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South West Coast Path : Branksome to Swanage or Corfe Castle walk

Lovely Coastal walk starting with a busy prom, then a short ferry crossing to start the South West Coast Path along Studland Bay (a sandy beach), past Old Harry (cliffs) to Swanage, a seaside resort. Optional ridge walk ending to Corfe Castle. Return by bus.

Group Walk Posts

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Like our walks, these posts are copyrighted. You may re-use them for non-commercial events only.

Date # Post
Sat, 02-Sep-17 16

Late Summer Swim?

SWC Walk 73: South West Coast Path – Branksome to Swanage or Corfe Castle – Loads of Swimming Opportunities and the Stunning White Cliffs of Old Harry Rocks T=SWC.73

Length: 11.6 Miles or 18.7 km for those more metrically minded (or 14.5 miles/23.3 km for the Corfe Castle ending)

Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (or 5 out of 10 for the Corfe Castle ending)

Train: Take the 8:35AM South Western Weymouth Train from London Waterloo arriving at a Branksome at 10:29. The return journey from Swanage or Corfe Castle requires taking a bus to Wareham (from Swanage you could also take a bus to Bournemouth) and picking up a train. To return via Wareham, you will need to catch a number 40 bus from the Swanage bus/steam train station (about a 10-minute walk from the seaside) or in the center of Corfe Castle – these buses leave Swanage at 18:05 and Corfe at 18:23 (arriving at Wareham station at 18:36) and 19:05 and 19:23 (arriving at 19:36) and will connect with trains from Wareham at 18:53 or 19:53 (additional trains from Wareham are also at 19:28 and 20:42). To return from Swanage via Bournemouth (which involves a longer bus journey), you will need to catch a number 50 bus from one of the stops along the sea front – these buses stop along the sea front around 18:27, 19:27 or 20:27 (depending on exactly what stop you use) and arrive in Bournemouth about an hour later. Trains from Bournemouth are at 19:59, 20:22, 21:12 and 21:40. For more flexibility on catching the trains at Wareham, you may want to group together and book a taxi from Swanage or Corfe Castle to Wareham Station – if you plan to do this, it is recommended to book one in advance at some point during the day – Swanage Taxis 01929 421 122/01929 425 350). Buy a day return to Wareham for the most flexibility.

This walk was famously rained and winded out last year when it was posted on a very turbulent Saturday. Although a little on the pricey side in terms of tickets, it is a marvelous summer walk along the seaside following for most of the route a section of the South West Coast Path AND the forecast is looking bright (fingers crossed). It has great swimming opportunities all along the route (specifically in Studland Bay) as well as interesting and varied scenery for those not so fond of swimming. Also, the Bournemouth Airshow will be on this weekend which may add some interesting features. More information and the walk instructions can be found here.

Lunch can be eaten at a café before the Sandbanks Ferry. Alternatively, the Shell Bay Café just after the ferry is highly recommended – but, do call ahead (01929 450 363). Tea can be had at the National Trust Café in Studland Bay or at the Bankes Arms in Studland Bay – a bit beyond the café. There are also many places to eat and drink in Swanage or Corfe Castle.

Enjoy the walk!
I am told that it is quite feasible to catch the 9.35 train if not planning on swimming.
16 on this walk, 13 on the specified train, three an hour later. The weather was sunny all day despite clouds building inland. A marked chill in the early morning and a slightly cool breeze in the afternoon signaled that autumn is on its way, however, and that expeditions like me this one will soon be a distant memory.

The gorgeous clear blue sea was also a tad colder than it really ought to be at this time of year 17 degrees officially but on our first swim it felt more like 16. Despite this, nine of the group swam, most of them twice. Four who did not swim at all formed a separate party though we met them again on the train home.

After our first swim on Branksome beach we were treated to a display by the Red Arrows, part of the Bournemouth Air Show. We had a cafe lunch more notable for its fine seafront location than the quality of the food. Over in Studland Bay on the naturist beach we swam (in swimming costumes) surrounded by sundry naked middle aged in statuesque poses a bit like a living Antony Gormley installation.

After tea or worse in the National Trust cafe it was up onto Old Harry's Rocks where one of our party diced with death on a narrow rocky ridge while the rest of us tried not to look. In Swanage there was just time for a quick shop before the 19.05 bus. Then the long train ride back from Wareham to London, lubricated by wine and humus and falafels and stuff.
Wed, 24-Aug-16 9

Midweek Walk - Branksome to Swanage, SWC 73

Basically, it's the same information posted for [Saturday]. The cheap fare deal £16 with Southwest trains is available. The train leaves Waterloo at 9:35. Ticket to Wareham.

The buses from Swanage to Wareham are 17.05, 18.05 and 19.05.

