Durlston Country Park is a nature reserve on the coast south of Swanage (grid ref SZ 03 77).
The park covers 320 acres of land that is home to many different species of animals, birds and reptiles. The area is popular with bird watchers and people coming to watch the dolphins that swim in the seas to the south and east of the park.
Set up in the 1970s after it was selected to be Dorset first country park, the area had been used since Victorian times as a recreation area.
The Park is open all year round, from sunrise to sunset.
The attractions within the park include the Stone Globe and Durlston Castle.
The Globe can be found to the 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.
Built in 1886, Durlston Castle was built by 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 built completely from local stone. Surrounding the castle are stone tablets inscribed with various statistics and poetry.
The visitor centre at Durlston Castle has a number of exhibits including:
- 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 and 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
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 9 bins to help you. Keep them on a lead in the Castle and Café.
You can contact Durlston Country Park by any of the following:
Durlston Country Park,
Telephone: (01929) 424443
Fax: (01929) 424443