This circular walk takes you around the Dorset village of Corfe Castle, visiting Corfe Common and passing the fascinating ruins of the 11th century ruined castle.
You can park at the car park off West Street before heading south to the common along public footpaths. Corfe Common is Dorset's largest area of common land and a lovely place for a walk. It's particularly lovely in the summer months when there are various wildflowers such as the rare wild chamomile. The bright yellow blossom of gorse is also a feature of this pretty area. Look out for wildlife including nightjar, Dartford warbler, butterflies and various reptiles.
On the common you can also climb to an elevated ridge for fabulous views towards the castle. The ridge reaches a height of about 200ft so it's a great spot to take some photos of the castle and the surrounding Purbeck countryside. On the ridge you will also find a series of bumps which are in fact 4,000 year old Bronze Age burial mounds.
After taking in the views you descend on the Purbeck Way back to the village. You'll pass the pretty Church of St. Edward which dates from the 12th century. It is well worth exploring with a 15th century font made of Purbeck marble, a fine Victorian interior and a fascinating 15th century reredos (a screen that would have been in front of the chancel) with carvings in white marble.
After passing through the town the trail then passes below the castle before climbing the hills just to the west of the site. From here there are more splendid views of the area.
You can also explore the castle ruins which are owned by the National Trust. The castle has a fascinating history being partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. There is a fee for this however.
After your walk you can enjoy refreshments in the village with lots of tea rooms and pubs to choose from.
To extend your walking in the area you can pick up the Purbeck Way long distance trail. If you head north west along the trail you will soon come to the wonderful Blue Pool. Here you will find a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by peaceful woodland trails.
Heading east along the trail will take you into the splendid seaside town of Swanage. If you are staying in Swanage you could walk to the castle from there. It's a great walk with wonderful views over Poole Harbour and Studland.
If you head south along the Purbeck Way you can visit the wonderful coastal viewpoint at St Aldhelm's Head and the 13th century St Aldhelm's Chapel. This is located near the pretty village of Worth Matravers with it's picture postcard village cottages and pretty village pond.
Another option is to follow the The Hardy Way to the marine wildlife reserve at Kimmeridge Bay.
Corfe Castle PostcodeBH20 5EZ - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
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