1: Swanage to Sandbanks

7 miles

This seven final miles of the Dorset Coast Path starts in the Isle of Purbeck’s own tiny seaside resort of Swanage. The path makes a slow climb up to Ballard Down where on clear days there is a view of almost the entire Bournemouth Coast Path. After this preview, the way is through Studland village and along Studland Bay beach to Poole Harbour’s entrance. American author Bill Bryson describes this route, mainly on National Trust land, as “the most beautiful place in the UK” and travel writer Paul Gogarty, writing about Studland Bay, said “It’s hard to believe such places still exist in England; that miles of wilderness and open sky aren’t mere childhood memories or adult fantasies”. It is also the area which inspired Enid Blyton when writing her Famous Five stories.

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