St Aldhelm's Head...
St Aldhelm’s or St Alban’s Head is a broad promontory on the rocky coast of Purbeck.
From its high cliff-tops, you’ll find impressive views of the English Channel and also of long sections of the Dorset Jurassic Coast spreading West and East.
St Aldhelm’s Head is a natural vantage point for all things nautical and coastal in this area, making it an excellent spot for a Coast Guard lookout station - which is probably why there is one! No longer staffed by HM Coastguard, the watch at St Aldhelm’s is now kept by members of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI). These volunteers keep their eye’s peeled for dangers at sea - and it’s easy to see why you might want to!
What’s less clear is why someone would want to build a sturdy, stone chapel out here with no windows! But that’s exactly what somebody did the best part of 1,000 years ago.
St Aldhelm’s Chapel is a real oddity and worth the walk from Worth Matravers for those of an inquisitive nature. Not much more than a stone-built box with a roof on, only the stone cross on the top of it gives any indication that this bunker-like stone-walled and stone-roofed structure is a chapel at all. There’s no exterior or interior finery and no windows stained or otherwise.
The only other structure in the immediate area of the headland itself is a row of cottages, presumably one-time coastguard dwellings. Other than that, the Chapel and St Aldhelm’s Head itself are a good mile or so from Worth Matravers as the crow flies (farther as the rambler rambles) as is the car park near Renscombe Farm, which is the closest start point for walk to the Chapel and the cliff-tops.
If you fancy a longer walk, you can link up with the South West Coast Path to head East or West or there are circular walks via Chapman’s Pool to the West or Winspit, Dancing Ledge and Worth Matravers to the East.
If you fancy a walk that’s a little different and out of the ordinary this could be for you. It doesn’t have the unique feel of Lulworth or Durdle Door, but it doesn’t have the numbers of visitors either!
If you fancy a longer walk, you can link up with the South West Coast Path to head East or West or there are circular walks via Chapman’s Pool to the West or Winspit, Dancing Ledge and Worth Matravers to the East. "