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Accessible and inclusive Tourism Award

Access For All

Access for All

We want everyone have a great day at Durlston and try to provide the highest level of access possible for all our visitors. In 2020 Durlston won the Visit England Gold for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism, so we hope this page will help you get the most out of your visit.

Why not start your visit at our Visitor Centre at Durlston Castle, where a Ranger is always on-hand to offer help and advice. You can find detailed information on accessibility at the Castle in our Accessibility Guide

We are pleased to offer a British Sign Language Video Tour to visitors, available from the Durlston Castle reception. Watch a sample British Sign Language Video Tour on YouTube. Audio guiding is available, contact the Rangers to organise.

We also have Durlston Country Park Visual Story for visitors and the Shed Visual Guide.

If you have any questions about visiting Durlston Country Park please do not hesitate to contact us on 01929 424443, we will be happy to help.

Durlston Castle

Our visitor centre at Durlston Castle, is situated 75m from the first car park on the left and linked by 'The Timeline' a shallow zigzagging path and is an ideal place to begin your visit. Friendly staff and volunteers are always on hand to help you make the most of your visit.

Wide doorways, and platform lifts throughout make the Castle easy to navigate. An induction loop is available along with large print copies of our leaflets and guides.

The Castle also has an accessible roof terrace, accessible toilets, shop and café-restaurant. All dogs, including guide dogs, are welcome in the Castle, Park and cafe.

For detailed information, have a look at our accessibility guide.

Why not watch this youtube video about visiting the Castle.

Accessible ramped path 'Timeline'

Getting to the Castle 

Only 75m long, the Timeline is a gently sloping ramp, taking you from the car park to the Castle visitor centre and cafe. 

On the way you'll travel through 4 billion years!

There is an intercom just the left of the start of the timeline if you need advice or assistance. 

Visitor on tramper in front of beautiful view

Tramper Hire

Two 'Tramper' off road mobility buggies are available to help you explore the park along four different routes. 

They require the ability to twist your wrist and enough upper body strength to steer (similar to a bike!). They are very easy and safe to drive and will allow you to see most of the Park. 

Our Trampers are part of the Countryside Mobility South West scheme. You can join on arrival for a small charge and after a 5 minute training session you are good to go! Booking in advance is recommended, but not essential.   

We also have a 'Trekinetic' off-road manual wheelchair, which can be used around the Castle or along the Woodland Trail. It is most suitable for wheelchair users with good upper body strength who want a more energetic experience!        

We recommend booking the Trampers before your visit and can usually bring them up to the Car Park if you would have difficulty getting down to the Castle.

For more information on the scheme please follow the link above.

Toilets

There are accessible toilets on all levels of the Castle and at the Learning Centre. We do not currently have a Changing Places Toilet. 

Dogs

Dogs, including Guide Dogs are welcome throughout the Castle (including the cafe and Gallery) as long as they are on leads. Dogs are welcome around the Park as long as they are on a lead or under very close control.

Parking 

There are accessible parking spaces in the car park closest to the Castle. Disabled visitors can be dropped off in front of the Castle. There is also a short stay accessible parking space at the Learning Centre. Parking charges apply to all visitors - your parking fee directly supports the running of Durlston. 

Lady on Tramper mobility buggy

Exploring the Park 

There are many paths at Durlston, covering a wide range of terrain. The landscape of the Park means some routes can be more challenging than others; however we are confident there is a route available to suit all levels of ability.

We have 4 way-marked trails around the Park, each clearly signposted, with information leaflets and maps available from the Castle.  Not all the routes are suitable for mobility buggies, scooters or trampers.

The Clifftop Trail

This 1 km trail takes you along Durlston's cliff-tops past our seabird colonies, the Dolphin Watch hut and the Great Globe. The path is mainly compacted limestone chips and is uneven in places. Great for sea views, the trail is one of our more challenging routes with some hills and one very steep section of the path. There are no gates or stiles on this trail.

The Woodland Trail

The Woodland Trail is one of Durlston's more accessible routes. Around 1 km in length it has both tarmac, woodchip and compacted limestone paths. This gently sloping trail, with plenty of benches takes in the wildflower-filled Long Meadow, the tranquil glades of the woodland and views of Durlston Bay. There is one bridle-gate on this trail. This is an ideal short route for families. Explorers Rucksacks full of hands-on activities designed for this trail can be hired from the Castle.

The Wildlife Trail

This 2 km trail is our most cross-country route, taking you out across the downs and back through the beautiful wildflower meadows. The route is mainly along grassy paths, but takes in a section of tarmac road. Steep and uneven in places, the undulating path includes one steep hill. There are bridle gates, kissing gates and field gates along this trail.  This trail is ideal for spotting butterflies and wildflowers. (This route is not suitable for the Tramper)

The Lighthouse Walk

For those looking for a shorter route, this is a direct route to Anvil Point Lighthouse and back. This is an enjoyable tarmac path, ideal for a first foray on one of our Trampers, with a steady but long climb back up the hill to the Castle.

The Victorian Trail

Our longest route, 5 km in length, the Victorian Trail links Durlston to Swanage, taking you past many historic sights and monuments. We recommend travelling downhill from the Durlston end of the trail. There are a wide range of surfaces including pavements, tarmac path, compacted limestone chips and grass. There is one short, but steep section of uphill path when walking from the Durlston end of the trail and a long, steep downhill section over grassy paths. There is one bridle gate along this trail. (This route is not suitable for the Tramper)

South-west Coast Path

Following the South-west Coast Path from Durlston, westwards along the cliff tops, takes you out onto the Purbeck Wares. This is a beautiful section of coastline, boasting several sea quarries including the famous Dancing Ledge. Due to the nature of the terrain this is a very challenging walk including rocky and uneven paths, steps, steep inclines and several stiles. (From Tilly Whim westwards this route is not suitable for the Tramper)

Please note that weather conditions can make a big difference to the accessibility of some of the trails.

Volunteers woodworking in the shed garden

Volunteering

Volunteers help make Durlston an amazing place. 

There are many opportunities to volunteer at Durlston, whatever your skills or interests - over 20% of our volunteers have a disability. Some of the areas our volunteers get involved with include work parties, dolphin watching, assisting in the Castle, computer work, photography, wildlife surveying and helping deliver our education events, so there is something to suit everyone!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Durlston please follow this link, drop us a line, email us or ask at the Castle for more information.