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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Saturday Third Walk -- Branksome to Swanage -- Summer Seaside Fun


T=3.73 SWC Walk 73:  South West Coast Path – Branksome to Swanage – Loads of Swimming Opportunities and the Stunning White Cliffs of Old Harry Rocks
Length: 11.6 Miles (or 18.7 km for those more metrically minded)

Difficulty:  3 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:35 Southwest Train from London Waterloo to Weymouth arriving at a Branksome at 11:29.   The return journey from Swanage requires taking a bus from Swanage to either Wareham or Bournemouth and picking up a train.  To return via Wareham, you will need to catch a number 40 bus from the Swanage bus/steam train station (about a 10-minute walk from the seaside) – these buses are at 18:05 (arriving at Wareham station at 18:41) and 19:05 (arriving at 19:36) and will connect with trains from Wareham at 18:53 or 19:53 (additional trains from Wareham are also at 19:28 and 20:42).  To return via Bournemouth (which involves a longer bus journey), you will need to catch a number 50 bus from one of the stops along the sea front – these buses stop along the sea front around 18:27 or 19:27 (depending on exactly what stop you use) and arrive in Bournemouth about an hour later.  Trains from Bournemouth are at 19:59, 20:22 and 21:01.  For more flexibility on catching the trains at Wareham, you may want to group together and book a taxi from Swanage to Wareham Station – if you plan to do this, it is recommended to book one in advance at some point during the day – Swanage Taxis 01929 421 122/01929 425 350). Buy a SWT Special Offer ticket to Wareham for 16 pounds return before midnight on Friday night either on-line, from a ticket office or via telesales.

This walk is being posted in response to a recent request to post it before winter.  Also, with the current Southwest Train 16-pound return ticket offer, it is an ideal time for this great expedition which can otherwise be quite costly for a day trip.  It is a marvelous summer walk along the seaside following for most of the route a section of the South West Coast Path.  It has great swimming opportunities all along the route (specifically in Studland Bay) as well as interesting and varied scenery for those not so fond of swimming.  I will also add that the Bournemouth Airshow will be on this weekend which may add some interesting features (or may just make the trains more crowded).  More information and the walk instructions can be found here.

Lunch can be eaten at a café before the Sandbanks Ferry.  Alternatively, the Shell Bay Café just after the ferry is highly recommended – but, do call ahead (01929 450 363). Tea can be had at the National Trust Café in Studland Bay or at the Bankes Arms in Studland Bay – a bit beyond the café.  There are also many places to eat and drink in Swanage.

Enjoy the walk!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given that at long last we have two decent walks posted on the same weekend (Glynde and Branksome) is it possible to postpone either one or both to a different weekend as windgusts to 50 mph forecast for Saturday on both walks, even inland as far as Lewes. Could they also be posted on separate weekends so that we can do both of them. Don't want to miss either of them but don't want to get blown off my feet. Thanks!

Walker said...

Sorry, but changing walks at the last minute in response to weather forecasts does not work. Once you start down that road there is no end of it. The forecast for Saturday does look unfortunate: if you think conditions will make doing a walk unsafe, don't do it. All our walks are at your own risk and you should consult weather forecasts and use your own judgement. The weather may well be as bad as forecast - or it may not be. About eight times a year, I reckon, the forecast for Saturday looks bad. Often it then turns out not to be so bad on the day. I recall the Gerard's Cross to Cookham walk in early March. "Damaging gusts" were predicted for that and I wondered if it was a good idea to walk in woods where branches might get blown off trees. But in the event there was barely a breeze. In February it was indeed very windy for the Lewes Circular walk but a large group did it without incident. If winds are strong, what is the best walk to do anyway? One with trees nearby where branches could break off? Or one on open downland which may be exposed?

Also if walks are changed at the last minute some people may not notice the change, others may have already bought tickets. And walk posts take time to write, you know. I am busy. I don't have time to do another one just currently. I am a bit behind as it is.

So sorry if two summer walks have been picked and will be met with unsummery weather but that is just the luck of the draw, I afraid - at lleast as regards the first walk this week.

Anonymous said...

The comment from Anonymous had a point. Perhaps rather than swapping a walk, a fourth walk could be posted. The reason being, if the weather is bad, two walks mentioned before have less appeal, people will not come regardless (except a few who already got the tickets). If by posting another more suitable walk with weather in mind, more people who would otherwise do something else may be attracted to come. Just a thought. I do appreciate walk posters doing their best to suit. I would be happy just to come to one of the Sunday walks instead.

Anonymous said...

Sorry didn't mean to put my Comment amount two swimming walks on together on the walk post! Can you remove it. I meant it for the Forum.

Walker said...

I have made some suggestions for less windy option for the first walk. I might point out that there is also the third walk, which is well away from the coast and might be less windy.

The trouble with "a fourth walk could be posted" is that there is no end to this either. In any given week there is always an excuse to say the existing three options are no good and we need a fourth. Eg, "they all have early starts", "they are all too long", "it is a sunny weekend and no one has posted a swimming walk", "there is no train through Clapham Junction", "I don't like any of the existing options", "why aren't we making use of the SWT £16 offer" (or AN Other offer, there always seeming to be one or other train company offer extant) etc etc etc.

Posting a fourth walk at the last minute to make up for such deficiences just means one or more other walk posters has to go to all the trouble of researching and composing a walk post only to be pipped at the post at the last minute by AN Other with a better idea. If that is the case, then I will wait till Friday to do my walk posts for the following day, so as not to waste my time and effort. Then everyone will complain that they want to be able to plan their weekends.

This is a freak Saturday, weatherwise. They happen. It is unfortunate two coastal walks were picked for such a weekend, but when they were chosen, a few days ago, we were having a heatwave. The weather may or may not be as bad as forecast: see my previous comment. We will see. All walks are at your own risk, but my personal judgement (ie a judgement I am making for myself and no one else) is that it is worth giving a Glynde walk a try and adapting as necessary to conditions on the day. I know the area well and will bring a map. Train or bus disruption due to high winds is another matter: we will have to take that as it comes.

PeteB said...

Walker is right. As far as our walks and the weather are concerned "that's the way the cookie crumbles" as Americans may (or may not!) say.