Purbeck Loop

Ride: Peter Gostelow

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is home to some of the UK’s most spectacular coastal views, including the stretch from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove, but it’s also facing some of the nation’s worst coastal erosion. Peter’s route takes in the scenery this area is famous for - rolling hills and stunning sea vistas – on an epic full-day loop.

If you’re travelling by train, jump off at Wool station – which has direct links through to London Waterloo hourly. From here, you’re about 10 metres from the access path for the route down to the Isle of Purbeck. Here the roads are quite flat and pretty quiet, so a great easy introduction to the route.

As you ride down towards Purbeck you’ll pass through Hartland Moor National Nature Reserve If you have a hybrid or mountain bike, this is a great place to use the off-road tracks and ride across some great paths through the grassy hills.

I’d recommend taking a detour for about 1km and heading to Arne Beach; the views are pretty amazing as you head down to the coast. On this route you’ll also pass through the RSPB’s Arne Reserve, which is home to many rare plants and animal species.

From here on, the views get pretty great. From Arne Beach you’ll head towards Studland Beach – definitely try and ride to Old Harry’s Rocks, where the view is world-famous. Then ride down a coastal path into the seaside town of Swanage (where there’s a particularly good beach if you fancy a swim!) and then back inland to Worth Matravers. For those wanting to split their ride up, there are some good camping spots round here you could try.

Those who want to complete the loop in one day should follow the narrow bike roads west to Kimmeridge. There’s a technically challenging climb here, up Smedmore Hill, with lots of ruts, flint and rocks to keep you concentrating whilst your legs are burning.

Once you get to Lulworth Estate, you’ll hit all the great views that make this cycle so worthwhile as you drop down into Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. These are easily accessible from the small roads – although they’re very touristy and popular with local cyclists, so be prepared for some crowds. The roads here get quite hilly, but nothing too intense. For the coastal path you’ll definitely need a gravel bike, hybrid or mountain bike.

After that, it’s about a 45-minute ride inland, back up to Wool where you can grab a well-deserved cake and coffee in the village, before hopping back on the train.

about the rider

Peter Gostelow is always happy when exploring new places on two wheels. Back before apps and GPS trackers, Peter relied on paper maps to clock up more than 100,000km on the road – cycling from Japan to England and England to South Africa.


beauty in the balance

Dorset is shrinking – warming seas, reduced oxygen and ocean acidification and sea-level rise are affecting the entire coast.
It is predicted sea levels will rise by 1.3m over the next 100 years.
In 2021, 4,000 tonnes of rock, covering 300m of cliff on the Jurassic Coast, collapsed into the sea in the biggest UK rockfall in 60 years.


what to see and do

Lulworth Cove

Stop off here at low tide and check out the rock pools teeming with barnacles, crabs and anemones.

Durdle Door

No trip to Dorset is complete without stopping here. A perfect place for a quick dip.

Square & Compass

You have to stop at this pub in Worth Matravers for its famous £4 pasty and a pint.

Swanage

There’s a great farmers’ market here if you happen to catch it (every second Saturday of the month).

ride guide: the who, what & where

for a pitstop

Café Oasis for chilled beach vibes.

for repairs & maintenance

The Velo Lounge Workshop is just by Wool station, so a great place to check your tyres before you head off.

meet the locals

West Dorset Cycling Club has been riding since 1926 and hosts the Dorset Dirt off-road ride once a month.

stay the night

Those who want to break up the route should try Weston Dairy Campsite in Worth Matravers.


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