The Isle of Purbeck

The wealth of geology and history at your door step.

Purbeck is known for its incredible world hetitage jurassic coastline from Dudle Door, to Old harry, famous beaches such as sandbanks and Kimmeridge and Lulworth Cove are all nearby and not forgetting Corfe Castle. Stay at The Priory in Wareham, Dorset, and you’ll find yourself on the doorstep of stunning Studland Bay and Lulworth Cove, the countryside of Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton, and the shores of Sandbanks and Poole Harbour.

The stunning landscape images that follow showcase the natural beauty of our local area, and were photographed by award-winning, Dorset based Photographer Andy Farrer. Andy’s sublime talent at capturing such amazing shots allows us a privileged eye on a world we might otherwise never witness. We hope you will be inspired to visit some of these places, and others too, which can be found on Andy’s website at www.andyfarrer.co.uk


Durdle Door

Situated on the dramatic World Heritage Jurassic Coast, with direct access to the South West Coast Path, Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch which sits alongside another geological masterpiece, Lulworth Cove. Due to the contrasting hardnesses of the rocks, together with the local patterns of faults and folds, the arch has formed where bands of rock run parallel to the shoreline.

Old Harry

The Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point. They mark the (easterly) start of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The chalk of Old Harry Rocks used to be part of a long stretch of chalk between Purbeck and the Isle of Wight, but remained as a headland after large parts of this seam were eroded away.

Corfe Castle

The village of Corfe Castle, standing at the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck, is dominated by the dramatic ruined castle, a visitor’s delight at any time of year. Built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates back to the 11th century and stands on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills.

Arne Path

Arne is the RSPB’s flagship heathland. There is a lot to see at any time of year, with beautiful views across Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills. A bridleway through the site takes you past the RSPB’s Arne farm, through oak woodland, heathland and down onto the small beach at the edge of Poole Harbour.

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay lies within the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and boasts the best rock pooling and safest snorkelling site in Dorset. The rocks at Kimmeridge Bay were once the floor of a deep, tropical sea rich in pre-historic life.  They formed in the Jurassic period, 155 million years ago. Walk up to Clavell Tower for spectacular views over the bay..

Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island, the birthplace of Guiding and Scouting, is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour. The first records of inhabitants occurred in the 9th century, when a small chapel and hermitage were built by monks.Today, areas of woodland and heath, with a wide variety of wildlife, are open to the public.

Swanage Beach

The beautiful curve of Swange Bay is home to Swanage beach, a gently sloping golden sand beach which is sheltered and generally calm. The southern half of this beach frontage includes Swanage Pier, and the small town of Swanage; a popular recreational area for beach users, diving, fishing and sailing. Moving north beyond the groynes the coast is undeveloped and undefended, characterised by actively eroding vegetated chalk sea cliffs.

Wareham

The small town of Wareham lies on the River Frome with a history dating back nearly 2000 years. It flourished in Saxon times as a strategic stronghold for King Alfred the Great. Today, its localise quayside, facing towpath, and open countryside, together with the surrounding Saxon wall mounds, it still offers visitors a feel of the past.

Stairhole

Stair Hole lies just to the west of Lulworth Cove and is one of the best places to really understand how erosion is shaping the coast. Just behind the eroding Portland Stone, Stair Hole is considered an embryonic cove, and will reveal how Lulworth Cove probably looked 10,000 years ago; eventually, it will join up with Lulworth Cove. By standing on the viewpoint, classic stages of erosion can easily be seen including; caves, blow-holes, arches, stacks and stumps.