The trains from Wareham to London will be less busy on Wednesday but it's still a long trip. Trains leave Wareham at 18.28, 18.53, 19.28 and 19.57.

I will stop for a swim. Avert your eyes. 😵 Lunch is in Shell Bay bistro after the chain ferry. Great picnic walk.

Joe's cafe for tea at the very end of South Beach. Ignore the walk instructions which direct you off the beach at the new National Trust cafe, although it does save you the seaweed at the very end of the beach.😱 last year there was a tap at Joe's cafe where you could wash the sand off your feet before setting off for Harry rock.

[Optionally,] You can extend the walk to Corfe Castle and get the bus there. Ridge walk giving 14 miles distance.

Pauline
L=swc.73
I'm coming and got my ticket
based on recent midweek experience with this train, on a sunny day it will be chock a block with families and cyclists going to the beaches and cliffs: standing room only from Woking onwards. Be prepared to dash to the platform the moment it is announced (likely to be 7), if you want to sit together. And don't expect the quiet coaches to be quiet, or the train to arrive on time...
Thanks Thomas you're quite right my experience travelling to Weymouth with Basingstoke signal failure and hooligans on return journey. Couldn't have been worse so I'm prepared.
Hi. Will be boiling on Wednesday. Will there be any forest walking or will it be very exposed? New to group. Cheers.
For anyone who does not fancy a long trip to the seaside I'll be out giving my short Essex walk (Epping to Ongar, 8m, 2/10) a final check and you are welcome to join me. Epping is at the far eastern end of the Central Line. Bus back from Ongar to Epping tube 25 mins)
Nice pub at Toot Hill (or is that nice toot at pub hill?...). 60% of walk is in woodland shade. See new walks directory for maps and walk instructions. Start walking from outside Epping tube station at 11am.
As advised below, I join these SWT trains at waterloo as soon as platform announced and travel on my own. Hooligans can be pain wherever.However, it is your destination which is over popular anything going through Bournemouth is oversubscribed. Swimmers why not enjoy gorgeous beaches on the Isle of Wight and a voyage to boot either to Ryde from Portsmouth may then Ryde, or bus to Bembridge and over Culver Down for more time swimming on the glorious acres of sands of Sandown, I am always puzzled buy enthusiasm about a load of old rocks at Eastbourne or Brighton. Alternativelr ferry Lymington to Yarmoutht circulaar taking advantage of the clever new coastal path over the landslip between beautiful for swimmers Colwell and Totland bays, or/and Freshwater later also, so very much more interesting walking than the over popular Shell Bay etc
and you'll probably get a seat from Brockenhurst, if you travel back after the families from Bournemouth what's the hurry on the wonderful Island the George in Yarmouth is splendid
have fun away from the crowds
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramblinros/albums/with/72157671032404720
Yes, we did a SWC walking weekend on the Isle Of Wight just a couple of weeks ago.
The 9.35 doesn't stop at Clapham Junction. The earliest train you can get from Clapham Junction with the £16 return ticket is the 9.46, arriving at Branksome at 12.48
Or a faster train is the 10.27 arriving at Branksome 12.29 (change at Woking)
At Waterloo, if you go on to any at platform, and walk half way along, there is a connecting tunnel between them. If you wait in the tunnel, by the stairs up, you are already half way along the platform when it's announced... And there's no pinch point at the platform entrance
9
sun overcast

9 off the train, where did our 10th walker go? 4 ahead on a walk. 5 behind on swimfest which seemed to take the whole day necessitating a bus from Studland to Wareham. Drinks and local produce consumed on the train back. Great day out for the swimmers. That walking malarkey will never catch on.


Sorry to have missed the rest of you. I thought you'd all be way ahead and that it was unlikely I'd catch up so I did a variation taking in some of the heathland then a brief swim before getting the bus to Bournemouth.
JFK where did u go?
Sat, 20-Aug-16

Saturday Third Walk -- Branksome to Swanage -- Summer Seaside Fun


T=3.73 SWC Walk 73: South West Coast Path – Branksome to Swanage – Loads of Swimming Opportunities and the Stunning White Cliffs of Old Harry Rocks
Length: 11.6 Miles (or 18.7 km for those more metrically minded)

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:35 Southwest Train from London Waterloo to Weymouth arriving at a Branksome at 11:29. The return journey from Swanage requires taking a bus from Swanage to either Wareham or Bournemouth and picking up a train. To return via Wareham, you will need to catch a number 40 bus from the Swanage bus/steam train station (about a 10-minute walk from the seaside) – these buses are at 18:05 (arriving at Wareham station at 18:41) and 19:05 (arriving at 19:36) and will connect with trains from Wareham at 18:53 or 19:53 (additional trains from Wareham are also at 19:28 and 20:42). To return via Bournemouth (which involves a longer bus journey), you will need to catch a number 50 bus from one of the stops along the sea front – these buses stop along the sea front around 18:27 or 19:27 (depending on exactly what stop you use) and arrive in Bournemouth about an hour later. Trains from Bournemouth are at 19:59, 20:22 and 21:01. For more flexibility on catching the trains at Wareham, you may want to group together and book a taxi from Swanage to Wareham Station – if you plan to do this, it is recommended to book one in advance at some point during the day – Swanage Taxis 01929 421 122/01929 425 350). Buy a SWT Special Offer ticket to Wareham for 16 pounds return before midnight on Friday night either on-line, from a ticket office or via telesales.

