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Langton House

Dorset, England

Swyre Head, Kimmeridge Bay & Clavell’s Tower walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Start Point

The walk commences from the car-park in Kingston village, reached by veering left at the Scott Arms to pass the church. The carpark is about ¼ mile farther on, to the left.

Continue walking along the road, away from the village, soon leaving the wooded area behind. An impressive view of Corfe Castle soon comes into sight, across the valley on the right.

Arriving at another car parking area turn left to pass between the stone pillars, then a small gate. There’s a signpost to Swyre Head. A wide track crawls upwards between the fields, and reaching another gate Swyre Head comes into view.

Proceed towards the high point, with wonderful glimpses of the scenic Encombe valley to your left. Visible attractions include Encombe House - the home of the Scott family for more than a century. Built originally as a retreat for John Pitt C1770.

Also seen Chapman’s Pool (formerly had a lifeboat station), and situated on a distant headland St. Aldhelm’s chapel.

Supreme, far-ranging vistas are presented from Swyre Head, which isn’t a natural summit. That summit was created by the landowner and enabled him to claim the highest point in Purbeck!

Now follow the indication towards Kimmeridge, passing the O.S triangulation point and proceeding steadily towards a possible rendezvous with St. Peter! Clavell’s Tower on the coast should be in sight.

Follow this wondrous high level route until it joins a road. (The hamlet of Steeple together with its church, will be observed along the downward section). Reaching the road turn left towards a road junction, then cross a stile and descend towards the left side of the church graveyard. Several Clavell headstones evident.

Continue straight ahead to pass through Kimmeridge - a village of mainly thatched houses. Tea rooms on left near the grey telephone box.

Stick with the road (becomes a toll road for vehicles) beyond the village and onwards towards the coast. When confronted with an array of signs ignore them, but turn right at the next opportunity - signposted - toilets. Next look for a signpost partially hidden in the bushes to your right side (Quay and Information Centre) and descend some steps to emerge into a boatyard. This is the quay. Lobster pots etc. Note the “nodding donkey” associated with oil extraction situated across the bay.

Exit the boatyard area to climb the steps opposite to arrive at Clavell’s Tower, built as a folly in 1831, two years before his death, by the Revd. John Clavell, who resided at nearby Smedmore House.

Continue to follow the coastal path towards, but not quite to - Chapman’s Pool. Along the way, beneath the cliffs are the exposed flat bedrocks known as Kimmeridge Ledges. These provide valuable feeding grounds for the hundreds of sea birds hereabouts. Also note the teasels along the cliff top.

The steepest climb comes shortly after passing a waterfall that empties into the sea at a place known as Egmont Bight. Here there’s a secluded beach.

After the strenuous ascent rest a while at the Michael Byrne memorial seat to savour the delights of the coastline. Depart from the coastal path by crossing the nearby stile to overview the Encombe valley once again. Enter the woodland and proceed straight on, soon merging with a wide track. Turn right and right again (signpost Kingston ½ mile) and return to the car-park.

Kimmeridge is founded on rock formed in Jurassic times (180-135 million years ago) known as Kimmeridge clay and is a mecca for geologists. These rocks run across England between Yorkshire and Dorset then onwards beneath the Channel to France and the Jura mountains. According to the experts, Chablis can only be produced on land drained by Kimmeridge clay!

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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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