We stayed overnight in the Pines Hotel. Leaving via the back gate we were straight onto the coast path. The weather forecast was very bad, promising prolonged spells of rain and only occasional sunny periods. It was sunny briefly before the first heavy shower and we put on all our rainwear. It was over after a few more minutes. By that time we had climbed to Ballard Down from where a gentle walk leads down to Old Harry Rocks.Old Harry Rocks.
These are chalk sea stacks with natural arches which are the western remains of a long gone chalk seam which stretched from the Needles on the Isle of Wight. An open track leads to the outskirts of Studland village and then the path joins the sandy beach at Middle Beach where we stopped at the café. There is another café, toilets and gift shop, run by the NT another mile up the coast. The last few miles of the whole SWCP is now along the firm sand of Studland Bay, passing inland dunes and heath. It was cold and windy so no nudists were around, only kids on a field trip squealing as they competed to get their feet wet. Further on, the beach was deserted apart from gulls and oyster catchers. We reached South Haven Point and the rather unremarkable SWCP Path End Marker just one week less than five years after we left Minehead.
Dunes at South Haven Point.
After a few obligatory photographs we got straight onto the (free) chain ferry to take us across Poole harbour mouth to Sandbanks, where we stayed at the Haven Hotel, right by the ferry terminal.
Book recommendations for this region:
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.