DATE(S) OF TRIP: We've done this many times. Most recently 28/6/03 and 6/7/03.

WHERE?: It's on the Dorset Coast, being the eastern edge of the 'Isle' of Purbeck and the western edge of Bournemouth Bay. Map.

LAUNCH SPOTS: You can only get to the sea by road at the beginning and end.

Swanage - various parking possibilities, perhaps best to park at and launch near the carpark on the hill just past the Peveril Pub, the far right of Swanage's seafront if looking out to sea.

Studland - there are a number of National Trust carparks on Studland Beach. Another possibility (the nearest to Old Harry Rocks and the first you reach) is to park at the BBankes Arms in Studland and walk several hundred yards to access the beach.

DISTANCE/ TIME: 3 miles. About an hour is needed to explore en route.

LOCAL TIDES: There is a strong flow going north on the flow, and south on the ebb.

HAZARDS/ PROBLEMS: Old Harry Rocks form a sizeable tidal race off the far point. This can be avoided by sneaking through the rocks.

Studland Bay is popular for jetskiing, waterskiing, etc...it can be very busy.

ROUTE TAKEN: Crossing Swanage Bay is a bit tedious, but once you reach the chalk cliffs of Ballard Point things get interesting. For half a mile you pass a spectacular sections of cliffs, caves, arches and stacks. Old Harry Rocks are the most interesting, with numerous nooks and crannies to explore.

Photos from this trip here


OTHER NOTES: This can be down easily as a round trip. Another option - and a pleasant one - is to walk back from Studland along the clifftops.

This is an excellent easy but interesting sea trip for novices; you are only 'exposed' for about a mile.