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Dorset Walk
Studland and Old Harry Rocks from Sheel Bay

County/Area - Dorset

Author - Pia Barratt

Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km    Ascent - 250 feet / 76 metres

Time - 4 hours 30 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL15Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL15Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 195Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 195Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Studland and Old Harry Rocks from Sheel Bay
Click image to visit gallery of 2 images.

The Jurassic Coast stretches from Old Harry Rock, included in this walk, west to Orcombe Point near Exmouth a distance of some 95miles. Following the coast is the South West Coast Path which starts, or finishes depending on your view, at Poole Harbour and continues round the English Coast to Minehead in Somerset. This walk enjoys both and offers a pleasant walk along the seaside with views inland to rural Dorset and Poole Harbour.

The walk starts at the car park (grid ref SZ035862) by the roundabout on the B3351 that leads to the ferry across Poole Harbour to Sandbanks. After parking it is suggested you walk along the road to the ferry so that you can say you have actually started from the official beginning of the South West Coast Path. So, with the sea on your left, walk along the beach of Shell Bay. Continue along the beach passing into Studland Bay. Please note that this takes walkers through a nudist beach.

From Studland Beach, continue following the South west Coast Path up to Studland Village where refreshment may be taken at the Banks Arms pub. This pub is cosy and well decorated inside and has a large field/pub garden overlooking the sea and cliffs where lunch is served in good weather. The path continues up a gradual gradient to the cliff edge. Heading west you get a fine view down on Studland Bay and east along the coast into Hampshire.

Once on the cliff top path, you have excellent seascapes to the left with a pleasant rural outlook to you right with rolling downland. Quite soon you reach The Foreland (or Handfast Point) from where you get a bird's eye view of Old Harry Rock. Turning the corner the view includes the coast to Swanage and beyond. If you are feeling energetic the path may be followed from here to Swanage and beyond, past the crumbling stacks and archways that line this past of the coast. To return to the start simply retrace your steps.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1634 Old Harry & Ballard Down from Studland easy/mod5.3 miles
Walk 3396 Agglestone & Old Harry Rocks from Studlandeasy/mod6.4 miles
Walk 3286 Dancing Ledge & Durlston Head from Langton Matraverseasy/mod7.0 miles
Walk 2579 Purbeck Coast from Swanagemoderate10.0 miles
Walk 2925 St Aldhelm's Head near Worth Matravers easy4.1 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

South West Coast Path Map Booklet - Plymouth to Poole

South West Coast Path Map Booklet - Plymouth to PooleMap of part of the southern section of the 630 mile (1014km) South West Coast Path National Trail. Covers the trail from Plymouth to Poole along the coastline of Devon and Dorset. This convenient and compact booklet of Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps shows the route, providing all of the mapping you need to walk the trail in either direction.
More information

The South West Coast Path

The South West Coast PathGuidebook to walking the entire South West Coast Path National Trail. The route runs for 630 miles from Minehead to Poole along the north Devon, Cornish, south Devon and Dorset coastline. Divided into 45 stages, this long-distance coastal trek could be completed within 4 weeks, or walked in sections. Guide includes maps and essential information.
More information

Outdoor Photography

Outdoor PhotographyThis practical handbook covers digital outdoor photography and the whole range of outdoor activities including walking, running, cycling, water sports (in and on the water), as participant or spectator. Covers basic concepts, equipment and processing and optimising your images back at base.
More information

Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Walking in Dorset

Dorset is a beautiful county for walking with a varied landscape including chalk downs, limestone ridges, low-lying valleys and a glorious coastline. Predominantly rural in character the walking offers wonderful views and pretty villages. Much of the coast is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site due to its geological significance, including Lulworth Cove, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door.

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Millbrook Guesthouse
4.6 miles / 7.4 km away
Cove House
Lulworth Cove
13.6 miles / 21.8 km away
La Fosse at Cranborne
17.0 miles / 27.2 km away
Rockstone Cottage
18.5 miles / 29.5 km away
Kelston Guest House
22.5 miles / 35.9 km away

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