The coastal path east of Lulworth crosses the military firing ranges of Lulworth Camp. Range walks are open all summer and most weekends, with other access times posted publicly online. This is no nanny statist pseudo ‘health and safety’ exercise — the ranges are used for live firing practice by tanks and other vehicle-mounted heavy weapons.
When open, walkers are probably best advised to heed the warnings to stick to the footpaths and not to stray beyond yellow pole markers in order to avoid encountering unexploded ordnance with potentially life-altering results.
At Brandy Bay, the path diverges to offer two eastbound options. I chose to leave the coast and continue along the ridge above Kimmeridge, following it up Smedmore Hill to Swyre Head, which overlooks the Encombe estate, near the village of Kingston.
At Kingston, the Scott Arms pub garden has an uninterrupted panorama of Corfe Castle and the downs forming the northern ridge of the Purbeck Hills. From here, the 40 bus runs hourly to Wareham and Poole or Swanage.
On the other side of the Encombe valley, a footpath runs from Kingston to Houns Tout cliff, a massive cap of Portland sandstones. From here, one can continue a rollercoaster journey east along the coast path via Chapman’s Pool and St. Aldhem’s Head to Swanage, Studland and beyond.