South Purbeck cliffs walk
Langton Matravers, Dorset BH19 3HGRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A six mile walk taking in sea views, former quarries and grassland rich in wildlife. Opportunities for refreshment at Worth Matravers Tea and Supper Room or the Square and Compass pub.
- Bus stop
Start: Spyway car park, grid ref 998783
From the car park, follow the path south away from the village. Pass Spyway Barn where you will find informative displays on the local area. Pass through a gateway, and then a kissing gate next to a stone plaque showing a cow. Turn right, keeping the wall to your right. Pass through a gateway, then at a kissing gate turn left down the track.
At the end of the track, follow the grassy path down to the bottom of the hill. Turn right to follow the South West Coast Path. Pause to admire the views of Dancing Ledge to the east and Portland to the west. Keeping the sea on your left, follow the coast path, passing through three gates. Follow the path that heads inland to go round Seacombe Ledge.
Sea quarries like Dancing Ledge, Seacombe and Winspit once played a major role in the Purbeck stone industry. Stone quarried from the cliffs was loaded directly onto ships for transport all over Britain. Purbeck stone is used in Corfe Castle, as well as many famous buildings such as Westminster Abbey.
Turn left through a gate and up the steps, signposted ‘Winspit’. At the top of the hill pass through a gate, turn left and follow the coast path, passing through two gates. Go through the next kissing gate, and go down some steep steps.
The sea is ever changing the cliffs of south Purbeck, and they provide an ideal vantage point from which to gaze out. To the west is the Isle of Portland which lies west of Weymouth. Like Purbeck itself Portland is not really an island but is connected to the mainland, and is known worldwide for the quality of its stone. To the south fishing boats and yachts follow the rugged coastline and further out larger vessels may be glimpsed.
At the T-junction, turn right and walk inland following signs for Worth Matravers. At the water treatment plant, turn right up the path. Pass through a gate, and follow the path uphill to the village. Pass through another gate and head into the village.
Sheep and cattle graze the limestone grassland and help maintain its distinctive character. Look out for new lambs in early spring.
Turn right past the duck pond then take the right hand fork in the road with the Square and Compass pub on your left and follow the road out of the village. Take the second footpath on your right, opposite a barn and signposted to Swanage.
Follow the footpath across the field, pass through two gates across a track, and continue across the next field. Pass through another gate and cross the next field, looking out for a finger sign on the far wall. Pass through another gate and follow the Priest's Way, signposted for Langton Matravers. Follow the track straight ahead, passing several paths and tracks, and going through a gate. After passing through another gate, you will reach the crossroads at Spyway. Turn left to return to the car park.
The prized stone beneath your feet defines the landscape of south Purbeck in every way. Dry stone walls crisscross limestone grasslands dotted with historic quarries.
End: Spyway car park, grid ref 998783
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer OL 15
Uneven and steep terrain with stiles and gates. Take care near cliff edges. Sturdy shoes or boots are advised. Dogs welcome but please keep under close control when livestock grazing in grassland areas.
- How to get here:
By foot: South West Coast Path joins walk at Dancing Ledge
By bus: Wilts and Dorset 40, Poole to Wareham and Swanage. Alight at Langton Matravers and follow signs to Langton House.
By train: Swanage, 2 miles (3.2km)
By car: A351 to Langton Matravers then B3069. Follow signs to Langton House and continue along this single track road to the right and Spyway car park
- Parking at Spyway car park.
- Food and drink at Worth Matravers.
- Toilets at Worth Matravers.
- Telephone: 01929 450002
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/purbeck-countryside/