Walk - Worth Matravers to South Haven Point

14.0 miles (22.6 km)

Worth Matravers (nr. Chapmans Pool) South Haven Point

Moderate - Moderate

Leave the pretty village of Worth Matravers and the breathtaking views from St Aldhelm’s Head to set off along the final stretch of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, and what is actually the last leg of the 630 mile South West Coast Path. High, level cliff walking between St Aldhelm’s Head and Durlston Head is followed by fairly easy walking along the promenade of the seaside town of Swanage.

As you walk through open grassland and woodland around Studland, keep a look out for bottlenose dolphins and take time to enjoy the beautiful seasonal wildflowers and butterflies and the spectacular views of the chalk stacks of Old Harry. Three miles of sandy beaches running all the way to South Haven Point offer plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the views across Poole Bay to Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

Note the last ½ mile of beach is popular with naturists. if you wish to avoid seeing naked people, either come in chilly weather, or walk inland and follow the coast road

Just before the ferry to Sandbanks a steel sculpture marks the end of your journey and the end of the South West Coast Path.

The nearest railway station to the end of walk Parkstone, which is on teh mainline to London Waterloo. It is 3.5mile walk or bus ride (no 52) from where you get off the ferry - see Google maps for times and directions.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Chiltern Lodge, Worth Matravers

Chiltern Lodge is a detached house in Dorset's Worth Matravers, ideal for coast walks or lazing in the garden. Relax, rejuvenate and re-capture life in the slow lane. Wifi offered.

The Laurels, Poole

A seaside Victorian family home welcomes you to Poole.

Allnatt Stop and Stay, Swanage

The Chatsworth and The Eversden are a stones throw from Swanage Bay offering Self Catering in Swanage-perfect for discovering the South West Coast Path.

Tom's Field, Langton Matravers

Traditional. rural camping in beautiful Isle of Purbeck. Just 20 mins walk from South West Coast Path and Dancing Ledge.

Knoll House Hotel - LFH

Established 1931, a traditional Dorset hotel with sea views that stretch out over Studland Beach. A family & dog-friendly hotel steeped in history, set in 4 acres. The perfect place to stop for a bite of lunch or relaxing overnight stay.

Alford House B&B

Very friendly B&B situated in a beautiful village. We can pick up/drop off to the path.

Wyke Dorset Cottages, Swanage

Based in Swanage, and with over 75 cottages throughout Dorset in popular locations including Swanage, Beaminster, Studland and Arne. Book online today!

Acorns Guesthouse

We are a friendly, professional business. We offer double/ twin & single occupancy en-suite rooms with high standards of cleanliness & décor throughout. All breakfasts are freshly cooked – special dietary needs catered for by prior arrangement.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Jurassic Coast Walking

We offer bespoke tailored walking holidays for individuals, couples or small groups in Purbeck. Walks can be guided, self-guided or a mixture of both.

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • The high outcrop of St Aldhelm’s Head, also known as St Alban’s Head. The Norman chapel of St Aldhelm is one of the oldest churches in England and was named after the Bishop of Sherbourne who died in 709AD. The chapel was built quite some way from Worth Matravers which suggests that it was also intended to serve as a marker for seafarers. Near here you will also see the contrasting structures of the National Coastguard lookout and a memorial to the radar research which took place on St Aldhelm’s Head during WWII.
  • The beautiful patterns in the fields left by the medieval strip lynchets.
  • Looking out for seabirds: these sheer cliffs are visited by many nesting seabirds, including razorbills, guillemots and puffins and you may also see kittiwakes, cormorants and fulmars.
  • Headbury Quarry: as you peer down you should be able to see a cannon mounted on a stone plinth. This is thought to be from the wreck of the Halsewell, which was on its way to India when it was driven against the rocks in a storm in 1786.
  • Clambering down to Dancing Ledge for a swim. It is unclear exactly where the name came from, however some say the ledge, which was left behind after quarrying, was the size of a dance floor.
  • Anvil Point Lighthouse: completed in 1881, the lighthouse is open for guided tours and can be rented as holiday accommodation. For further details see Trinity House.
  • Just beyond Tilly Whim Caves, look out for the most easterly colony of guillemots on the south coast. Live pictures of the colony can be seen at the Durlston Visitor Centre in spring and summer and at Durlston Country Park.
  • Impressive views of Durlston Castle, which is soon to be home to the Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre. Durlston Country Park is full of banks of glorious flowers during the spring and summer months.
  • The Great Globe: this large sculpture, created by George Burt, illustrates the Victorian view of the world and was made from
    40 tonnes of Portland limestone.
  • The small seaside town of Swanage: the town was once an important quarrying port, as well as a popular destination for tourists, and now continues to attract many visitors. Home to Britain’s oldest diving school, an attractive Victorian Pier, and the Wellington Clock Tower which, up until 1867, stood at the southern end of London Bridge, Swanage makes an interesting place to stop for refreshments.
  • Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks: these striking chalk stacks and natural arches were created by wave erosion and were once part of the chalk ridge which led right out to the Isle of Wight. Keep a look out for nesting seabirds and the beautiful Chalkhill Blue and Adonis Blue butterflies enjoying the chalk-loving plants of Ballard Down. The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site ends just beyond these rocks.
  • Keeping a look out for dolphins.
  • The interesting mix of Norman and Saxon architecture in the church of St Nicholas in Studland village.
  • Studland Heath National Nature Reserve: the heathland behind the 3 miles of golden sandy beaches leading to South Haven Point, is rich with wildlife, including beautiful birds such as nightjars and Dartford Warblers, reptiles and wildflowers. The Smooth Snake and Sand Lizard are two of Britain’s rarest reptiles and they thrive here, along with the poisonous adder. If you don’t want to walk all the way on the beach and would rather avoid the naturist area, you can pick up the National Trust’s Heather Walk through the dunes.
  • Arriving at the steel commemorative sculpture at South Haven Point and, if you originally set off from Minehead, the enormous sense of achievement on completing the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. The sculpture is based on a design by David Mayne, which depicts many features of this fantastic National Trail.

Shorter option

Stop at Swanage (7.5 miles shorter).

Longer option

Turn around and head back towards Minehead, and see what you missed first time around!

Public transport

Regular buses runs between Swanage, Poole and Bournemouth and stops in Studland village and Shell Bay. The ferry from Shell Bay to Sandbanks runs daily throughout the year, leaving at 0710 then 30, 50 and 10 minutes after each hour until 2310. For further details tel: 01929 450203 or see Sandbanks Ferry.

For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

Worth Matravers, Durlston Head, Swanage and Studland.

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