Paddle Guide - Old Harry Rocks, Studland Dorset
A short drive (and ferry ride!) from our base in Sandbanks you will find the village of Studland which marks the beginning of the iconic Jurassic coast. Spanning 96 miles between Studland and Exmouth Old Harry Rocks is arguably one of the most popular landmarks along the Jurassic coast and is the perfect location for a breathtaking paddle on a flat day surrounded by history, wildlife and stunning scenery. We begun our paddle at Middle Beach, Studland, BH19 3AX (National Trust Car Park) on a day with no wind or swell making it the perfect day for this journey. Once you set foot on Middle Beach you cannot miss the infamous rock formation straight ahead! Look out for Fort Henry nestled in the cliff to your right as you leave Middle Beach which is an observation bunker built in 1943 and is where Winston Churchill and George VI watched the D Day rehearsals taking place along Studland beach. For less experienced paddlers or if there is a headwind it is best to stick to the coast line to get to Old Harry.
The journey takes about 30 minutes each way and if the tides are right you will be able to sit on one of the small pebble beaches while taking in the view of the stacks, pinnacles and tunnels which make up the rock formation. It is possible to paddle around around Old Harry himself (the last stack) and along the coastline towards Swanage however there is often a strong rip current present along the headland so care should be taken on this stretch. Upon your return to Middle Beach there is a small family run cafe overlooking the bay which is an ideal stop for a light lunch or an ice cream.
Additional Access Points:
- Knoll Beach National Trust Car Park (BH19 3AX) or Shell Bay National Trust Car Park (BH19 3BA) are good options if you want to see more of Studland Beach
- For the more experienced paddlers it is possible to paddle from Swanage beach to Studland beach but this is not reccomended for unaccompanied beginners. Pierhead Watersports based on Swanage pier offer guided trips on Sandbanks Style paddleboards to Old Harry Rocks with qualified watersports instructors.