Walk 1613 - printer friendly version
Studland and Old Harry Rocks from Sheel Bay Walk
Author - Pia Barratt
Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km
Ascent - 250 feet / 76 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SZ035862
Lat 50.675452 + Long -1.9518299
Postcode BH19 3BA (approx. location only)
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.