Day 029: Bournemouth to Worth Matravers

Distance: 20.31 miles

Ascent: 3862 feet

Weather: Sunny, Morning/Early Afternoon, Light Rain LAte Afternoon

Accommodation: The Square anD Compass, pitched in Beer Garden  


So, I was dropped of by Katie and Rachel at Boscombe Pier, where I had finished before the rest day. They went to park the car whilst I, bathed in glorious sunshine though a little cold, set of on the walk. After passing Bournemouth Pier, I re-met up with Katie and Rachel, and we had a coffee and a croissant which is far more civilised that my walk normally is before all three of us set of along the promenade.  

We dropped down onto the beach at Sandbanks. Sandbanks is a strange conundrum for me, it is quite a nice place, but I have passed much nicer on the walk already, so why does this small spit demand such a price tag. It is something I will never understand, a bit like high end art where for no apparent reason certain pieces are worth millions whereas others are a tenth of the price.

We hopped on the chain ferry for the short trip across the harbour entrance, and on disembarking we reached a milestone of my walk. As this is the beginning of the South West Coast Path which I will be following for the next 630 miles (or maybe more depending on diversions.) It really did feel like a new chapter of the walk had begun.

We followed the beautiful dune edged beach, still bathed in sun, all the way round to Studland. At Studland the path heads up onto the cliffs, and we were soon at Old Harrys Rocks, an impressive chalk stack and stump. The path continued along the cliffs all the way to Swanage.

At Swanage we found a lovely little café (Java) where we had a fairly leisurely lunch as we had made good progress in the morning and everything seemed to be going smoothly. After lunch we separated, after I had thanked Katie for so overly spoiling me with a bed, cooking, and treating me to things, and I was of on my own.

Then almost immediately the terrain got much harder, there were climbs and descents but these weren’t to bad it was the ridiculous muddiness of the path, which at times was really tough going. It slowed me down significantly and made all parts of the leg (ankles, knees, hips) ache. On top of this the wind was getting up and it was starting to rain.

The clifftop path took me passed Durlston Head Castle, Tilly Whim Caves & The Dancing Ledge before I reached Winspit Quarry, which had been where I expected to wild camp for the night. But when I got there I had no signal, so decided to climb the 1 mile up to the little village where there was a pub.

On reaching the pub I was shocked to find literally hundreds of people inside and outside the Square and Compass Pub. It became apparent pretty quickly that this was a funeral wake, but everyone insisted the pub was still open and I should go in. Unfortunately, the pub had no wi-fi (and I still had no signal), but they very kindly let me camp in their beer garden. I rested in the pub for a little while, but it was so busy I could not sit, and as I felt a little like I was gatecrashing, I went to my tent early and fell asleep almost immediately.

A successful day, and one that was very enjoyable especially walking with Katie and Rachel and even the mud late in the day didn’t put a dampener on it.

charles compton