Studland Bay, Purbeck (Swanage is a different town and Purbeck is a district in Dorset)
How about planning your next trip to the coast of southwest England? Let’s zoom in, a little, into the Dorset county, then to the Purbeck district and then, a little more, into to the Studland Bay. Seen from a bird’s perspective, mostly different variations of colors green and blue appear. It almost looks like there is nothing there, except for wild and raw nature. When you do your internet research of the area, words like dunes, sea rocket, chalk formations, naturist beach, and psammosere pop out. By the way, psammosere is an ecological succession that started life on newly exposed coastal sand, with dunes being the most common ones. All these things, and more, are to be found in this amazing landscape.
Studland Bay is a small town, in Purbeck district, around 2 miles north of Swanage town. This whole area has an unbelievable nature display. In any season, one can find true love in this bay. Love towards nature, serenity, someone else, or just life. Whether you are an outdoor activity type, watersports kind of person, a walker, a nudist, a book worm or just a hedonist, who likes to have a casual beer and a sandwich on the beach, Studland Bay will stun you, for sure.
When you take a walk on the beach, it seems as though you could walk endlessly. Coming from the north to the south, the beach is one long line but, the landscape changes. On the north peak, the so-called Shell Bay is located. If you decide to stick here and enjoy the view, take a walk or eat in a fish restaurant, you probably don’t need to book that holiday in the Mediterranean, you had in mind. Crystal clear water, sand, and some boats wiggling there, on the sun are what awaits you. Heading towards the south you will approach the Knoll Beach, followed by the Studland Nudist Beach, Middle and then, the South Beach, obviously in the south. From here, the landscape completely changes, and, looking towards the south you will see the area, where foreland begins. Among the rocks between the incredible wall, built by nature, and the sea there are also huge Old Harry Rocks, standing in the sea. They look as though they are here to stay and have always been there. The truth is, nature has its dynamic and it has changed a lot, over the years and it still does. In nature, everything moves and never sleeps. Wildlife, birds, and reptiles are quite domestic here.
Since the bay area and the beaches are managed and protected by the National Trust, priorities have changed, and massive tourism is replaced by sustainable management of the ecosystem and traditionally run agriculture, with less invasive methods used. Studland Heath and Godlingston Heath is a National Nature Reserve, also owned and managed by the National Trust. There is also a freshwater lake here, called Little Sea. No wonder this area is protected by the Site of Special Scientific Interest and Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Dune heath, a rare habitat is found in the Studland area. This is where land and shoreline meet, and a combined ecosystem is created.
As if dune heath is not specific enough, wetlands are part of the Studland landscape, as well. They are one of the most important and protection needed landscapes, as they are pretty rare and important for the ecosystem. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, being home to a wide range of flora and fauna. If you want to stay dry and take a walk in the wood, Purbeck hosts ancient woodlands, as a contrast to the wetlands and dunes.
Going to the west, deeper into the land you can find a 5,2-meter-high and 400 tones weighing stone, called Agglestone Rock, also known as the Devil’s Anvil. It is standing on a mound-like it fell there from the sky. In the seventies, the stone toppled to the side. Due to this and to the erosion, the rock lost its devilish anvil-appearance. It still looks pretty impressive, though. During the Second World War, before the D-day, this area was used for military training for the British army, as a part of British anti-invasion preparations. In contrast to this serious impression of the Bay, episodes of Monty Python and Only Fools and Horses were filmed here, as well as the famous video for Coldplay’s song Yellow.
If you search for accommodation in Studland, more than 100 hotels appear. Most of them are highly rated. With a very diverse price range, you can find rooms for approximately 80 Euros per Room (40 pp.). You can find a more affordable, as well. And if you want some more luxury, well, there is also room for that.
Our overall impression is – as much as the rooms and accommodations in Studland can be cozy and romantic, you will be spending, most of your time, outside. When you return to your room, exhausted, but relaxed, you will sleep like a baby. After breathing wonderful fresh air, in this charming little bay, who wouldn’t?