swanage to south haven point

south west coast path

1st october 2013


The weather forecast for today looks to be a bit on the gloomy side again. This turns out to be true but with the wind blowing, doesn't feel as warm as promised.

weather forecast.jpg

Today's walk, at 7.5 miles (according to Paddy Dillon's South West Coast Path book), is the shortest walk on the South West Coast Path and, unless I dawdle, shouldn't take me longer than 2-3 hours. I start off by walking along the High Street and then the promenade to leave Swanage passing the Ship Inn, the White Swan and the Red Lion pubs.


beach huts

I walk along the beach until I reach a beach cafe below The Grand Hotel where I climb some stairs to reach the cliff top. I'm then forced to follow a series of roads to reach Ballard private estate. From here I reach another sandy beach before climbing up to the clifftop and head across Ballard Down to reach Ballard Point.

a misty ballard down

old harry rocks

Below can be seen loads of pinnacles and stacks including Old Harry Rocks. These are all that remain of what was once a large stretch of chalk between Purbeck and the Isle of Wight.

I head on around Handfast Point and onwards towards Studland, dropping down on to South Beach. Somewhere just offshore can be found seahorses. Despite this, Studland Bay was dropped as one of the potential Marine Conservation Zones recently.

south beach

The route out of South Beach seems to be closed because of a landslip so I head inland to Studland, passing the Bankes Arms Country Inn and the Isle of Purbeck Brewery (more use of Flash on their website I'm afraid) from which emanates a lovely smell of beer. I pass the Manor House Hotel, which is currently closed for refurbishment, to reach Middle Beach.

bankes arms country inn

isle of purbeck brewery

From here it's a two mile stroll along the beach to reach South Haven Point.

WARNING - part of the beach is given over as a naturist beach. It was blowing a gale and felt pretty cold so there weren't many hardy souls out today!

naturists warning

middle beach

And that's it really! I remove my boots and socks and paddle my way along the beach to reach the end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point. Well, in my dreams! I suspect the water was pretty cold today. At South Haven Point I take time to photograph the sculpture marking the end of the path.

south haven point



Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • lots of sea weed
  • sea horses
  • razor clams
  • swallows
  • cormorants
  • seagulls
  • sweet chestnuts
  • oaks



The podcast of today's walk is now available.  You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

podcast logo small.png



According to my phone I've walked 9.5 miles today which amounts to 20459 steps. The weather has been excellent for walking if a little on the dull side when it comes to views. 7 out of 10.

7 out of 10.png

View swanage to south haven point in a larger map