A collection of pretty stone cottages sits huddled together around a tiny village green, complete with duckpond and a leafy garden where one of the most enjoyable pastimes is simply to sit and enjoy the tranquillity of it all. Sleepy Worth Matravers seems to have been frozen in time and is all the better for it. From the hubbub of friendly chitter-chatter in the welcoming Worth Matravers tearooms, to the programme of events at the village hall, there’s a feeling of community which has all but been lost elsewhere in the UK.
Whilst doing nothing is definitely an acceptable activity in this relaxed little enclave, there are an array of walks and places to visit nearby when the mood takes you. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in this unspoilt part of the world, take a look at our cottages in Worth Matravers, and if you need an excuse to book, read on for our top things to do…
1. Worth Matravers Walks
Seacome to Winspit, 3 miles: A short, circular walk from the village takes you through the Seacombe Valley to the coast where the vestiges of old stone quarries, including caves and machinery foundations, are visible as you skirt around to Winspit Quarry. Here, some of the underground galleries can be explored (at your own risk). Doctor Who fans may recall the caves being featured in several episodes. Some of the caves are home to Greater Horseshoe bats and have been closed off to protect them from being disturbed.
St Adhelm’s Head, 4.9 miles: This walk can be tacked on to the above route if you’re looking for a longer ramble, or enjoyed alone to take in the beautiful limestone headland of St Adhelm’s Head. Setting out along the final section of the above route, the circular walk meets the coast at Winspit Quarry and continues on around the headland, taking in the radar-dish sculpture, St Adhelm’s Chapel and the azure waters of Chapman’s Pool. Heading back to Worth Matravers, you’ll descend into a steep-sided valley and then pass Swanworth Quarries, famous for their fossilised dinosaur footprints.
Scratch Arse Ware and Dancing Ledge, 3.5 miles: Arguably the most amusing name of any walk, this wonderful route offers up astonishing sea views and some beautiful countryside to boot. Passing through ware (land used for rough grazing), the walk meets the coast path and follows it round to Dancing Ledge. This is a flat area of rock which gains its name from the jiggling movement of water at certain stages of the tide. The ledge was once used to load quarried Purbeck stone into small ships for distribution, and later a section was blasted out to make a swimming pool.
South West Coast Path: Strike out in either direction along the coast from Worth Matravers and you’ll find meandering paths along scenic clifftops. Heading northwards around Studland, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of Old Harry Rocks along what is the final stretch of the South West Coast Path. In the opposite direction lies Kimmeridge and Lulworth Cove, a 14.5-mile stretch which involves challenging ups and downs, taking in Corfe Castle, sweeping bays and the Lulworth Ranges.
2. Chapman’s Pool
High cliffs surround this almost unnatural-looking horseshoe-shaped cove tucked into a crook beside St Aldhelm’s Head. A tricky spot to get to, due to its geography, the closest parking place is Renscombe car park (1 mile). Chapman’s Pool has been compared to Lulworth Cove – lacking the amenities and crowds but making up for the challenge of getting there with its unspoilt attractiveness. Scramble down into the cove and you’ll be greeted by a rocky beach lapped by cerulean waters, the perfect spot to rest for the climb back up!
3. Corfe Castle
Things to do in Worth Matravers don’t get much better than a visit to iconic Corfe Castle, which has stood strong through ten centuries of colourful history. As you explore the romantic castle ruins, you'll learn about the castle’s use as a royal palace, how it survived the English Civil War, and gory tales of murder and treason. It’s not just for history buffs though; there are lots of activities for children too. The Saxon Rune Challenge, 1,000 Years of History Castle Quest, and the National Trust’s 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾ challenge all bring the castle alive for its youngest visitors.
4. St Nicholas of Myra Church
One of the oldest churches in Dorset, St Nicholas of Myra Church is of historic importance and has many intriguing features making it worth a visit. In the graveyard is the grave of Benjamin Justy, a farmer who was thought to have been the first person to use cowpox as a vaccine against smallpox, despite Dr Edward Jenner being credited for the discovery years after.
