This stunning walk to Agglestone Rock is a relatively easy 11 km (7 mile) circular route which can be enjoyed throughout the year. There are glorious views of Poole Harbour and Studland Bay as you walk across heathland and back via the sandy Studland beach. The small village of Studland and several cafes near the beach provide plenty of opportunities to stop for refreshments, relax or even cool off with a swim in the summer sunshine.
This lovely Studland walk starts as you get off the delightful chain ferry linking Sandbanks and South Haven Point in Shell Bay. As a foot passenger, your £1 ticket covers your return journey across the water, giving you the opportunity to view Brownsea Island and the multi million pound properties of the Sandbanks peninsula. You may even spot a celebrity or two!
South West Coast Path
The start of this Studland Bay walk is also the beginning (or end) of the South West Coast Path. This is the longest of the 16 National Trails at 630 miles crossing 4 counties as the path winds around the dramatic coastline of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. As with all of the National Trails, there is the option to do a much smaller day walk through stunning scenery.
The first few hundred metres are along the narrow road before taking a path to your right. As you walkthrough the heathland you will have views across Poole Harbour. It is worth wandering down to the waters edge where you are likely to see birds wading in the shallows. The calm waters contain several islands while the Purbeck hills form an impressive backdrop in the distance.
You head through a gate as you approach the road, entering the Studland and Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve. As the heathland opens up, Agglestone Rock appears in the distance. The large sandstone rock is said to weigh over 400 tonnes and is a great place to stop and take in the view over Poole Harbour and Studland Bay.
After enjoying the views, continue on the path climbing slightly and veer left after several hundred metres. You are heading towards the village of Studland and have great views of Old Harry Rocks ahead while the sandy Studland beach curves away with Bournemouth in the distance across the bay.
Studland offers several options to stop for lunch or just a quick drink. For foodies, the renowned Pig on the Beach offers locally sourced fine food with stunning views. The Bankes Arms, a few hundred yards away has a selection of Isle of Purbeck ales, a hearty menu and a large beer garden overlooking the bay. Both offer overnight accommodation should you wish to stay longer to explore this glorious part of the world.
Continue walking or relax?
From Studland village there are a number of options. The time of year and weather may determine what you do next. A short walking extension will take you along the clearly marked SWCP trail to Old Harry Rocks. These 3 chalk stacks mark the most eastern point of the Purbecks and offer stunning views across Studland Bay to Bournemouth and to the Needles on the Isle of Wight to the east.
Alternatively you could simply wander down to the long sandy Studland beach and chill. Although busy in the summer, you can find some space walking a little distance from the car parks and there are a couple of cafes for when you need another drink!
To return, walk along the beach back to the ferry.
This Studland walk can be enjoyed at any time of the year. A bracing walk on a blustery cold winter day with a welcome warm pub stop or a summer stroll with sunbathing, swimming and ice cream, there are plenty of reasons to visit Studland Bay.
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