The Isle of Purbeck is a peninsula in Dorset that is bordered by water on three sides. It is beautiful area of the country with a traditional seaside town, dramatic coastline, rare heathland, rolling hills and an ancient castle that lies in ruins.
We park at the Corfe Castle National Trust car park and it is a short walk through the village to the train station. Our plan is to take a steam train ride from Corfe Castle to Swanage and from there we will commence our Swanage to Corfe Castle dog walk.
The station was almost demolished in the 1970’s but has since been restored to display period signs and memorabilia linked to the long history of railways in Purbeck and Dorset.
This is Cleo’s first time on a train and she is highly interested in everything going on around her. The journey is around 20 minutes through the Dorset countryside to Swanage.
After arriving in the seaside town of Swanage, we stop off at Love Cake café for a drink. They are dog friendly and Cleo has some water provided at the door and we find a spot inside.
We leave the café and take a stroll round the town and onto the seafront. There is plenty going on, with amusement arcades, ice cream outlets and a lovely beach. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the beach itself during the summer so we begin our walk up to Ballard Down on the Purbeck Hills.
Leaving the residential area, we join the cliff path up to Ballard Down. It’s quite steep and there are good views of Swanage.
We reach the Ballard Down open ridge. Turning right goes to Old Harry but we turn left to follow the Purbeck Way to Corfe Castle. From here there are good views on the other side of the ridge towards Poole Harbour and Studland.
The Purbeck Way
The ridge walk path takes us straight ahead until we reach an obelisk. Here we turn left towards Ulwell and climb down approximately 210 steps and then carefully cross the road and go through a kissing gate and follow the sign to Corfe Castle.
Ridge walk to Corfe Castle
From Ulwell it is pretty much straight ahead all the way to Corfe Castle. There are a couple of uphill sections but the route is a mostly flat chalk and grass path. Although there are some sections with cows grazing, the path is long and open so Cleo can come off the lead for most of the ridge walk.
It’s a very peaceful route with some great views of the Dorset countryside. We only encounter a handful of other walkers and Cleo plays with a couple of dogs along the way.
Now Corfe Castle is visible in the distance. We continue to follow the path towards the castle and start desending down to the village.
Corfe Castle is a picturesque village with a range of independent shops, pubs, tea houses, hotels, artist studios and the magnificent imposing castle.
This was a fantastic walk and Cleo loved all the different experiences packed into one walk. Remember to take plenty of water for your dog because when you leave Swanage there will not be another chance to top up until you reach Corfe Castle. Check out our walking route map below.