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Durlston Country Park
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Discover the Enchanting Beauty of Durlston Country Park near Swanage, Dorset, England

Nestled on the picturesque coastline of Dorset, England, just a stone's throw away from the charming town of Swanage lies the Durlston Country Park nature reserve. With its breathtaking coastal views, diverse wildlife, and rich heritage, this expansive park offers a sanctuary for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.

A Coastal Paradise

Durlston Country Park boasts a stunning coastal setting overlooking the glistening waters of the English Channel. A part of the Jurassic Coast world heritage site, explore the park's 320 acres of unspoiled natural beauty. You'll be treated to panoramic vistas of dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and the vast expanse of the sea. The sight is mesmerizing, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquillity and grandeur of the surroundings.

Abundant Wildlife

Nature enthusiasts will find Durlston Country Park a haven of biodiversity. The park is home to many wildlife species, including rare and protected ones. As you wander along the park's well-maintained trails, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of playful dolphins, graceful seabirds, and even the elusive peregrine falcon. The varied habitats, including meadows, woodlands, and the coastline, provide a thriving ecosystem that is a delight to explore and observe.

Heritage and History

Beyond its natural wonders, Durlston Country Park also has a rich historical and cultural significance. Set up in the 1970s after being selected to be Dorset's first country park; the location had been used as a recreation area since the Victorian times.

The Globe

The Globe can be found south of Durlston Castle, down a long flight of steps. The stone sphere is 10 feet in diameter and weighs 40 tons. It was built by John Mowlems' Greenwich Works and brought to Durlston in sections. It was erected 139 ft above sea level in 1887, surrounded by stone tablets.

Durlston Castle

The park is crowned by the iconic Durlston Castle, built in the 19th century by local businessman and builder George Burt, as a monument for the town. The castle is built on Durlston Head and is used as a restaurant. The corbel-turreted building is constructed completely from local stone. Surrounding the castle are stone tablets inscribed with various statistics and poetry.

Inside, you can delve into the park's heritage through interactive displays, exhibits, and informative presentations that shed light on the area's geological past, wildlife conservation efforts, and the castle's role in protecting the coastline during both world wars.

Exhibits include:

  • A fossil room.
  • Audio-visual room.
  • Live wildlife cameras.
  • A rooftop terrace with views over the area.

You can also buy guides, maps, books, souvenirs, food, and drink. A Ranger is always on duty to help you make the most of your trip to Durlston.

Opening Hours of the Castle

November - March every day: 10:00 - 16:00 (except Christmas and Boxing Day) 1st April - 31st October every day: 10.00-17.00

Trails and Exploration

The park offers an extensive network of well-marked trails, allowing visitors to explore its diverse landscapes at their own pace. From leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, there is something for everyone. The Durlston Castle Circular Walk is a popular choice, offering stunning vistas and the chance to spot rare butterflies and wildflowers. For those seeking a coastal adventure, the Durlston to Dancing Ledge trail takes you on a breathtaking cliffside journey, offering spectacular views and the opportunity to witness the power of the crashing waves.

Educational Experiences

Durlston Country Park is dedicated to environmental education and provides a range of activities and programs for visitors of all ages. Families can participate in guided nature walks, workshops, and engaging events that foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world. The park's knowledgeable staff and volunteers are always ready to share their expertise and enthusiasm, ensuring an enriching experience.

Visitor Amenities

To enhance your visit, Durlston Country Park offers a range of amenities, including a café serving delicious refreshments, picnic areas, and well-maintained restroom facilities. Whether seeking a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic or craving a cup of tea after an exhilarating hike, the park caters to your needs, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit.


Dogs are welcome in the park and the castle, but please keep them on a lead or under close control outside. Clear up after them. We have provided nine bins to help you. Please keep them on a lead in the Castle and Café.

Contact Details

You can contact Durlston Country Park by any of the following:

Durlston Country Park,
Lighthouse Road,
Swanage, Dorset,
BH19 2JL

Telephone: (01929) 424443
Fax: (01929) 424443
Web: www.durlston.co.uk

Durlston Country Park
Click to view Dry Stone Walls - Ref: 1189
Click to view The Two Bays from Durlston Bay - Ref: 1310
Click to view The Globe - Ref: 1399
Click to view Durlston Castle - Ref: 1400
Click to view Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 1511
Click to view Old farm machinery - Ref: 1681
Click to view Peacock butterfly - Ref: 1690
Click to view Badger and Bluebells - Ref: 2196



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