Do you sometimes feel torn between the buzz of busy city life and the peace and tranquillity of country life? This is often how we feel here at The Little Map Company (TLMC). In common with most people these days we lead busy lives which take us into work and the city rather than out to the beautiful countryside where we would much rather be.
So when the opportunity presents itself we try to grab it and head out somewhere either on foot or on our bikes. A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I managed to make it home to beautiful Dorset.
As many of you will know, being in Dorset means there are so many scenic options to choose from that sometimes the difficult thing to do is to choose where to go. For this adventure we decided – bikes and Studland.
Studland is a slightly wild and beautifully quirky part of the Dorset coastline famous for its beaches and nature reserve. It isn’t the easiest to get to during the summer when the roads are busy but is well worth the effort. We say go early and beat the rush. It can be reached by road via the A351 turning left toward Corfe Castle on the B3351 into Studland. Alternatively, if you are coming through via Poole consider the chain ferry from Sandbanks in Poole. The ferry takes cars, bikes and pedestrians and crosses the entrance of Poole Harbour across to Shell Bay cutting at least 25 miles of the road journey if you are coming from that direction. Studland can also be reached by public transport with the No. 50 bus travelling from Bournemouth Train Station via the chain ferry.
The South West Coast Path, the longest such path in the UK, starts here and goes for 630 miles right round the coast of South West England to Minehead. From the coastline you have views of the Isle of Wight and Old Harry Rocks which mark the eastern end of the Jurassic coastline, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery in the area are truly inspirational and well worth exploring!
Our journey started on the seafront in Bournemouth and progressed along the Poole seafront, into Sandbanks and on to the chain ferry across to Studland’s Shell Bay. The ferry crossing is an experience in itself and adds to the whole feeling of being truly away from it all. The crossing itself takes only minutes but you get a nice view of Brownsea Island and some of the other islands in Poole Bay as you leave and then an early look at the beautiful 3 mile beach of Studland Bay as you approach Shell Bay.
The ferry usually runs 3 times an hour from each side from 0700 (Poole side) to 2310 (Studland side) every day except Christmas day when a shorter service is offered. However this should be checked on the day, particularly if you are planning to leave early or return late.
Once over the chain ferry and in to Studland, we took the open road a comparatively short distance to the beautiful Knoll Beach where we enjoyed a wander round the National Trust shop and a well-deserved bacon butty in the Knoll Beach Café.
For the keen cyclist this part of Studland can be the entry point to miles of scenic routes both on and off the country roads. For a selection visit www.virtual-swanage.co.uk . It can be quite hilly so be prepared – or bring your e-bike!
The map below shows the route we took, and the photographs will give you some idea of the beautiful and varied scenery we encountered on the way.
Please get in touch to let me know if you’ve tried this cycle route, or others in the area. It would be great to hear your comments and maybe other suggestions.
The Little Map Company Team
Distance – 15.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty – easy