The Local Area and Things To DoExplore the Isle of Purbeck
Corfe Castle is an idyllic village set in the heart of The Purbecks, in the Dorset countryside, with the historic ruins of the castle dominating the village. The village is steeped in history, from the murder of King Edward, who became known as Edward the Martyr, in 978 to the besieging of the castle by Oliver Cromwell. Its close connections to the monarchy as a royalist stronghold have ensured that the castle itself has endured a colourful life, with various monarchs adding and adapting the castle to leave the remnants seen today.
Although Oliver Cromwell may have been the last man to besiege the castle, it did not mean that there had not been many previous attempts. It is still a celebrated fact that no-one was ever able to breach the castle, and its downfall to Cromwell only came about through treachery. The site known locally as ‘the Rings’ situated a few hundred yards from the castle along Olivise Lane, is reputed to be the first castle, a mott-and-bailey structure, and also the site where King Stephen first attempted to besiege the castle itself.
Apart from the castle, there is much else of interest within the village. The villlage's town hall is the smallest in England and at present houses a small museum of artefacts from village life spanning through the ages, even from the Jurassic period before people inhabited the land! The town hall also plays host to an age old tradition for ‘The Purbeck Marblers’, an order of local quarrymen and stone masons, who still visit every Shrove Tuesday to commence their annual kicking of the football, all the way through the streets of Corfe to Ower Quay.
The local steam railway provides a beautifully scenic mode of transport between the village, Harmans Cross and the seaside town of Swanage. After being ripped up in the 1970’s, volunteers have painstakingly spent decades rebuilding the line to provide the service now enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The trains and station have been restored in an authentic manner, even down to the original advertising seen in the age of steam.
Corfe Castle also has much else to offer, with traditional pubs such as the old coach house called the Greyhound and the Castle Inn, situated along East Street. The model village is a place of interest for all, with an excellent miniature of the village itself and even some old stocks in case the children, or parents, are getting a bit too much!