On Countryfile this Sunday: the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset

The team visits the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. Matt Baker celebrates the 70th anniversary of Enid Blyton's Famous Five series and visits a golf course once owned by the author, while Ellie Harrison searches for all six reptile species native to Britain.

13th June 2012
Sunday - 6.30pm - BBC One

© Shutterstock


1. Take a trip on Swanage steam railway
Traditional steam train fans will be delighted by this standard gauge preserved railway. A range of journeys, family events and galas take place throughout the year, and dining and even driving experiences are also on offer.

2. Visit Corfe Castle
These dramatic ruins date back to the English Civil War. Looking out across Purbeck, it’s easy to let your imagination run wild as you count the arrow holes and picture this imposing building in its glory days. And with a replica medieval siege engine, traditional costume activities and guided tours, there's something for the whole family. 

3. Follow the Famous Five Adventure Trail
Relive the glory days of childhood adventure by solving the clues along a trail that would delight Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. Running throughout summer, the trail is designed to be completed over a few days, exploring much of the Purbeck and Poole area and celebrating all things Blyton. Be sure to pack plenty of ginger beer!

A museum dedicated to the all-but-disappeared ball clay industry of the area, including the histroy and lives of its local workers. Please check the site for opening times. 
1. Take a break at Durlston Country Park
The park covers around 280 acres of beautiful countryside, with a stately home and visitor centre at the heart of it all. There is plenty of information on the park’s wildlife, including a live TV stream of the resident guillemot colony and an underwater microphone. The isle also has the highest number of wildflower species of any comparable area in Britain, many of which cna be found in the park, the most common being the early spider orchid. 
2. Watch wildlife at Studland Bay
A haven for wildlife, the beaches around the village of Studland are a birdwatcher’s dream. Grebes, divers and warblers can all be spotted here, so be sure to bring a pair of binoculars. It’s also one of the few places that all six native species of British reptile can be found, as Ellie finds out on Sunday. Finally, two of our most precious coastal water-dwellers, spiny- and short-snouted seahorses have been recorded in these waters, making it a very diverse area for wildlife.
3. Look for fossils at Kimmeridge Bay
The curved bay at Kimmeridge is backed by fantastic Jurassic shale cliffs that are popular with geologists for their structure and yield of fossils. The water itself is a favourite for surfers and other water-sport enthusiasts, because of the bay’s location. And look out for the ‘nodding donkey’, an oil pump that has been in operation since the 1950s.

1. Swanage
Swanage is a popular seaside town on the eastern edge of Purbeck. It's sandy beaches and Victorian heritage still attract many visitors today, drawn to the thought of fish and chips at the seaside. The area has a rich industrial heritage, with much of its stone, including Purbeck marble, being sourced at mines and quarries. The Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, is a stone's throw away, with plenty of fascinating geological wonders to be found. 
2. Wareham
A pretty market town, Wareham has some hidden treasures, including it's own museum and the smallest church in England. Situated on the River Frome, the town boasts some ideal picnic and walking spots. The town features the remains of a Roman settlement, although it's thought the town really came into being around the Anglo-Saxon era - the remains of the town wall can be seen. 
The coast around Worbarrow Bay and the now deserted village of Tyneham are used by the Ministry of Defence as a training area. For obvious safety reasons, access to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is limited, with red flags flying when it is in military use.  


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