The Isle of Purbeck is an excellent place for cycling, either on road or off-road for the people who like to get muddy! The area has everything from quiet winding country lanes to extreme off-road downhill's and deep mud in the winter months.
The best way to explore the area is to buy an ordinance survey map of the area, OS Outdoor Leisure 15, which you can obtain from most good outdoor shops. Try some of these suggested routes from Virtual Swanage http://www.virtual-swanage.co.uk/page.aspx?p=cycling
Cycle Hire is available at http://www.purbeckcyclehire.co.uk/ from 2 sites: Wareham and Norden. Visit the website or contact them on 01929 556601.
Cycling fanatics might enjoy a visit to Charlie the BikeMonger for all of their maintenance, advice and purchasing needs. Visit the website for more information http://www.charliethebikemonger.com.
For advice on local cycle routes for all ages and abilities, try the Purbeck District Council website http://www.dorsetforyou.com/396552.
There are many walks, particularly coastal (recently dedicated a World Heritage Site - the Jurassic Coast), in the Isle of Purbeck and the following are but a small selection. Those considered "EASY" are relatively flat and not too long, those "MEDIUM" will include some ups and downs and generally be rather longer, those considered "ADVANCED" will involve several climbs and descents and be several miles in duration. We have found, when recommending walks in the past, opinions vary widely on what is easy or not but we hope you will find the information a reasonable guide. Where indicated a short car or bus ride is required but none involve a car trip of more than 15 minutes.
A little further in a southerly direction, mostly uphill, will take you to Durlston Country Park. The walk along the road is rather easier than the cliff-side walk due to land falls. Durlston Park has an information centre, 424443, open daily from 10am - 5pm. Several walks from there westwards are well marked and require very little further information, the walks along the top are less strenuous than those which take in the Coastal Path. Durlston Castle has been bought by Dorset County Council and houses a Visitors centre for the World Heritage Coast.
A pleasant stroll, ideal for an evening on relatively flat ground, can be made out to Old Harry Rocks from Studland. Take the car to Studland, turn right in the village centre, and park in the N.T. car park adjacent to the Bankes Arms. Walk past the pub down the hill and turn left by the side of the public toilets, the path will then take you out to the Rocks with splendid views over Studland bay toward Poole and Bournemouth. On your return the Bankes Arms and garden will provide well-earned refreshment before driving back to Swanage. This is an "EASY" walk of approx: 2.5 miles.
As an alternative take the Swanage -Bournemouth bus to Studland getting off in the centre of the village and take the same direction as before but continue back to Swanage along the cliff path. This would be a "MEDIUM" walk as the Swanage section is rather up and down and the distance nearer 4 miles. Refreshment can be taken at the Crows Nest in Ulwell Road leaving only a short walk along the seafront back to the town centre.
There are a number of marked heathland walks in the Studland area including the area around Littlesea just to the right of the road to the ferry.
Another pleasant evening walk is based around Arne. A car will be needed to reach Arne, through Corfe Castle to the Witch Farm roundabout. Turn right as if going to Witch Farm but then turn almost immediately left to Arne, approx: 3 miles. Park in the R.S.P.B. car park on the right and leave here walking on towards Arne, bear right through the farm, and follow the track down to the edge of Poole harbour. Turn right and walk along the waters edge, then the timber walkway which then leaves the water and leads through the woods. When the path forks turn left and the woodland walk will bring you back to the car park. This we would class as an EASY walk as it is fairly level (there are a number of alternatives marked on the way but all will bring you back to the car park). Similarly, on the drive from the roundabout down to Arne, there are a number of heathland walks clearly marked all of which would be considered EASY. If in need of refreshment after your exertions try the Halfway Inn on the Corfe - Wareham Road, one of the best eating pubs in the area. On leaving Arne follow the road out but do not turn back for Corfe, continue on about 1 mile and take the first left over the cattle grid and this track will bring you out almost opposite the Halfway. The drive back to Swanage on the main road will take approx: 10 minutes.
