Purbeck Hills Walk
August and early September provided the ideal opportunity to walk the full length of the Purbeck hilltop ridge. The last mile or so of the western section immediately prior to Corfe Castle now has a permissive path along the ridgetop. Until a few years ago it wasn’t officially accessible. And for the duration of the school summer holidays, the MoD range walks are open. This is essential for the first few miles of the walk.
It’s convenient to split the walk into two. The entire length worked out at 21 miles, rather too far for us oldies to attempt it in a single day, considering the number of climbs and descents. The village of Corfe Castle provides an ideal split point, with good bus services to Swanage, Poole and Wareham.
We found the first section, 11.4 miles, taxing. You simply can’t avoid the notorious Bindon Hill, although it’s not too bad if you start the walk from Lulworth village rather than down at the cove. We were already a bit leg-weary when we reached Arish Mell, the official start of the hills! Then it’s up to Flower’s Barrow, from where you remain on the ridge top as far as Corfe. There was a lovely summertime pop-up cafe about two-thirds of the way along, ideal for a mid-afternoon cuppa. We were so thankful.
We completed the second section, a little shorter at 9.6 miles, the following weekend. No Bindon Hill, so a little less strenuous. Gorgeous views of the coast, with its chalk cliffs and sea-stacks beyond Ballard Down. It’s another mile or so round to Studland village and the Bankes Arms pub, where we enjoyed a celebratory beer each.