Saint Aldhelms: part of Dorset's Jurassic Coast

Saint Aldhelms Head is the most southerly point of the Isle of Purbeck on the Jurassic Coast To get to it by car turn right onto B3069 just after you leave Corfe Castle as you drive towards Swanage.

The village of Worth Matravers is signposted to the right after you have driven through Kingston.

Drive through Worth Matravers past Weston Farm until you reach a T junction.Turm left here and look for a car park on the right after about 50m.

If you head due south from the car park for a mile you will eventually come to the cliff top which offers great views both east to the Isle of Wight and west to Clavell Tower You will notice a small chapel near the coast guard look out station. Saint Aldhelm's Chapel origins are lost in time.The first mention is in the reign of Henry III (1216-1272) when a stipend of 50 shillings was paid to the royal chaplin there.It is though that the chapel was used by many Kings as Purbeck was often used as a royal hunting ground.

It ceased to be used as a chapel during the reign of Edward VI and it is thought it became used as a defence capability for Corfe Castle as similar construction details are found both at the chapel and the Castle.

Regular services were resumed at Saint Aldhelms towards the end of the 19th Century but this dropped to only occaisional services in the 20th.Today services are held on the last two evenings of July and every Sunday evening in August.This is proving popular with both locals and visitors.I have to say it is dark inside with only one small slit of a window,again suggesting it's defensive uses.

A new alter , made from local stone, was installed in 2005.The stone was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams on 4th June of that year.

After leaving the chapel you can go west towards Chapman's Pool the next bay along the coast , by following the South West Coastal Path but this involves descending steep steps down to sea level and then all the way back up again to the same height you were before.

To avoid this go back to the car park and walk along the footpath that goes due west from the car park until you reach a gate.

chapmans pool

Past this gate is a steep path down to Chapman's Pool which if you want peace and quiet is ideal as few people are game to attempt the descent.Add to that the thought of climbing out again!

Still if you do go down the beach is a mixture of sand and shingle and is good for fossil hunting.There are a few fisherman's huts at the east end of the beach.

Enjoy the tranquility.

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