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
(Clapham Junction 8:45) arriving at a Branksome at 10:45. 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 18:25 and Corfe at 18:43 (arriving at Wareham station at 18:56) and 19:25 and 19:43 (arriving at 19:56) and will connect with trains from Wareham at 19:20 or 20:20. 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 18:30 and 19:30, depending on what stop you use and arrive in Bournemouth about an hour later. Trains from Bournemouth are at 19:50; 19:59 and 20:56. 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.
Unfortunately, the incessant threats of industrial action by SWT this summer prevented posting this coastal charm earlier in the summer -- but, on the positive, it makes a great swan song for summer swimming…chalk full of opportunities…. It also features interesting and varied scenery for those not so fond of swimming. 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 (and swims)!