Durlston Park:George Burt's folly

To the south of Swanage lies Durlston Park and it's castle both built by George Burt.They can be reached by road from Swanage town centre or the South West Coastal Path if you want to walk it. The hill is steep though!

Once there you find ample parking for which there is a charge, and a short walk down to the castle,though it is not a real one.Built in 1887/8,it's intended use was as a restaurant, the upper floors were offered to LLoyds as a signal station but the offer was never taken up.

The building has now been upgraded using Lottery Fund Money and is a big improvement from what it was.There is an new entrance path which is like a walk through the history of the earth from 4.5 billion years ago to the present which is reached when you get to the front door.

Remember you are on the Jurassic Coast Once in the castle there is a new visitors centre and shop.As you exit the back of the shop you will see a spiral stair case that leads up to a room with all round views of the coast from Weymouth across to the Isle of Wight.

A restaurant/cafe is now open which was very busy when I was there and that was February 2012.I and my family had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat.It will be much busier in summer.

You can then go downstairs a new multi media display area has been created along with another room which was being used to display the work of a local artist when I was there.

There is a constantly repeating HD screen showing the history of the area.

Oh entry is free.I'll post some pics after my next visit as last time it was a monsoon.

Very disabled friendly.Lots of ramps and lifts/elevators.

The Globe

As you move out of the art gallery, down the hill towards the cliff top,you arrive at the Great Gbobe a huge stone globe weighing 40 tons and built at Burt's Greenwich stone yard.

globe-at-durlston-castle

The stone used is Portland and was made in 15 segments all held together by a granite dowel.Again it seems an odd thing to build and visitors done' know quite what to make of it.It just shows well.... the world.

Once down at the cliif top you are on the South West Coastal Path which offer great views out to sea.Wildlife is in abundance here,such as Gannets & Brent Geese.

Keep walking west and you will arrive at Anvil Point Lighthouse.This is open to the public on a few specific days in the year.Call the Lighthouse on 07818 268191 for the dates in 2009. A family ticket is £6.

anvil-point

A steep walk back up the hill from the lighthouse will bring you to the Durlston Park visitor's centre which offers information about the park.Tea and coffee is for sale.

A small pond has been created to the west of the centre to attract local bird life.A bird hide now attached to the visitor centre allows keen twitchers to get close.

The centre is open every day April to November 10am to 5pm ; weekends and school holidays the rest of the time 10am to 430pm.

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