Set within the Dorset AONB on the Isle of Purbeck, the chalk stacks known as Old Harry Rocks mark the start of the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Carved by millions of years of erosion by the sea, these stark white chalk stacks are a real tourist attraction.

The name Old Harry actually refers to the single stack of chalk standing furthest out to sea.

Until 1896 there was another stack known as Old Harry’s Wife, but erosion caused her to tumble into the sea, leaving just a stump.

Thousands of years ago, Old Harry and The Needles (another chalk rock formation) on the Isle of Wight were linked by a line of chalk hills that eroded away during the last ice age.

On a clear day you can see The Needles from Studland Bay.


Studland is the best starting point for walks to Old Harry Rocks.

A bridleway along the cliff edge between Studland and Swanage gives stunning views of Old Harry and the surrounding area.

A short 3,5-mile circular will take you along the ridge towards the cliffs with great views of Old Harry Rocks.

Approximately 200 metres from Old Harry Rocks, you will encounter the Pinnacles, two other chalk formations.

The walk continues up the hill following the coastline to the summit of Ballard Down.

From Ballard Down you can either head back to Studland via Glebeland Estate or you can continue on the Purbeck Way towards Godlingston Heath.

In the middle of the heathland, you’ll come across the Agglestone Rock, also known as the Devil’s Anvil.

The path will lead you back to the National Trust Carpark next to the Bankes Arms.

From Ballard Down you can also follow the Purbeck Way all the way to Corfe Castle. A 6,5-mile linear walk.

Images by Cool Places Britain
Purbeck Way

The Purbeck Way is a long-distance route through varied scenery including riverside, heathland, woodland and downland.

It takes in Corfe Castle, the Purbeck Hills and the dramatic Dorset coast.

The trail is linked with the Wareham Forest Way at Wareham.

There are so many other paths you can take including the South West Coast Path, which traces the outline of the Isle of Purbeck and runs all the way to Minehead in Somerset.

Cool Places to Explore: Swanage Railway | Corfe Castle | Studland Nature Reserve | Hartland Moor Nature Reserve | RSPB Arne.

Cool Places to Eat: The PIG at the Beach.