We had chatted with Alan, the owner of The Rookery, about our plans for the last day. He had suggested that we add Swyre Head to our plans. A search on Google turned up a website that highlighted walks around Dorset.
For our the stay in Swanage I had been using my copy of “Photographing Dorset” book by Mark Bauer to help choose places to visit but Swyre Head was not listed…
Day 3: Sunday January 23rd 2022 – Swyre Head
From Swanage we headed out towards the village of Kingston along the B3069. After making a 90 degree right turn we realised that we had passed the village’s West Street that had been straight on. At the bottom of the hill we turned around and went back and made the turn. This took us past a pub, The Scottt Arms, and a church. The road narrowed into a single track paved road after we passed a car park on our left. The road was helpfully signposted Swyre Head.
The second car park was our destination, Sheep Pens Car Park, at the end of the single track road. There were only two other cars parked.
From the car park we could see Swyre Head beyond the row of trees.
At our side we could see the sea and to our right we passed a small wood. The bridleway had been churned up a bit by tractors but the walking was easy on the grassy hill. Below us we could see a plantation and a large complex of buildings.
Then we reached Swyre Head.
We walked to edge of the fencings and took in the views. Other walkers came past us and descended down towards the sea on a steep narrow path. Up the coast we could see Kimmeridge Bay and Calvell’s Tower.
In the other direction we could see Emmetts Hill. From Google Maps this headland had both a chapel, St Aldhelm’s Chapel, and a memorial to the Purbeck Radar station. Worth a walk next visit?
The weather reduced visibility so we couldn’t make out which ship this was.
Onto Kimmeridge Village
We decided to follow the bridal path along the ridge and head towards Kimmeridge.
This part of the bridal path was heavily rutted from tractors.
Each field had its own gate and we were careful to close behind us ad there were sheep in some of them. This group of sheep were pretty determined to get to the next field and didn’t move far when we approached the gate.
When we walked back they were even more persistent about following us back through the gate! This is looking back along the ridge to Swyre Head.
After the rutted bridal path through the fields the path descended above Kimmeridge Bay. The change from muddy ruts to sharp irregular stones did make walking very difficult (and painful in places.) Climbing towards us was a mountain biker and a runner. Definitely a lot fitter (and younger) than us.
Day 3: Sunday January 23rd 2022 Cavells Restaurant in Kimmeridge Village
We followed the roads down into Kimmeridge Village. We reached a sty and below us we could see the village.
The hill was quite steep and we could see a gate and behind that the church.
The we were at the T junction at the top of the road through the village.
On our left was the Clavells Restaurant.
We had to sit outside as the restaurant was fully booked for Sunday lunch. We had a pot of tea while we geared ourselves up for the walk back!
This is the climb to the sty at the top of the hill above the village after passing the church.
Tea on a Sunday Morning
We stopped for a cup of tea and sat outside in the Winter Sun. Busy enough on a January Sunday that a reservation to eat lunch inside would have been needed.
A small tip, Bring Your Own sweetners as none available for outside tea drinkers.
Day 3: Sunday January 23rd 2022 – Swyre Head
Once back on the public footpath I noticed this gate at the bottom of the path back.
We were not the only ones making the walk now.
The sheep were still grouped around the gates and one of them was so bold that she tried to bully past us into the next field!
Swyre Hill rose out of the sea and as the highest part of the Isle of Purbeck there had been aircraft crashed ther. This is the memorial bench alongside the path.
The bench noted the three crew of a Fairey Swordfish that had crashed in March 1938. The other crash remembered was a Liberator with 27 crew and passengers that had crashed in June 1945.
Day 3: Sunday January 23rd 2022 – Sunday lunch at The Crows Nest Inn
We left the car at The Rookery and started to walk into Swanage. Looking up the road away from the bay we could see a pub and decided to go there rather than walk any further. The bar area inside the pub was very busy and and we sat on a bench table and enjoyed a drink. Behind us was a large restaurant area behind french doors. The tables and chairs were all piled up and clearly this part of the pub was no open in January!
While we sat we could hear a family ordering Sunday lunch at the table next to us. The options were small, medium and large for the roast. When their food came we decided that 3 pm was an OK time to order lunch. We opted for the smaller versions of the roast and when it came it was loaded with vegetables and was excellent!
We went in the pub for a drink early afternoon and after seeing the meals being brought out for other guests we joined in and orders a Sunday Lunch.
These lunches are served in three sizes and we chose to have the medium size. We had lots of vegetables and all the better for being so we1l prepared – excellent value.
Great service, deserves the Very Good rating
Day 4: Monday January 24th 2022
At breakfast we were joined by other guests who had checked in the day before. After saying our goodbyes and packing the car we walked to the top of the cul-de-sac to get a view of the bay.
We couldn’t get close to the edge of the cliff but I did get this image looking back to the town leaning over the fence of one of the gardens.
Great place to stay with a very warm welcome
Great location providing us with a gentle walk into the main part of Swanage. We really liked being to select exactly what we wanted for our breakfast rather than having ‘full English’ with no choices.
We had a relaxing weekend, everyone at The Rookery was so friendly and helpful. Our room was very comfortable and despite the cold weather outside we were really warm and cosy.
We enjoyed relaxing with a bottle of wine in the evening after eating at one of the many excellent pubs in the town.