This walk is being posted in response to a recent request to post it before winter. Also, with the current Southwest Train 16-pound return ticket offer, it is an ideal time for this great expedition which can otherwise be quite costly for a day trip. It is a marvelous summer walk along the seaside following for most of the route a section of the South West Coast Path. It has great swimming opportunities all along the route (specifically in Studland Bay) as well as interesting and varied scenery for those not so fond of swimming. I will also add that the Bournemouth Airshow will be on this weekend which may add some interesting features (or may just make the trains more crowded). More information and the walk instructions can be found here.

Lunch can be eaten at a café before the Sandbanks Ferry. Alternatively, the Shell Bay Café just after the ferry is highly recommended – but, do call ahead (01929 450 363). Tea can be had at the National Trust Café in Studland Bay or at the Bankes Arms in Studland Bay – a bit beyond the café. There are also many places to eat and drink in Swanage.

Enjoy the walk!
Given that at long last we have two decent walks posted on the same weekend (Glynde and Branksome) is it possible to postpone either one or both to a different weekend as windgusts to 50 mph forecast for Saturday on both walks, even inland as far as Lewes. Could they also be posted on separate weekends so that we can do both of them. Don't want to miss either of them but don't want to get blown off my feet. Thanks!
Sorry, but changing walks at the last minute in response to weather forecasts does not work. Once you start down that road there is no end of it. The forecast for Saturday does look unfortunate: if you think conditions will make doing a walk unsafe, don't do it. All our walks are at your own risk and you should consult weather forecasts and use your own judgement. The weather may well be as bad as forecast or it may not be. About eight times a year, I reckon, the forecast for Saturday looks bad. Often it then turns out not to be so bad on the day. I recall the Gerard's Cross to Cookham walk in early March. "Damaging gusts" were predicted for that and I wondered if it was a good idea to walk in woods where branches might get blown off trees. But in the event there was barely a breeze. In February it was indeed very windy for the Lewes Circular walk but a large group did it without incident. If winds are strong, what is the best walk to do anyway? One with trees nearby where branches could break off? Or one on open downland which may be exposed?

Also if walks are changed at the last minute some people may not notice the change, others may have already bought tickets. And walk posts take time to write, you know. I am busy. I don't have time to do another one just currently. I am a bit behind as it is.

So sorry if two summer walks have been picked and will be met with unsummery weather but that is just the luck of the draw, I afraid at lleast as regards the first walk this week.
The comment from Anonymous had a point. Perhaps rather than swapping a walk, a fourth walk could be posted. The reason being, if the weather is bad, two walks mentioned before have less appeal, people will not come regardless (except a few who already got the tickets). If by posting another more suitable walk with weather in mind, more people who would otherwise do something else may be attracted to come. Just a thought. I do appreciate walk posters doing their best to suit. I would be happy just to come to one of the Sunday walks instead.
Sorry didn't mean to put my Comment amount two swimming walks on together on the walk post! Can you remove it. I meant it for the Forum.
I have made some suggestions for less windy option for the first walk. I might point out that there is also the third walk, which is well away from the coast and might be less windy.

The trouble with "a fourth walk could be posted" is that there is no end to this either. In any given week there is always an excuse to say the existing three options are no good and we need a fourth. Eg, "they all have early starts", "they are all too long", "it is a sunny weekend and no one has posted a swimming walk", "there is no train through Clapham Junction", "I don't like any of the existing options", "why aren't we making use of the SWT £16 offer" (or AN Other offer, there always seeming to be one or other train company offer extant) etc etc etc.

Posting a fourth walk at the last minute to make up for such deficiences just means one or more other walk posters has to go to all the trouble of researching and composing a walk post only to be pipped at the post at the last minute by AN Other with a better idea. If that is the case, then I will wait till Friday to do my walk posts for the following day, so as not to waste my time and effort. Then everyone will complain that they want to be able to plan their weekends.

