5 Great Walks from our Front Door
With a whacking great ruin of a castle on our doorstep, beautiful rolling countryside all around, and a world famous coastline just down the road, we're perfectly placed for a walking holiday. Here are some of our favourite routes right from our front door.
Corfe Common Circular
Easy Walk - 40 minutes
This nice, gentle stroll takes you through the village square and along West Street, Corfe's historic thoroughfare.
Follow the road up onto the Common itself for stunning views of the castle ruins. Here you can return back to the village square via the Halves; old common land between East and West Street.
Alternatively, turn away from the castle, and climb the hill to the village of Kingston. Here you'll find the Scott Arms, a lovely local pub, serving great food and beer, and offering the best view around from their extensive beer garden.
The Rings Circular
Easy Walk - 2 hours
For a walk that's only a couple of hours long, you get a lot of bang for your buck. You'll get brilliant views of the Castle, Poole Harbour, and surrounding Purbeck hills, from a slightly different perspective, as well as the chance to check out some ancient fortifications used for attacking the Castle, both in the 1,100's and by Parliamentarian forces during the Civil War.
The clearest route instructions can be found on the WalkScene website, where there's also more information about the history of The Rings.
Corfe Castle to Kimmeridge Bay
Moderate Walk - 2.5 hours
Ending at Kimmeridge Bay, part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, and a famous spot for finding fossils, this route will reward you well. Through ancient woodland, past numerous Bronze Age barrows and across Neolithic sites, you're tramping age old ground.
After an initial ascent, the path gently slopes downhill for most of the way to the coast, leaving plenty of energy to pick up a hammer and hunt for your own fossils at the bay. If getting in the water is more your style, it's also a renowned spot for snorkelling.
After working up an appetite, Kimmeridge village has a truly exceptional tea room for a spot of lunch, a Dorset cream tea (jam and then cream!), or some famous local ice-cream.
The Ridge to Swanage
Moderate Walk - 4 hours
To the East of the village is a long ridge which runs all the way down to Swanage. It offers spectacular views of the Isle-of-Purbeck, and over to Poole Harbour.
Once you've reached the summit, it's a fairly relaxed route to the coast, passing views of Old Harry, the Isle of Wight's Needles (on a clear day), and a Victorian obelisk (an ideal picnic spot).
Once in Swanage, treat yourself to an ice-cream on the beach, or perhaps a quick turn on the 2p machines at the amusements, before heading up the high Street to the railway station to hop on the steam train back to Corfe.
The South West Coast Path to Swanage
Challenging Walk - 4.5 hours
This route will take you past some of the Isle-of-Purbeck's most spectacular coastline, including St Aldham's Head, Dancing Ledge and Durlston. It's relatively hilly along the coastline, so definitely worth wearing some proper walking boots, but there's plenty of fish & chip shops waiting in Swanage as a reward for your graft.
If you like a bit of history with your fresh air, there's plenty around this area, which has been inhabited almost since the last ice age. Keep an eye out for Bronze Age barrows sitting atop the hills on your way to the cliff top path, as well as Iron Age earthworks, long abandoned Purbeck Stone quarries, and ancient tracks and paths.
Nature lovers also have plenty to look out for across this part of the Jurassic Coast. Those same abandoned quarries have now been reclaimed by local species, including colonies of endangered bats, whilst at Durlston, visitors to the information centre can use hydrophones to listen in on the dolphins and porpoises under the waves below, and webcams offer live shots of seabirds nesting on the cliffs during Spring.
Literary Travels in Dorset
Dorset is a county full of beautiful countryside, and dramatic coastline. Add into the mix a history of smuggling, the murder of an Anglo-Saxon king, and Civil War battles, and you can see why our county has inspired some of Britain's literary greats.
Follow in their footsteps and see why they loved it so much.
Look no further than our village for adventure (and lashings of ginger beer!), as Corfe Castle is believed to be the inspiration for Kirrin Island from the Famous Five series. Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour is likewise the Whispering Island, while PC Plod from Noddy was reputedly based on the local bobby stationed in Studland at the time.
You can follow an Enid Blyton trail around the Isle of Purbeck, or simply make like the five adventurers themselves by filling your pockets with penny sweets, ginger beer and slightly squashed sandwiches to fuel your own adventure!
"I don't know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors" Five Go Off in a Caravan
* Hunting out geocaching points makes an ideal adventure.
* Picnic ingredients:
• Sandwiches from Dragons Bakery
• Penny Sweets from the Sweet Shop
• Ginger Beer from Corfe Castle Village Store
In Persuasion, Jane Austen based perhaps the most dramatic scene from any of her novels in Lyme Regis, and she is known to have visited the town twice during her lifetime. She stayed in the fashionable seaside resort during the summer of 1807, before decamping along the coast to Weymouth.
In Persuasion, Austen describes the "remarkable situation of the town, the principle street almost hurrying into the water, the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new improvements, with the very beautiful cliffs stretching East of the town...and a very strange stranger it must be who does not see the charms in the immediate environs of Lyme".
A visitor today, will find all of this much the same, and will be able to hunt down the plaque on Broad Street, marking the location of a boarding house the Austen family are likely to have stayed in.
*Take a turn about the town out of season, in the quieter months, and enjoy the drama of waves crashing over the Cobb, whilst walking along the seashore. Then bundle into one of the teashops or cafes, shedding layers and steaming up the windows, before tucking into mugs of hot tea and scones.
Dorset's iconic literary export spent most of his life living around the county town of Dorchester (renamed as Casterbridge in some of his writings). Semi-fictionalised as Wessex, Hardy's most famous novels are steeped in the Dorset landscape, whilst his themes were often inspired by the area's agricultural heritage.
His description of his local countryside as "for the most part untrodden as yet by tourist or landscape painter", certainly still feels true.
A wander around Dorchester will reveal the house of the Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy's study in the county museum, and a statue of the writer himself.
*The National Trust now preserves the house of Hardy's birth, as well as the villa he later designed and built. Both are lovely and perfectly illustrate why Hardy was inspired by his local countryside.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007, McEwan's short novel, On Chesil Beach, is situated at the famous 17 mile long sandbar. Windblown and exposed, it perfectly reflects the sense of unease and tension pervading the novel.
With the release of a On Chesil Beach, due summer 2018, visit now to experience its beautiful isolation before it gets too busy!
Mortons House Hotel is a 16th century Grade 2 Elizabethan manor house hotel and restaurant, located in the heart of Corfe Castle, ideally situated to explore the beautiful nearby Dorset coastline. About Mortons House
Exceptional food, and a warm welcome await.