Poole Harbour ‘Enid Blyton’ loop, Dorset by Matt Lamy

Ride level Regular cyclist
Distance 32 mi / 51 km
Type of bicycle Any
Traffic free
Circular route
Corfe Castle, one of many landmarks on this route

Cycling journalist and author of 'Rides of Passage', Matt Lamy takes us on a loop of Poole Harbour inspired by the ‘Famous Five’ stories of Enid Blyton. 

Geographically speaking, there’s a lot of interesting things about Poole Harbour. But it’s not short of literary influences, with the southern Studland side being a particular favourite inspiration for some of Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ books.

Our ride starts at Knoll House — a favourite holidaying spot for Enid, who started visiting this area of Dorset in 1940 — and heads anticlockwise around the harbour, although you could start anywhere you fancy along the route. 

The first Famous Five story — ‘Five on a Treasure Island’ — featured Whispering Island which is based on Brownsea Island, the first landmark on our route if you look inland. Now owned by the National Trust, visitors are welcome to enjoy it by taking a ferry from Poole Quay, and if you work for the John Lewis partnership you can even stay there. 

To hop across the mouth of the harbour requires a short trip on the chain ferry, then it’s a case of following cycle paths on the super-expensive Sandbanks sea-front to Poole itself. Feel free to stop at called ‘The Ginger Pop Shop’ where you’ll find all sorts of old toys, and games, and almost all the books Enid Blyton has ever written.

The route now follows some fairly busy roads as you head out of Poole to Lytchett Minster and then around to Wareham, but there are plenty of cycle paths so you shouldn’t have to mix with too much traffic. Once at Stoborough you can take to quiet lanes through the Hartland Moor National Nature Reserve and eventually arrive at the incredibly imposing Corfe Castle — otherwise know as ‘Kirrin Castle’ in Famous Five stories.

Then it’s a bit of a lumpy, rolling ride back to Studland, and you’ve had a truly whizzo adventure.

(To read the full Enid Blyton cycling adventure, click here.)