Durlston Country Park
This circular walk takes you around the beautiful Durlston Country Park, near Swanage, Dorset. The walk begins at the car park and takes you past Durlston Castle to the coast at Durlston Head. Here you join the South West Coast Path for a coastal section to Anvil Point Lighthouse via Tilly Whim Caves. You'll also pass the Great Globe - one of the largest stone spheres in the world.
From the lighthouse you head inland to the Townsend Nature Reserve where you will find a variety of wildlife including 33 species of breeding butterfly, over 250 species of bird recorded, 500 wildflowers, 500 moths. The walk then returns to the car park and the finish point.
With 280 acres of countryside, dramatic sea cliffs and a fantastic and informative visitor centre, Durlston is well worth exploring.
PostcodeBH19 2JL - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
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Durlston Country Park Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Durlston Country Park Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Durlston Country Park OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Durlston Country Park Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Durlston Castle has good facilities with toilets, a shop and nice cafe. There's a lovely outdoor seating area here with fine views of the sea. It's the perfect place to relax after your walk. In the basement area of the castle they also have interesting exhibitions as well.
The park is a great place for a dog walk and you will probably see other owners on your outing. It is advised that you keep them on a lead or under close control though please. There are usually water bowls on the terrace outside the castle as well.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The park is located on the South West Coast Path so you could extend your walk by picking up the trail and heading west to Dancing Ledge. Dancing Ledge is so called because when the waves wash over the surface of the rocks it appears as the the ledge is 'dancing'. It's a very pretty spot with lovely views down the coast and the option of continuing to Seacombe Cliff and the nearby village of Worth Matravers.
Head north from the castle and the path will take you down a hill into Swanage. Here you could enjoy a stroll along the pier where there is a good museum detailing the interesting history of the town.
At the other end of the town there's the excellent Swanage Railway. This heritage railway hs some lovely old steam trains that you can catch to the historic ruins of Corfe Castle.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Dorset Walks page.