In the other direction try one of two "EASY" walks from Kingston. Using the car from Swanage take the left fork as you leave the boundary of the town to Langton Matravers and through to Kingston, approx: 5 miles. On approaching Kingston keep left of the Scott Arms and carry straight on for about 400m to a small car park in the trees on the left. Leave the car park by the small path and follow the unmade road towards Encombe House for approx: half a mile, fork left, and follow the path out to Houns Tout and return by the same. This is an almost level walk of approx 3 miles in total and provides fine views. Alternatively, carry on past the small car park approx: half a mile when you will find another small parking area on the left for a walk of similar length to Swyre Head, a point with some of the best views in Purbeck. The walk is slightly up hill going to Swyre Head but of similar length to the Houns Tout walk. On your return from either walk refreshment can be had at the Scott Arms, the gardens having superb views over Corfe Castle and beyond.
When open the army range walks at Tyneham and Worbarrow Bay are well worth a visit, opening times are usually printed in the local papers. Again a car is needed, on driving through Corfe Castle continue around the base of the castle for Church Knowle (there is a big sign on the junction indicating what walks are open). Through Church Knowle and follow the road which eventually turns up the hill to the right, carry on along the top towards Lulworth until the gates marked Tyneham on your left. The walk from the Tyneham car park to Worbarrow Bay is EASY, almost level, and is a maintained track no more than 2 miles return.
To make the walk more interesting, on leaving the car park do not turn right for Worbarrow but go straight ahead up the hill to join the Coastal Path when you make a right turn and this will take you to Worbarrow Bay with the benefit of the views, a MEDIUM walk. There are now toilets just off the car park at Tyneham but no other facilities. On your return try the New Inn in Church Knowle for refreshment. Tyneham village was evacuated in 1943 when the Army took over the area. The Church and school are now an exhibition centre.
For the more ambitious why not try a walk to Corfe Castle along the top of the hill. Follow the beach and take the Studland road as far as Ulwell, there are a number of ways up on to the hill from there - turn left into Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park, past their office, and then right up to a stile and up or go approx: 400m. past the site on the main road and turn left there. Follow the path along the top of the hill to Corfe Castle, the last 200m. it's quite a steep descent taking the walk into the ADVANCED class. Corfe Castle has a number of places to take refreshment, the Fox Inn just behind the Square in West Street being popular as is the Castle Inn, 400 yds from the square towards Swanage. The walk can be reversed for the return to Swanage or the return journey can be made by bus (rather infrequent) or by Swanage Railway.
For the more adventurous!
If walking, cycling or going to the gym do not meet your needs, try some of the more adventurous activities available in the surrounding area!
Coasteering and Outdoor Adventure Activities!
Exciting and fun-filled outdoor adventure activities in Dorset for families, private groups, schools and youth groups plus business team building programmes. From Coasteering on the fabulous Dorset Jurassic Coast to Kayaking, Climbing & Abseiling, Raft Building, Mountain Biking and our fantastic Bushcraft experience. You'll be under the expert guidance of the Cumulus Crew, fully qualified instructors whose sole objective is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your chosen activity.
Zorbing is not for the faint-hearted! ZorbSouth is the longest running zorbing site in the UK, and only a 30/40 minute drive from Swanage. Tempted? Visit their website for more information http://www.zorbsouth.co.uk
Paintballing is available at Bere Regis, a 20 minute drive from Swanage, visit http://www.dorsetpaintball.co.uk for more info.
Brenscombe Outdoor Centre offers a variety of activites for both adults and children and is a short 10 minute drive from Swanage. Located on the Corfe to Studland Road, visit the outdoor centre for day or weekend activites http://www.brenscombeoutdoor.co.uk/
Gorcombe is an outdoor activity centre which offers quad biking, paintballing, clayshooting, dirt buggies, archery, as well as having a pool. More details can be found on the website http://www.gorcombe.co.uk/index.php or by calling 01258 452219.