Old Harry Rocks is a national treasure, situated at the tip of Studland Bay and just round the corner from Swanage, it is a must-see place whilst staying at Millbrook Bed & Breakfast. It is perhaps not as famous as Durdle Door, which has now become world famous, and as a result gets very busy, for us as locals we only go out of season. When you visit Swanage and stay with us at Millbrook Bed & Breakfast you still should visit but get there early, have breakfast and go.
Old Harry Rocks and Studland Bay is a different story and being close enough to walk (about an hour and a half from our guest house, take a look how via our ‘Places to Visit‘ page), is never off limits, even in the height of summer, just remember to take suncream, there’s not much shade!
Anyway, despite being born in Swanage and living in the area for all my life I had never actually walked to Old Harry Rocks, along the shore line, when the tides allow and looked up at the cliffs. The Spring equinox is just that time and is probably the best time to visit as the tides are strongest and the clocks have just sprung forward giving the perfect opportunity to visit. You cannot walk to the end at many times of the year, certainly not on a normal low tide, so please don’t think it’s possible whenever you are here.
On this day (29th March 2021) the spring low tide was at 16:58 so I took my daughter Freya and we made our way there. To give you an idea just how low, according to the tide charts (take a look here for Studland Tide Times), the low tide was 0.09m (9cm), a normal low tide is round about 1m (100cm)!
We parked next to the Bankes Arms in Studland (along with its own ‘Isle of Purbeck Brewery‘), there’s a National Trust Car Park right next door, and set of from South Beach shore at 4pm, by which time the tide was well on the way out and it was possible to walk (in boots) quite easily across the bay (the exposed seabed) to the end, it took us about 25 minutes to get there, and that was stopping to look in many of the rockpools that had been left behind for crabs and fish etc.
We spent about 20 minutes there, walking around the end and being able to look across Swanage Bay towards Durlston, finally heading back at 5pm, getting back safely to the beach long before the tide had come in, we could of easily spent another 15/20 minutes there but tea time was beckoning.
It was brilliant and being able to stand at the base of Old Harry and look up, it was well worth it and although we were not the only ones there, it felt like we had it to ourselves. Rest assured we shall be visiting again, although being lockdown meant we didn’t need to be in for any guest arrivals, so we will have to plan our next trip differently next time.