Close cookies panel

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience.

If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website.

The smugglers of the Dorset Coast

Posted by Luci Ackers on 23 August 2017
Related property: Langton House
The smugglers of the Dorset Coast

The Dorset coastline is famous for a number of reasons: the views, the stunning marine life, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site with its 185 million years’ worth of history.

But its more modern history gives Dorset another interesting tale to tell. Many people are familiar with England’s smuggling heritage. Along the south-west coast of England throughout the 18th and 19th centuries smuggling really took off and traces of it still remain today.

In Dorset the Purbeck coastline was a focal point in the smugglers’ trading route. The coastline is dappled with coves and bays and its high cliffs made it secretive enough for smugglers to sneak down to the shore in the middle of the night. This part of England had the added benefit of being a mining hotspot, meaning open caves were easy to access and there was a network of tunnels in the cliffs. The waters were always buzzing with boats: some transporting mining materials, and others bringing goods across from France and other countries.

The smugglers would walk down to the shoreline to see what they could get their hands on. Studland Bay was a particular favourite because, with its sandy bottom, it was a safe bay for the men and the boats to use. Their smuggled goods would make it to the markets of Poole and further east to be sold.

Dancing Ledge (pictured above) is just a short distance from Langton House – about a 30 minute walk away and it was another key location at the time. It’s a really interesting rock platform where goods were landed before being carried up over the hill to Spyways Farm and then on to the church at Langton Matravers, which is the closest village to Langton House!

At Worth Matravers (10 minutes from Langton House) you can join an enjoyable 3-mile circular walking route along the Smugglers’ Way. You’ll be led to Winspit Quarry and along the South West Coast Path to Seacombe. It was once a popular route walked by the smugglers themselves. You can download the leaflet here if you want to try it out.

Further along the South West Coast Path you’ll see the Tilly Whim Caves which are three disused limestone quarries located close to Anvil Point Lighthouse. Though the caves are no longer accessible to the public for safety reasons, their tunnels and galleries still stretch far back into the rock of the Purbeck cliff face. As you're walking the coast path they're certainly an impressive sight!

Share this post:
Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

This advertisement is issued by HPB Management Limited ("HPBM") registered at HPB House, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8EH. HPBM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is the main UK agent and the property manager for HPB, issued by HPB Assurance Limited ("HPBA") registered in the Isle of Man and authorised by the Financial Services Authority there. The Trustee of HPB is HSBC Trustee (C.I.) Limited registered at HSBC House, Esplanade, St Helier, Jersey, JE1 1GT. The Securities Manager is Stanhope Capital LLP of 35 Portman Square, London, W1H 6LR.

Holders of policies issued by HPBA will not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the company becomes unable to meet its liabilities to them but Isle of Man compensation arrangements apply to new policies. No medical examination required. HPB is available exclusively through HPBM who will only charge for their services if you invest. HPBM promotes only HPB and is not independent of HPBA.

AS FEATURED IN The Telegraph BBC Daily Mail The Sunday Times