South West Costal Path walk from Worth Matravers

Stretching from Orcombe point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset the Jurassic coast runs for nearly 100 miles and covers some fantastic coastline and some amazing features including the limestone cove and natural arch at Durdle Door and the Southwest Coastal path runs the entire length, allowing for a variety of circular walks from the small villages along the way.

We started our walk from the small village of Worth Matravers to the West of Swanage and a fairly early start saw us in the (free) car park adjacent to the Square and Compass pub (well worth popping in to for a selection of amazing ciders when you can find someone to drive you home!) and planned to head out to the west to the quarry and then join the costal path near West Hill and follow it East around the coast line down to the Lookout Station at St Aldhelm's head and then back, past the quarry at Winspit, to Worth Matravers.

Monty isn't too sure of the stone circle
From the car park we headed out of the village and followed the marked footpath across the fields towards Hill Bottom, passing the Swanworth Stone Quarry before turning onto the bridleway that heads SW towards the coast.

The path was fairly level and easy going (albeit a bit muddy) until you start to climb up onto West hill and head out along the cliff top with views out to the West down to Chapman's Pool and backup along the coast towards Kimmeridge.

Donna and Monty with the Jurassic Cost in the distance
Chapman's Pool on the Jurassic Coast
Looking out along the Jurassic Coast from West Hill
From West Hill the path heads due South towards Emmetts Hill with the cliffs becoming very steep and loose at times, something that didn't bother Monty but made me slightly nervous every time he put his head over to have a look!

The lookout station comes into view just before a large gully that leads to St Aldhelm's Quarry and the path drops, and then rises, steeply across the gully but thankfully this has been well maintained and well cut stone steps lead down and back up so whilst it does present a nice excuse to get the heart going it's not anywhere near as bad as it looks!

The steps aren't as bad as they look, honest!
On reaching the level section of the path again the lookout station and small chapel comes into view and shortly after the lookout station the monument to commemorate the development of radar - Worth Matravers was one of the early warning radar stations used during WWII and code named Chain Home.

Chapel at St Aldhelm's Head
Radar memorial at St Aldhelm's head
The chapel and lookout station represents roughly half way and the path continues along the coast before turning Northwards by the stone quarry at Winspit - used up until around 1940 and then more recently for filming of both Doctor Who and Blake's 7.

One of the caves at Winspit
Caves and old quarry at Winspit
From the quarry the path becomes more substantial and follows along side a small stream, past Winspit Bottom, before heading across the fields and up towards the houses on the edge of Worth Matravers village - from here its only a short walk along the road back, past the Square and Compass, to the car park.

Route details and gpx available from Social Hiking - recorded on my Samsung GS4 using ViewRanger


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