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ecent Developments

Everyone Needs a Shed!

A big part of the project is the Durlston Shed, an accessible community work base where people can meet to share skills, volunteer or just come along for a cup of tea and a chat. For more information, take a look at our Everyone Needs a Shed! page. 

Durlston Neighborcar

Durlston Neighborcar is a community lift sharing scheme aimed to help get Swanage residents to and from Durlston. It's cheap, environmentally friendly and a great way to meet new friends. For more information, take a look at our Visit page.

Project History

The ‘Durlston Pleasure Grounds’ Project is a partnership, led by Dorset Council to enhance the Victorian landscape at Durlston for nature, history and people. In July 2016 we were awarded a Round 1 Pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund, providing funding to develop the final bid, which was submitted to HLF in February 2018. It was successful and work has already started, with the project taking place over the course of the next 3 years.

Volunteers are working with Rangers, artists and specialists to create a landscape which is welcoming, accessible, inspiring, educational, surprising, playable and sustainable.

The Victorian landscape and features are being enhanced to realise George Burt’s vision for people to ‘Look round and read great nature’s open book’.

Habitats are being managed for wildlife and the tranquillity of the area will be maintained.

Opportunities for play, discovery and creativity will be enhanced, along with a base for training, volunteering and community events.

The project will help Durlston become the best place in Dorset for people with disabilities and reduced mobility to enjoy wildlife and the countryside.

The legacy will include a skilled and expanded staff and volunteer group supporting the management of the area, creating a landscape which can evolve to meet the needs of visitors and local people.

This project will secure the future of this valuable part of Durlston for nature and the community for years to come, but we need your help!

To get to this stage we have had help and input from groups and organisations including The Swanage Medical Centre, the Dorset Gardens Trust, Purbeck Runners, the Swanage School, Swanage Town Council, Countryside Mobility, Partnership for Older People, Swanage Senior Forum, Friends of Durlston and many others!

Please tell us what you think by:

• Filling out a feedback form

• Taking part in a visitor survey

• Coming along to one of our Public Consultation events

• Popping into the Castle to talk to the Rangers

• Sending an email to

The Sale Plan of George Burt's Proposed Estate 1875

Walkers in the Pleasure Grounds in the 1920's

The project will create new opportunities for learning...


...and improved access

Project Aims

  • Enhancing the management and conservation of the area's internationally important heritage
  • Improving access and providing greater opportunities particularly for disabled visitors, young people and under-represented groups.
  • Enhancing enjoyment, awareness and understanding of the heritage through the provision of high quality interpretation and information 
  • Providing new opportunities for learning and family activities based in an exciting, newly refurbished visitor facility.
  • Expanding opportunities for volunteer involvement through Friends of Durlston and other volunteering and training opportunities.
  • Providing the facilities for an expanded range of community uses supporting local events and activities.
  • Improving the management and conservation of the wider 'Burt landscape'.
  • Providing a significant asset for Swanage, of particular value to the local community. 
  • Promoting exercise, healthy living and well being through countryside activity, recreation and enjoyment.
  • Improving people's understanding of their impact on the world around them and encourage more sustainable lifestyles.
  • Working with local schools and universities to encourage project involvement and longer-term associations.
  • Ensuring that Durlston continues to offer a safe, welcoming and tranquil environment for people to enjoy.

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