Walk 1634 - printer friendly version
Old Harry & Ballard Down from Studland Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.3 miles / 8.6 km
Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SZ037825
Lat 50.6421780 + Long -1.9490353
Postcode BH19 3AU (approx. location only)
The Jurassic Coast is a popular place to walk with many outstanding coastal features. This short walk using a section of the South West Coast Path starts from the village of Studland and takes you onto the high cliffs offering some spectacular views. There is a pay and display car park in the village (grid ref. SZ037825) although do remember that at busy times of the year spaces may be at a premium.
Exit the car park and turn right along Manor Road. Where this road swings right take the signed South West Coast Path on your left. This leads you almost immediately onto the coast with views on your left across the bay to Bournemouth. The route is never in doubt as you head towards 'Old Harry', the first of the many features encountered on this walk. The path swings right and almost immediately there is a spot where you can get a wonderful view of 'Old Harry'.
Continue along the coast path gradually ascending past the 'Pinnacles' towards Ballard Point. Keep the path closest to the clifftop here ignoring the Purbeck Way which branches off to the right. From Ballard Point the views open up with Swanage Bay some 400 feet below you to the south. There is a trig point marking the highest point. Like most popular areas, there are many paths so precise directions are impossible. However after enjoying the view you need make for the Ballard Down ridge so head uphill and follow the path along the highest point. This leads west across Ballard Down and it is worth following the path as far as the Obelisk (grid ref. SZ022813) from where an extensive panorama across the Dorset countryside can be enjoyed.
Retrace your steps across the Down as far as the stone seat (grid ref. SZ033812) on Studland Hill, which you should have passed walking out to the obelisk. Turn left here following the bridleway downhill passing the Glebeland Estate on your left. Reaching Scholl Lane, go half right along Church Lane towards the church. Just after the church take the path on your right that leads back to the car park.