Studland to Old Harry Rocks Walk

The Studland to Old Harry Rocks walk is an easy circular walk starting at Studland village and following the chalky coastal cliffs along to Old Harry Rocks and then on to Ballard Point. The walk offers great views of Studland Bay and its sandy beaches backed by dunes. The last half of the walk takes you up onto Ballard Down and the Purbeck Way. From here you can see the town of Swanage to the south and Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island to the north.

Distance: 4 miles (circular)
Difficulty: easy
Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total ascent 965ft, Highest point 446ft
Date of walk: June 2020

Studland to Old Harry Rocks Walk (4 miles circular)
Studland to Old Harry Rocks Walk (4 miles circular)
Base map © OpenStreetMap created in Outdooractive App

Route Map and GPS Navigation

Link to Old Harry Rocks GPS route map

Route Description and Photos

The walk to Old Harry Rocks is mainly on land owned by the National Trust but access is free for everyone. The car park in Studland village is also owned by the National Trust and free for NT members. Parking rates for non-members is £3 for up to 2 hours (usually sufficient for the walk) or £5 all day. (prices subject to change)

For a detailed route description and map see the web page

It’s probably a good idea to save the map to your phone before starting out.

The starting point for the walk is Studland village and the only place to park is at the National Trust Studland South Beach car park BH19 3AU (Google map) (w3w)

The photos of the walk shown below were taken on 02 June 2020.

National Trust Studland South Beach car park in located in the centre of Studland village
Starting point for the walk is the National Trust South Beach car park BH19 3AU (w3w) For this walk we arrived early at 7am in the morning which is why the car park looks empty. It can get very busy during the summer however it’s a large car park with an overflow field. There is literally nowhere free to park in the village or nearby.
National Trust South Beach car park prices
June 2020
Parking is free for NT members. You can pay in cash or using the paybyphone app location 803387.
June 2020
Studland village
Turn right outside the car park and head down the hill towards the pub.
The Bankes Armes Country Inn at Studland
Pass the Bankes Armes pub on your right. (w3w)

The Bankes Armes pub in Studland village is highly recommended and a great place for a pub lunch after the walk. Opposite the pub is a large beer garden offering superb views over Studland Bay. The pub is also home to the Isle of Purbeck Brewery

Walk down to the bottom of the hill – you’ll pass the entrance path to South Beach on your left. Carry straight on to the corner and just after the public toilets take the track on the left signposted to Old Harry Rocks. (w3w)

Signpost marking the start of the footpath to Old Harry Rocks
View of Studland Bay and Studland South Beach
Beautiful views looking out towards Studland Bay. The first beach on your left is Studland South Beach, then Studland Middle Beach, Knoll Beach right the way along to Shell Bay beach. In the far distance you can see Sandbanks and then Bournemouth.
It’s a flat wide path most of the way to Old Harry.
Old Harry Rocks National Trust signpost
Arriving at Old Harry Rocks. Only 1.1 miles from the car park and has taken just 25 minutes to get here.
Don’t be tempted to walk to the end the path or it might quite literally be the end of the road for you!
Old Harry Rocks Studland
The best views of Old Harry Rocks are from further along the coast to the right.
Old Harry Rocks coastline looking towards Swanage
Looking south west along the coast towards Swanage. Image taken from w3w

Continue to follow the path along the coast heading south west. You’ll walk through fields of grassland which has been carefully managed by the National Trust to conserve wild flowers. You can often see orchids as well.

Kidney Vetch
Old Harry Rocks Walk and view of Poole bay
Wild Carrot
Pyramidal Orchid
Greater Knapweed
Ox-eye Daisy
View looking back along the walk towards Old Harry
Looking back along the path towards Old Harry. On the horizon on the far side of Poole Bay you can just about see Bournemouth.
About a 20 minute walk from Old Harry Rocks brings you to a gate. The gate is a short cut across the fields but we’ll follow the path to the left which is the scenic route. (w3w) (Google maps)
At Ballard Point you’ll see a stone marking the start of the Purbeck Way. The Purbeck Way is a 12.5 mile walk to Wareham taking in Corfe Castle.
Superb views of Swanage Bay and the seaside town of Swanage.
Go through the gate and follow the path across the fields following the route of the Purbeck Way. (w3w) (Google Maps) . The path to the left is the South West Coast path and leads down to Swanage.

The fields beyond the gate frequently have livestock grazing so if you have a dog make sure it’s put on a short lead. Sheep, cows and sometimes bulls are in the field. I’ve done this walk many times before and never had any problems with the animals but I have to admit I tend to walk a bit quicker when there are bulls about and keep a nice safe distance between us.

Views north towards Studland Bay. At the end of the beach you can see the entrance to Poole Harbour with the car ferry sometimes visible. in the middle of Poole Harbour is Brownsea Island and behind Brownsea Island is Poole and Poole Harbour.
Following the Purbeck Way west along the ridge in the direction of Corfe Castle.
Pass through the gate and straight up the hill following the sign pointing to The Obelisk. (w3w) (Google Maps)
Follow the footpath marked to The Obelisk.
Views across Poole Harbour
Continue walking straight along the ridge footpath in the direction of Ulwell. The sign to Studland shows the coastal route that we’ve just walked along. So we are 2.5 miles into the walk and only 1 mile to go.
Continue walking straight on. You can see a stone bench slightly to the right, that’s where we are aiming for.
At the stone bench turn right. (w3w) (Google maps). The path is easy to follow and leads downhill towards a cluster of houses at the southern edge of Studland village.
Follow the path downhill
The path becomes a track that leads back to Studland village
The path joins the road at (w3w) (Google Maps) Just follow the road back towards Studland village.

At the end of the lane you’ll see Manor Farm Tea Rooms on the corner. (w3w) (Google Maps). It’s never been open when I’ve been past it but I think it open at 10am during the summer and serves lunches, tea, coffee and cakes. You can also park your car here for £5 all day.

Manor Farm Tea Rooms in Studland.
Next to Manor Farm is a small village green with an ornately carved stone cross.
From the village green you have two option to get back to the National Trust car park. You can just follow the road (in the direction marked to the beach). This will bring you back to the toilets and then up the hill to the Bankes Arms pub and then the car park. Alternatively you can follow the sign to the Church which we will do.
Following the sign to the church passing by some nice cottages.

St. Nicholas’ Church. (w3w) (Google Maps) St. Nicholas’ Church is a beautifully preserved Norman church, easily one of the best in Dorset and looks pretty much the same as it did 1000 years ago. It was built on the site of an earlier Saxon building which was destroyed by the Vikings in the 9th century. It’s a living church with regular services and a popular venue for weddings. For more information and service times see

If you take the path to the left of the church and immediately after the church building take the path to the right you will go through a gate and join a small footpath that takes you directly into the back of the National Trust car park.
Arriving back in the car park. Total distance 4 miles taking just under 2 hours walking slowly.
link to the Best Studland Walks post
The Best Studland Walks