the first gate, keep to the cliff top path. There's a good variety of chalk grassland flowers in the short turf, but you'll need to go down on hands and knees to best enjoy them. Look back to enjoy a fine view of the Pinnacle stack.

    Show/HidePeregrine falcons

    Look out for peregrine falcons circling high above. This stocky falcon can fold back its wings and stoop on its prey with incredible speed. Listen out for its wild, piercing cry.

    Listen for the wild piercing cry of the peregrine falcon © National Trust/David Palmer
  4. Go through a farm gate and head straight on past earthworks and along Ballard Down.

    Show/HideGulls

    With its bulky body and massive bill, the greater black-backed gull is our largest gull species. Look for them roosting on the stacks or flying on up-draughts of wind along the cliff tops.

    Look out for gulls flying up on draughts of wind along the clifftops © northeastwildlife.co.uk
  5. Just before the stone bench marked 'Rest and be thankful', where the main paths cross, turn right down the hill towards Studland.

  6. Follow the road down through the Glebeland estate.

  7. Go straight on at the crossroads, following the sign for the church. On your right is the village cross, which was erected in 1976. The carvings depict a range of images both ancient and modern.

  8. At the end of the lane, go through the gate into the churchyard. Pass the church on your right then turn immediately right and follow the footpath back to your starting point.

End: South Beach car park, grid ref: SZ038824

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5km)
  • Time: 1 hour to 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer OL15; Landranger 195
  • Terrain:

    This is a fairly gentle walk, normally with good conditions underfoot. One steady climb up Ballard Down. Beware of sheer cliff edges on and approaching Old Harry. Dogs welcome under close control.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: From the crossroads in Studland village, take lane by post office and follow it round to Bankes Arms pub

    By bike: Leave National Cycle Network Route 2 where it joins the Ferry Road, then head south into Studland, 1 mile (1.6km), and follow foot directions

    By bus: Wilts & Dorset 50 from Bournemouth and Swanage, or 40 from Poole. Then follow foot directions

    By car: Follow B3351 from Corfe Castle, 5 miles (8km), or from Poole to Studland via chain ferry. Car park is at BH19 3AU

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