the Isle of Purbeck contains some of Dorset's most iconic landscapes and historic sights. On the coast Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and the chalk cliffs around the Studland peninsula are some of Dorset's most photographed and certainly the most stunning. Inland there's the stunning hilltop castle at Corfe Castle, believed to date back to 6000 BC and the scene of turbulent historic events. Historic market towns and thatched cottage villages pepper the countryside and you'll find the main Purbeck Information & Heritage Centre in Wareham.
Purbeck is an excellent place for coastal and countryside walks, bird and wildlife watching. A vast area of land on Purbeck is covered by National Nature Reserves containing the country's most extensive areas of heathland, home to rare native wildlife.
The Isle of Purbeck has long been a popular destination if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy Dorset's unspoilt countryside. The rolling chalk hills of the Purbeck Downs are criss-crossed with footpaths and bridleways taking you past beautiful flower rich meadows, ancient woodlands and heath. There are several waymarked walking routes including the Purbeck Way - check the links right for downloadable leaflets. If you want to cycle round there are circular cycling routes and you can download leaflets detailing these from the link right.
For stunning views take the road from Stoborough towards West Lulworth. This will take through beautiful wooded countryside up on the hills to a viewpoint (with parking) for panoramic views across Purbeck and the rest of Dorset to the north. Lulworth Ranges operate up here so the road further west to West Lulworth can sometimes be closed, but it's well worth the trip just for the views.
Wareham is effectively the capital of the Isle of Purbeck so it's the logical place for the Tourist Information Centre for Purbeck. Down near the River Frome on South Street in Wareham is where you'll find the informative Purbeck Information and Heritage Centre. It's well worth a visit if you're staying in the area as you'll find a whole host of information on Wareham and the surrounding Purbeck countryside as well as information on wildlife, history and places to visit.
Purbeck Information and Heritage Centre, South Street, Wareham, BH20 4LU. Tel: 01929 552740. Fax: 01929 554491. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enid Blyton set many of her books in Dorset. She often holidayed in Purbeck with her second husband. They were known to stay at several hotels in Swanage and drew inspiration from some of Dorset's most well known surroundings.
Kirrin Castle in the Famous Five Books was inspired by Corfe Castle and Whispering Island is based on Brownsea Island and is also referred to as Keep Away Island in the Famous Five books - a reflection of its previous owner's attitude to visitors!
Enid Blyton was known to enjoy visitor attractions such as taking the steam train from Swanage to Corfe Castle and swimming around Swanage Pier.
The Ginger Pop shop in Corfe Castle stocks Blyton books and tapes and has produced a handy leaflet and map showing you the Blyton-related sights in Purbeck. Click the link right for more information.
In 1950 Enid Blyton's husband, Kenneth Waters, bought the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club. While holidaying here they were both known to play almost every day.
Under their management it was extended to 27 holes, including a 9 hole course, Dene, and an 18 hole championship course, Purbeck.
Today the course is a beautiful heathland course frequently ranked among the top 100 courses in the UK. From the road leading down to the club are some fantastic views across the heathland to Poole Harbour.
Visitors are welcomed to the Golf Club and either course is bound to suit golfers of all abilities. Check the link right for more information. Isle of Purbeck Golf Club, 6 Studland, Dorset BH19 3AB. Tel (shop): 01929 450354. Tel (office): 01929 450361. Fax: 01929 450501. Email: email@example.com
The Dorset coast around Studland is magnificent. The steeply cut chalk rocks have left bays and interesting stacks only accessible by coastal walks. The three mile long beach sweeps in an arc of fine white sand backed by sand dunes and heathland - nationally important wildlife sites. Along this stretch of coast is where you'll find Dorset's only designated naturist beach.
It's a quick ferry ride over to the Studland peninsula from Sanbanks in Poole or you can take the B-road from Swanage. All around Studland is magnificent unspoilt scenery and nature reserves, excellent for birdwatching and walking.
The Dorset Heaths National Nature Reserve which contains Stoborough Heath and Hartland Moor to the south of Wareham along with the Studland and Godlingston Heath all around Studland itself are some of the most extensive heathlands in the country.
The Dorset Heaths are internationally important and are home to some of Britain's rarest wildlife including sand lizards, adders, grass snakes, common lizards, slow worms, smooth snakes, Dartford warblers, nightjars as well as all the specialist plant species of heathlands.
Further north west of Studland is Arne Reedbeds National Nature Reserve. This is an excellent birdwatching reserve, largely managed by the RSPB.
Here you're likely to spot spot nightjars, Dartford warblers, avocets and hen harriers. The local Natural England office and the RSPB run regular guided walks in these areas so check the links right for up-to-date information and access information for the reserves.