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Swyre Head

Walk with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast

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Swyre Head Jurassic Coast, Purbeck Dorset

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If you are looking for a lovely countryside and coastal walk then don’t miss a trip to Swyre Head nead to the Purbeck village of Kingston.

Stunning views of the Jurassic Coast

At 682 feet / 208 metres, Swyre Head is the highest point of the Purbeck Hills.  It is a stunning place to enjoy a walk or bike ride, with absolutely spectacular views over the Dorset countryside and  Jurassic Coast.

A short, hilly walk through farmland and country paths takes you to the top of Swyre Head hill where you can enjoy extensive views of the Jurassic Coast towards Kimmeridge and the Isle of Portland to the west. Look out for the Clavell Tower near Kimmeridge bay. To the east you can see, St Aldhelm’s head, Poole Harbour and the Isle of Wight. Look out for Corfe Castle in the distance too.

Ancient Burial Mound at Swyre Head

The highest point on the hill is a small earth mound or barrow. A scheduled ancient monument, the burial mound dates from the Late Neolithic period to the late Bronze Age.

The area is a great place for a picnic. There are a couple of benches or you can sit on the grass.

Other landmarks to look out for a Swyre Head

Encome House

Look out for the privately owned Grade II listed 18th century house on your left as you walk up. The estate dates back to 948, when it was given to the Abbess of Shaftesbury by King Eadred. It was dissolved by Henry VIII and eventually passed into the hands of the Culliford family. In 1734 the estate was bought by George Pitt who passed the property to his son John, who pulled down the existing house and replaced it with a new Purbeck stone one of his own Classical design, which survives today.

Swyre Head –  site of Dorset’s worst ever air crash in WW2

On way up to Swyre Head look out for the WW2Purbeck stone memorial bench. The bench commemorates those killed in two separate WW2  air crashes. The first on the 18th March, 1938, when the RAF Swordfish Mark One aircraft from RAF Gosport crashed during poor visibility. The crash happened near to Encombe House. The resident of Encombe House, the Hon. Sir Ernest S. Scott, heard the crash and with some of his employees rushed to help but was unable to render assistance to the crash victims and tragically three people lost their lives. 

Encombe House was to witness Dorsets worst ever air crash disaster in June 15, 1945. The RAF Liberator Mark Four aircraft from RAF Transport Command’s 232 Squadron took off from an base in the New Forest, bound for India. Poor weather and technical issues caused the crew to attempt a return to base. Sadly they crashed near to the Polar Wood. After an extensive search it became clear that the 27 crew and passengers had lost their lives. 

Useful information about Swyre Head

Getting there: If walking the nearest village with a bus stop is Kingston. By car you can park (for free) at the Sheep Pen Car park on the Encombe estate, which is just a short drive from the village of Kingston.

There a no public toilets or refreshment facilities. The nearest village is Kingston where refreshments are available at The Scott Arms or Kingston Country Courtyard

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Swyre Head, Kingston

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