Things to see & do

This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.


Three walkers in the Purbeck Hills, Dorset

Three walkers in the Purbeck Hills, Dorset

Miles of footpaths including The Purbeck Way and part of the South West Coast Path make Purbeck a paradise for walkers.


 © National Trust/Neil Davidson

Dorset mountain bikers have described Purbeck as 'God's playground' for its spectacular upland bridleways and challenging technical descents.


Cyclists on a bridleway on Godlingston Heath in Purbeck, Dorset © National Trust/Neil Davidson

You don't need to be an adrenalin junkie though – there are some great family routes taking you away from the traffic and into the heart of the countryside.

Go geocaching

Find hidden treasures on a high tech hunt. We've hidden more than 20 caches on beaches, hills and heaths in Purbeck. You can borrow a GPS unit from the information hut at Knoll Beach, Studland.

Watch birds on Middlebere Heath

A meadow pipit © National Trust/ Paul Delaney

A meadow pipit

Hides on the heathland and overlooking Poole Harbour get bird watchers up close with large flocks of avocets and Brent geese during winter, as well as stonechats and meadow pipits. If you are really lucky you may see a hobby performing its spectacular aerobatics, a majestic hen harrier, or even a migrating osprey in spring or autumn.

Find a rare orchid in south Purbeck

An early spider orchid  © National Trust/Angela Peters

An early spider orchid

The clifftops of south Purbeck are famous for orchids - among them the sought-after early spider orchid, named for its distinctive markings which resemble an arachnid. Nationally rare, the UK's largest concentration of this delicate velvety bloom can be found just west of Dancing Ledge, where it blooms in late April. The early spider orchid is the logo of the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Spot reptiles on Godlingston Heath

A common lizard basks on a fence © National Trust/Cliff Henry

A common lizard basks on a fence

All six native British reptile species make their homes in Purbeck. If you are quiet and patient enough you may glimpse a sand lizard, common lizard, grass snake, adder, slow worm or even the rare smooth snake. The best time is soon after they emerge from hibernation in the spring, while they are still sluggish and relatively slow moving. Keep a sharp eye out in sheltered sunny spots.