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Langton House

Dorset, England

Dancing Ledge walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Start Point

From Langton House enter the lane on the west side of the complex known as Durnford Drove, then head towards Spyway Barn, which will be instantly apparent. To get there follow the signpost to Dancing Ledge.

The path passes between the buildings. The story of the former stone quarrying here is particularly interesting. That industry closed in the 1960’s, but small operators are still evident here and there, using “open cast” techniques.

It’s quite amazing that men used to work “inside” the coastline cliff faces, creating a labyrinth of caves. Stone was then lowered to ketches (boats) waiting in the sea far below and shipped to London. Returning ketches were loaded with bricks for ballast and this probably explains the reason for many brick built houses in Swanage - unusual for an area in which stone was plentiful.

Before stone quarrying established itself in the area, Purbeck marble was in great demand for more decorative work. Examples of this can be found in Salisbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Locally, Kingston church is the place to see Purbeck marble.

Purbeck marble isn’t a marble at all - it’s a limestone, but when oiled the dark stone shines like marble.

The walk continues from the barn, heading directly towards the sea. Beyond the next gate a signpost points the way to the steep descent towards evocatively named Dancing Ledge - so named because stormy seas are said to produce waves that “danced up on to the ledge”.

In 1910 Tom Pellatt the headmaster of Durnford House Preparatory School had a swimming pool created at Dancing Ledge. This was little more than a hole in the rocks which was filled by the seas waves. Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, attended the school.

The return to Langton is 75% uphill! Follow the indicator towards Langton and set off keeping close company with the wall to your right. Gradually the path creeps away from the wall and enters a gorse infested area. The narrow path twists and turns throughout its upwards course to arrive at a gate. Here a signpost shows Langton 1 mile.

Set off again with the wall to your right, following an obvious track with Sea Spray barn across the field on the left. Arriving at a gate enter a lane (Priest’s Way) and head off to the right. Pass through another gate to reach a pronounced junction. Here swing left along Durnford Drove to return to Langton House.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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