3.6 of 5 (43 votes)

Around the Isle of Purbeck - Swanage to Worth Matravers

A moderate walk (coast) in Dorset, England, about 19.20km (11.93 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 6:00h. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 149m (488ft)
Descent 148m (485ft)
Max. Elevation 140m (459ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 297m (973ft)
Start & End
Swanage town centre
Distance 19.20km
Duration ~6:00h
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 02 May 2010
There's lots to enjoy on the Isle of Purbeck (which is actually a peninsular) and this walk takes you round some of the highlights. Starting in Swanage, you will first enjoy the town's lively seafront before heading onto the cliffs around Durlstin Head. There's some great coastal scenery along to St Alban's head, before you head up to Worth Matravers and its well-loved pub, the Square and Compass. It's then back to Swanage via farm footpaths.

Walk Functions


Nearby Walks

Townsend nature reserve to Swanage via Durlston

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A leisurely, circular walk (coast) starting in Dorset, England, about 2.70km (1.68 mi) long, duration: ~0:45h.

Dulston Head to Worth Matravers & Return

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, circular walk (coast) starting in Dorset, England, about 13.80km (8.57 mi) long, duration: ~4:15h.

Purbeck Coast

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (coast) starting in Dorset, England, about 12.10km (7.52 mi) long, duration: ~3:45h.

Walk Map

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OS Grid SZ030793
Take the bus to Swanage town centre. The beach is packed in summer, with all the usual trimmings. But this is not just a summer walk; the coastline is even more dramatic in the winter months. Head southwards through the town, past the small pier, and the path starts near the end of the town.
OS Grid SZ036784
The path climbs up to Peveril Point, a headland just outside Swanage. You then pass through some woods before reaching Durlston Head.
About 1.08 km (~0.67 miles) from
OS Grid SZ035772
This is the start of the Durlston Country Park. There is a visitor centre with lots of information about the area. Carry on heading west along the coastline.
About 1.18 km (~0.73 miles) from
OS Grid SZ011766
This is perhaps the finest section of the walk - open clifftop views as you head towards St Alban's Head. Look out for Dancing Ledge - two ledges sticking out into the sea, which are the remains of an old quarry.
About 2.45 km (~1.52 miles) from
OS Grid SY964752
The path reaches another headland, St Alban's Head (or St Aldhem). Have a quick look at the tiny chapel, before descending down the steep ground of Emmetts Hill.
About 4.87 km (~3.03 miles) from
OS Grid SY958768
The walk continues to Chapman's Pool, a small cove cut into the land. Follow the path along West Hill, and follow the track into Worth Matravers.
About 1.72 km (~1.07 miles) from
OS Grid SY969773
The main attraction in this little village is it's famous pub, The Square and Compass. Great beer and cider are served through a small hatch, tasty food is available, and there are great views while you sup away - if you can find an empty spot! More at http://squareandcompasspub.co.uk
About 1.27 km (~0.79 miles) from
OS Grid SY982779
From Worth Matravers, you can take the Priest's Way back to Swanage. This was a path used by a priest to get from his home in Swanage to his church in Worth Matravers. Whether he stopped off in the Square and Compass each time is unknown.
About 1.42 km (~0.88 miles) from
OS Grid SZ011785
The paths take you past Langton Matravers, which has a good campsite if you are staying overnight. Alternatively, continue along the road back into Swanage.
About 2.98 km (~1.85 miles) from
OS Grid SZ029791
Back again, and there is plenty to do in Swanage (not least lying on the beach eating ice cream). Buses leave the town to many nearby destinations, including Wareham, which is the nearest train station.
About 1.85 km (~1.15 miles) from

4 comments... join the discussion!

17 Jan 2015

Hello Len, the South West Coast Path runs all along the coast from Swanage to Tyneham. The one thing to consider is how to get back to Swanage. You could walk, but there are few buses near Tyneham. The best option is probably to walk back to Corfe and get a bus (or the railway) back to Swanage. That's a long day, though!

Len Lucas
13 Jan 2015

My wife and I will visit Swanage in March and would like to walk from Swanage to the old village of Tyneham, which I believe is open to the public at the weekend at this time of year. Do you know if there is a coastal path we could take, and how many miles the round trip would be? Thank you, Len

29 Jan 2014
Priest's Way

Good suggestion! Have updated the route.

Sue Leppington
29 Jan 2014
Circular Walk Swanage To Worth Matravers

Return from Worth Matravers why not return to Swanage by the Priest's Trail?

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