5. Spyway Dinosaur Footprints
Probably one of the National Trust’s oldest sites, Keates Quarry (accessed from the Spyway car park) exhibits more than 100 preserved fossilised tracks made by dinosaurs more than 140 million years ago. Brachiosaurs are the most likely beasts to have created the footprints, at a time when Purbeck was an unrecognisable landscape of coastal forests and swamps. There’s not much at the historic site, just a notice board explaining how the footprints came to be, and, of course, the fossilised footprints themselves.
6. Burngate Stone Carving Centre
An interesting pitstop for creative visitors to Purbeck, Burngate Stone Carving Centre offers stone-carving tuition and rural craft courses for people of all ages and abilities throughout the year. Go home having learnt a new skill in friendly surroundings – booking is essential. In the permanent gallery, you can admire the sculptures and art and crafts which are exhibited by local artists and craftspeople, and enjoy refreshments in the friendly tearoom. Tea, coffee, homemade Dorset apple cake, local ice cream and snacks are all available.
7. Putlake Adventure Farm
Putlake Adventure Farm advertises itself as the only indoor soft play area in Swanage – words you’ll be pleased to hear on a rainy day if you’re the parent of a 0 to 10-year-old bundle of energy! The huge soft play area is an adventure zone of slides, ball pools, tunnels and mazes. Putlake is a working farm too, so if the weather fines up, head out to meet the cows, ponies, alpacas, lambs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and more! The tearoom is the perfect spot to enjoy a bite to eat and drink while the children play.
Take a daytrip to Swanage (4 miles) to revel in a traditional beach day, complete with ice creams, sandcastle building and seashell collecting. The gently sloping golden sands are patrolled by seasonal lifeguards and the safe bathing zone is perfect for introducing little ones to paddling or taking a refreshing dip! The pleasant promenade, vibrant beach huts and elegant Victorian pier all add to the seaside charm, while the Swanage Railway provides yet more nostalgia for your day out.
Plenty of eateries catering for all tastes are dotted throughout the town, and evening entertainment is taken care of in the form of pubs, live music, a theatre and cinema, as well as many other live events. Don’t miss Swanage Museum for an insight into the area’s history, from the Jurassic age all the way through to more recent history and its growth into a seaside resort.
9. Dorset Adventure Park
Adrenaline-seekers look no further; Dorset Adventure Park is the place to be if you like wet and wild adventure set amongst beautiful scenery. The 'Total Wipeout'-style waterpark is perfect for energetic families, with an array of challenging obstacles across two lifeguarded lakes. If that sounds too much like good clean fun, brave the Mud Trail Assault Course where you’re guaranteed to emerge covered in mud from head to toe. All this action takes place in the shadow of historic Corfe Castle.
10. Eat out
If you’re on the hunt for Worth Matravers pubs, you won’t be disappointed by The Square & Compass. Offering a mouthwatering selection of pasties and pies to be washed down with an award-winning beer or home-pressed cider, it's a welcoming spot to spend a relaxing couple of hours.
If you’re after something a little lighter, head for Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room which has a mouthwatering menu which includes delicious lunches, vintage afternoon teas and tasty evening meals.
Other things to do close to Worth Matravers
Stay in a Worth Matravers holiday cottage
Worth Matravers may be a tiny village, but it’s not short of outstanding places to stay. Here are a selection of our Worth Matravers cottages to get you inspired, and browse our whole collection for lots more choice.
Large and welcoming, with plenty of space for socialising and within a stone’s throw of the village park, this beautiful stone cottage is perfect for get-togethers with family and friends.
With its own path to the coast, close to the Durlston Country Park and featuring an owl nesting box, this beautifully appointed cottage is the perfect choice for lovers of nature and the great outdoors.
Sleeps 2 + 1 dog
A pretty stone barn nestled in a leafy garden with views over the countryside to the sea, where could be better for a peaceful holiday for two?
In Worth Matravers, beaches, coastal walks and adventure await on the doorstep – browse our collection of cottages today and start looking forward to your Dorset holiday.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.