Dorset, England

Swanage Area: South West Coast Path

Creative Commons: Malc McDonald

Just south of Poole in Swanage, there’s a nice opportunity to experience a section of the 630-mile South West Coast Path. There are varying levels of surface & difficulty.

Right in Swanage, one can run for 1.2 miles on a paved waterfront path along Swanage Bay between Swanage Pier and the Grand Hotel.

S W Coastal Path North of Swanage. One can run for up to 6 miles from just north of Swanage to Knoll Beach in Studland. This is more of a hike/trail run, as the surface varies between grass, gravel, and beach. It’s 2 miles to The Foreland (great views, and a solid 200 foot climb). Then, continue north to Middle Beach and the Studland Nature Reserve, where the path is generally flat. There are options to run along the beach or on paths above the beach.

S W Coastal Path South of Swanage. We recommend starting in Durston County Park, 1 mile south of the center of Swanage. Some easier trails around the park. Then from The Great Globe, the S W Coastal path goes for many miles southwest toward Weymouth. The grassy path is mainly above the water, featuring great coastal views. Note it can get muddy/slippery when wet. There are numerous landmarks along the way. From Durston County Park, it’s 2.75 miles to Dancing Ledge, 3.6 miles to Winspit Quarry, and 5.8 miles to St Aldhelm’s Chapel. Continue west for more if you like!

  • Around St. Aldhelm’s Chapel. 2.8 mile easier loop on the high plateau of land above St Aldhelm’s Head, between Renscombe Car Park and the Chapel. MAP
Essentials
  • Depends on section chosen.
  • Depends on section chosen but in general this section of Coast Path not too hilly
  • Swanage center headed north; for south section, start at Dusrton Country Park
  • For south section: car park at Durston Country Park

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Essentials
  • Depends on section chosen.
  • Depends on section chosen but in general this section of Coast Path not too hilly
  • Swanage center headed north; for south section, start at Dusrton Country Park
  • For south section: car park at Durston Country Park