After a wonderful few days at Stansted Park Garden Show, we headed over to the Isle of Purbeck to check out Old Harry Rocks. A chalk formation of 3 rocks marking the most Eastern point of the Jurassic coast and boasting a UNESCO world heritage site status…
History of Old Harry Rocks
The Old Harrys Rocks located at Handfast Point were created through thousand of years of erosion by the sea, mainly by hydraulic action where air and water were forced into the cracks. They originally formed part of the ridge line that ran up to the needles connecting to the Isle of Wight.
Old Harry is the name given to the single stack of chalk which stands furthest out to sea. It is said to be called Old Harry Rocks after the devil (Old Harry being a jocular name for Satan, first recorded in 1730) who went and slept there.
Old Harrys wife was the name given to another pillar which originally collapsed into the sea in 1896. The pillar collapsed due to hydraulic erosion of the bottom, leading the top to tumble into the sea. It has since formed a new small stack thats also been given the name Old Harrys (new) Wife.
How To Get There
We entered via Sandbanks, Dorset, taking the very short ferry ride across to the Isle of Purbeck, costing £4.50. The sandy road is lined with beautiful Purbeck stone, cars, people and paddleboards galore. Following the winding road through the green countryside you will pass several lovely tearooms and places for food. With glimpses of beaches and the sea throughout. The nearest parking to the walk is in Studland at The South Beach car park. This is owned by the National Trust and free for members – just remember to bring your membership card along.
From here turn right and continue down the road until you get to the public toilets where you take a left. Follow signs for Old Harry Rocks and after a gentle 15- 20 minute walk it opens out into a large grassy area. Here you can go closer to the cliff edge to view the chalky white cliffs in all their glory. You can then do a loop of 3.5miles back to the car park or go back the same way.
Places to Eat near Old Harry Rocks
The Pig – on the Beach
A walled kitchen garden, a sea view conservatory restaurant, a path down to the beach, our own beach hut, a herd of Dorset Horn sheep, roaring log fires and a fairy-tale gargoyle or two.
A few minutes’ walk from Studland Bay, you’ll find one of the most charming hotels in Dorset. Stroll the gardens, visit the new Bistro, or stay and explore the natural beauty of this protected peninsula.
The Bankes Arms
The Bankes Arms Inn in Studland, Dorset is a traditional 16th Century pub set in the heart of the Purbeck countryside right next to the sea.