Best things about living in The Isle of Purbeck
PUBLISHED: 12:56 13 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:56 13 March 2015
This wild and beautiful area of Dorset has all the elements for a blockbuster movie: a protected Jurassic coastline, photogenic landscape and picturesque villages. So could this be the ideal location for your dream home?
It is no coincidence that this beautiful part of Dorset hosts the Purbeck Film Festival - last year it hosted the national premier of Effie Gray starring Emma Thompson. A host of authors, artists and film directors have all fallen under its spell. But what about living here - would it be film set fantasy or remote rural reality?
The ‘Isle of Purbeck’ is not actually an island but a 60 square mile rocky peninsula of land which juts into the English Channel. Picturesque villages such as Studland, Langton Matravers, Worth Matravers, Lulworth, Creech, Kimmeridge and Kingston are scattered across the Purbecks, some larger than others and a few boasting valuable amenities like those in Corfe Castle and Arne. The larger conurbations are the seaside town of Swanage, which sits at the eastern end of the peninsula, and the Saxon walled town of Wareham on the northern edge of the Isle.
Before buying a home here, consider whether a village shop, pub or cafe is important to you as local bus services are infrequent. Some smaller villages such as Church Knowle, are more remote and a car is essential. On the plus side being off the beaten track has its benefits. Dinosaurs may have roamed freely here millions of years ago but today’s new home builders do not. No new residential development can be built within 400m of protected heathland.
Accessing the Purbecks is slow, becoming more so as the summer season beckons. From the east, it requires either a ferry journey across Poole harbour entrance or a car drive around the harbour via the A351. The market town of Wareham has a main line rail link to London, Waterloo.
With a population of 45,000, overall the Purbecks is an affluent area. There is an abundance of character homes, many with signature grey Purbeck stone fascias, and coastal homes attract premium prices. There is strong competition in the housing market from locals, commuters, second homeowners and retirees, making it hard for first time buyers to get a foot onto the housing ladder. Land is generally expensive, and flats in short supply, so be open to considering terraced houses in need of modernisation or expansion.
If you have set your heart on living in the Isle of Purbeck, make sure you find the right balance between remote beauty and tapping into the local community. On the other hand being far from the madding crowd may be exactly what you are after.
• Behind the scenes look at Smedmore Estate in Purbeck - The Smedmore Estate is steeped in history and has remained in the same family for over six centuries. Its current owner, a renowned historian, has brought his own passion for the past to life in this Georgian manor house.