By definition, an island should be a land form surrounded by water. The Isle of Purbeck in South East Dorset is not entirely cut off from the rest of Dorset but it does have a number of characteristics which set it apart from the rest of the county.
The location of ‘The Lookout’ is incomparable. A very steep and winding road takes you from Corfe Castle to the village of Kingston. The cottage is three quarters of a mile further on towards Worth Matravers, on the escarpment with outstanding views in every direction. A well maintained path could take you in one direction back down the valley to Corfe Castle or follow the path adjacent to the cottage to Chapman’s Pool to pick up the Coast Path.
The cottage is a perfect dog-friendly escape for two people. The best features of the cottage are its lounge area with comfy soft furnishings and a fire for cold months and the enclosed garden with garden furniture for outdoor dining in the summer and a well-placed stone bench for admiring the setting sun over the hills in early autumn.
On several days we were able to eat or have a drink outside in pub gardens. Our ‘local’, The Scott Arms, is dog friendly throughout and has several bar areas and sweet little snugs. Staff made a good fuss of Tess. The pub is a good starting, or rewarding end point of a spectacular walk. Tess loved the beautiful walk through the colourful plantation, full of autumnal fragrance. At the end of the wood, through a dog friendly stile we reached open land with a breath –taking landscape before us. Tess went wild for the smell of rabbits and pheasants and if you keep going you can reach the coast path back to ‘The Look Out’.
The road from Corfe Castle to Studland inclines through a valley with mellow woodland then a sharp descent into the village of Studland. Turn left for the National Trust car parks and visitor centre or right for the Bankes Arms. There were plenty of water bowls available at the pub and again staff fussed Tess. Later in the week we decided to return to Studland for a gentle walk along the sand dunes. The extensive beach is very popular and dog friendly all year. In one direction walk towards the Sandbanks ferry through the SSI habitat of Dorset Heathland and in the other head back to the village and Old Harry Rocks.
On our last day, before heading home, we returned to the village of Corfe Castle . The entire site is dog friendly and Tess enjoyed the sniffs on all the different levels and nooks and crannies. After a last, tasty pasty from the famous pie shop in the square we left behind the enchanting ‘Isle of Purbeck’ and rejoined the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century.