Just 15 minutes from my house, Corfe Castle is one of my local spots to get out and about, experiencing the countryside with a dose of history.
If you’ve never been, you really are missing out. Whatever the weather, any season, it just feels magical. Like you can really feel the history it holds. The things those walls have witnessed. Centuries of daily life, battles and bloodshed, now sits peacefully nestled between the two Purbeck ridges.
The best way to arrive at the castle is on foot, the views of it from the ridges are spectacular. I always try to avoid parking in the village itself, although there are two car parks, one at the bottom of the hill the other nearer the square, but they get busy early on, especially in the summer months. Why not make a day of it and park somewhere on the ridges, maybe Creech Grange (check the road is open before) and walk down to the village. You can enjoy unrivalled views of the Purbeck countryside, but make sure you’ve saved some energy for the climb into the castle itself.
The village (which shares the name of the castle) is a picture perfect Dorset village. If you’ve paid to park put plenty of time on the car, as you’ll want to enjoy a wander round the square, with an ice cream parlour and plenty of pubs. The main road through the village is the route to Swanage, a popular seaside resort, so it can get clogged up in the summer. Picnics are welcome anywhere in the castle grounds, and there’s a great bakery next to the ticket office if you’re peckish.
Through the square you’ll find the main entrance to the castle. Take a moment to look at the timeline, it gives you an idea of the history and there’s not many notices around so if you like detail grab a guide book. Up and over the drawbridge, you really feel as though you are part of the history, you get a sense of all those who have gone before you.
If you go in the summer there’s usually events on daily, from tudor cookery to medieval medicine. Check out what’s coming up here. There’s always a children’s trail and often dressing up or other entertainment!
As you ascend there’s plenty to explore, before the view takes hold. When you’ve finally made it to the keep, you’ll be able to see all the way across the countryside to Poole harbour on a clear day.
Turn around and you’ll enjoy views across the Isle of Purbeck to the coast. You may even be able to spot the steam train.
It really does take your breath away.