Despite Studland being one of the busiest tourist spots in Dorset, this route takes you away from the crowds across the quietly stunning heathlands that sit behind the famous beaches, right next door to RSPB Arne. If you’ve been watching Springwatch, you may just be feeling inspired to get out on those wild heatghlands yourself.
Don’t be put off by the outlined length of the route – it’s truly endlessly adaptable. Tracks and paths criss-cross the whole area, meaning you can chop it to any length you choose.
There are very few public footpaths across RSPB Arne itself (understandably so), but that doesn’t mean the area can’t be explored. It is surrounded by beautiful heathland – and as the crowds all head to the beaches the heathlands generally remain peaceful even in the height of the season.
We walked the route on a hot Saturday in May; the roads towards Studland were busy enough, but if you’re planning on a visit during July and August, or a weekend in June and September, we’d suggest making an early start to avoid the traffic. We parked easily on the roadside – but again, we suspect this will be trickier in-season.
The scenery and views are surprisingly varied along the route – the wide open gorse-filled heathland gives way to tall pine forests, and there are also sections through lush farmland, deciduous forest paths, one section gives a wonderful view of Corfe Castle and there of course plenty of stunning sea views across Poole Harbour.
The route itself is incredibly simple – all the paths are clearly marked, and it’s almost entirely flat walking. The final section is a gentle incline, but not one you really notice, even after 11 miles, as the views across the sea are so spectacular!
Do take lots of water on a hot day – there are some pleasantly shady sections, but also long stretches on open heathland which gives glorious views, but no respite from the sun.
Parts of the route are on popular cycle paths, so do keep an ear out for those.
And after a lot of rain the section before Sharford Bridge becomes quite boggy, so be prepared!