This is a freak Saturday, weatherwise. They happen. It is unfortunate two coastal walks were picked for such a weekend, but when they were chosen, a few days ago, we were having a heatwave. The weather may or may not be as bad as forecast: see my previous comment. We will see. All walks are at your own risk, but my personal judgement (ie a judgement I am making for myself and no one else) is that it is worth giving a Glynde walk a try and adapting as necessary to conditions on the day. I know the area well and will bring a map. Train or bus disruption due to high winds is another matter: we will have to take that as it comes.
Walker is right. As far as our walks and the weather are concerned "that's the way the cookie crumbles" as Americans may (or may not!) say.
Sat, 25-Jul-15 18

Saturday Third Walk

Extra Walk 73: South West Coast Path: Branksome to Swanage or Corfe Castle – A Lovely Long Coastal Journey

Length: 11.6 miles to Swanage; 14.5 to Corfe Castle
Difficulty: 3 out of 10 to Swanage; 5 out of 10 to Corfe Castle
Train: Take the 9:35 South West Weymouth train from London Waterloo to Branksome arriving at 11:29. Buy a special “summer promotion” day return ticket (£20) to Wareham for maximum flexibility on the return journey. According to the SW website, these can be purchased online, from ticket offices and from ticket machines.

In order to return from Swanage, you will need to take the number 40 bus from the Swanage bus station to Wareham (approximately 30 minutes) or a number 50 bus from various points along the sea front to Bournemouth (approximately 1 hour). From Corfe Castle, take the 40 bus. The 40 bus leaves Swanage at 18:05 and 19:05 (and Corfe at 18:23 and 19:23); the 50 bus leaves Swanage at 18:25; 19:25; 20:25. Return trains from Wareham are at 18:28; 18:53; 19:28; 19:53; 20:42 and 21:42 – the 40 bus coordinates well with the 53 trains. These trains stop in Bournemouth at 18:59; 19:22; 19:59; 20:22; 21:12 and 22:12 – the 50 bus does not link well, and, you will have a 30 minute or so wait to peruse the nearby ASDA. To maximize your time or take the 42 trains, you could also take a taxi from Swanage/Corfe to Wareham – Swanage Taxis 01929 421 122 or 01929 425 350. The quoted fare is £25 from Swanage and the trip takes about 20 minutes (or 10 minutes from Corfe). Please make sure to call ahead.
This is a long and enjoyable summer outing. The walk takes a hidden valley down to the sea and a long sandy beach. It largely follows the coastline with plenty of opportunities for swimming. At Sandbanks, you take a short ferry ride over to Purbeck and enjoy another long sandy stretch through Studland Bay with more swimming options. At the far end of Studland Bay, the walk climbs up to Old Harry’s Rocks and then either drops down into Swanage or carries along the ridge to Corfe Castle. More information and the walk instructions can be found here.
There are a couple of lunch options on either side of the Sandbanks Ferry – the recommended one is the Shell Bay Cafe (01929 450 363) on the Purbeck side of the ferry. Large groups should call ahead. There are also plenty of places to enjoy a picnic.
Tea and other refreshments can be had at the National Trust kiosk in Studland Bay or at the Bankes Arms pub in Studland Bay. Both Swanage and Corfe Castle have a few options for post walk libations.

Enjoy the walk and fingers crossed for good weather!
anyone feel like getting a bit later train as in the 10.05 or 10.35 ?
I'll be going (If the weather forecast remains good)but will get the train suggested since it's a long day.
THANK YOU so much for posting this walk/swimming location. I didn't want to leave!
Emma

18 on this walk, sunny with breezy cloud, a fine day though not particularly hot. After Branksome Chine, the group split into swimmers and non swimmers. The Non majority will have to make their own report, but of the seven of us in the rearguard, six had a lovely swim in the crystal clear and current free waters (out around the buoy for two of us), even though sea temperaures were a bit below where they should be.

We had lunch at the Shell Bay Cafe (a fish restaurant: fine views of Poole Harbour). Along the water line at Studland there were alarming numbers of dead jellyfish, which caused one of the party to retreat to swim in safer waters. We also lost another of the group on the busy beach (hope this was not our fault). Four us then had another beautiful but rather cold swim (encountering no jellyfish, I am happy to say), and warmed up over tea and ice creams.

By this time it was 5.30pm and we had to walk more briskly over the glorious final section past Old Harry Rocks and over Ballard Down to get to Swanage by 7.30pm. Despite finding the town en fete (some kind of festival) we managed to secure a taxi to Wareham and had nice oriental takeaways from food stalls while waiting for it. A long ride home then ensued on the stop everywhere 8.42 train, ameliorated by red wine, chocolates and rather too much houmous.
Sat, 03-Aug-13 8 Branksome to Swanage [Wareham]
Sat, 27-Aug-11 Branksome to Swanage [Wareham]
Sat, 28-Aug-10 Branksome to Swanage [Bournemouth]
Sun, 09-Aug-09 South West Coast Path : Branksome to Swanage or Corfe Castle