Durlston Country Park

Large country park and nature reserve

Situated in the south-east corner of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, a mile south of Swanage, lies Durlston Country Park 280 acres of very special countryside.

The Country Park was established in the 1970s by Dorset County Council, and 30 years of careful management by the Ranger team have resulted in a superb site that everyone can enjoy.

Durlston Castle was restored in 2011 to become a spectacular new facility for visitors to Durlston and the Jurassic Coast.

Wildlife and Landscape

Few places in Britain equal Durlston: The bare statistics merely hint at the amazing diversity of wildlife: 33 species of breeding butterfly, over 250 species of bird recorded, 500 wildflowers, 500 moths and thousands of other invertebrates.

Durlston's special qualities stem from a combination of geography, geology, history and careful management which has created a mosaic of nationally important wildlife habitats: sea-cliffs, downs, ancient meadows, hedgerows, woodland, and dry-stone walls each with their characteristic plants and animals.

Wildlife apart, there are plenty of other things to see: The history of Durlston can be detected in the now dry, glacial river valley, the ancient Saxon field systems, two types of quarry the inland Purbeck Stone Quarr, and the Portland limestone cliff quarry known as Tilly Whim Caves.

High on the ridge remain the footings of a Napoleonic telegraph station, and Anvil Point Lighthouse adds further interest to a visit.

The eminent Victorian, George Burt, left a legacy of fascinating artefacts. These include the 'Great Globe' 40 tons of Portland limestone, cast-iron bollards from the City, St Martin's and other parts of London, and Durlston Castle itself all linked by scenic cliff-top paths with Victorian panels quoting poetry and facts of interest.


  • Lighthouse Road
  • Swanage
  • Dorset
  • BH19 2JL