Situated on the peaceful Isle of Purbeck, this
attractive grey stone village is dominated by the romantic
ruins of its namesake castle. The village itself is
an attractive collection of 17th and 18th century stone
houses, with stone slate roofs. The central point is
little square with an old church, inns and cottages,
many built with stone taken from the castle ruins.
Corfe Village (viewed from the castle) © Travel About Britain
The small market place is dominated by the Grade II listed Greyhound Hotel, with its bright colour-washed stone walls. In West Street, there is a tiny 18th-c Town Hall, housing a small museum, that shows displays of local history and dinosaur footprints. The village church suffered badly in the Civil War (along with the castle) and was rebuilt in 1859. Its original 15th-c tower still survives.
During the Middle Ages, a marble carving industry existed in the village and the Ancient Order of Marblers still meet in the Council Chamber each Shrove Tuesday. They also meet on this day to play a traditional game of Shrovetide football, which takes place along the whole length of the main road. The barrows and ridges all around the village are traces of the sunken lanes created by horse drawn sledges, used to hauled the marble and stone to be dressed, before shipment.
The castle, set on a high hill behind the town, was once an important stronghold protecting a key road through the Purbeck Hills. It was constructed immediately following the Norman conquest and became a royal residence in the 10th-c. Its current ruinous state is the result of deliberate demolition during the English Civil War. The castle and its surrounding Estate are owned by the National Trust. A network of footpaths leads down through the estate to the coastline.
Corfe hosts its very own music and craft festival (Corfest), with live music, fireworks and stalls brimming with local produce.
The Isle of Purbeck is a great place for walking. Its countryside is peppered with the remnants of disused quarries, once used for extracting building stone and the famous Purbeck marble. A number of good nature reserves can visited here, including Hartland Moor, Godlingston Heath and Studland Heath.
See how the village and its castle looked in the 1600s, before it was destroyed during the Civil War. All splendidly detailed in 1/20th scale. Landscaped gardens, cafe and tea rooms.
Swanage Railway - enjoy nostalgic steam train rides between Swanage and Norden.
Corfe Castle (National Trust) open for daily visitors.