A PROJECT to refurbish and rebrand the Norden Park & Ride site has finished.

Now known as Purbeck Park, it is hoped the area will prove a gateway site to other Purbeck attractions.

Situated close to Swanage Railway's Norden Station, the site also boasts a railway-themed adventure playground, public toilets, picnic tables, baby changing facilities, cycle hire, numerous nature trails, car parking, bus connections and, by this springtime when it opens, The Left Luggage Cafe.

Dorset Council highways, travel and environment portfolio holder, Cllr Ray Bryan, said: "Many people are familiar with the area as the place to start their trip on Swanage Railway.

“However there’s a lot more to Purbeck Park. Enabling access to beautiful trails through heathland, countryside and the coast for walking, cycling and running too, the park is the perfect place to start adventures this spring.

"The travel interchange at the site also brings buses from other popular Dorset holiday destinations, including Weymouth, Lulworth and Dorchester.

"By connecting with Swanage Railway visitors can enjoy fantastic car-free days out."

The project was part-funded by Dorset Coastal Connections, an initiative funded by the Coastal Community Fund.

Purbeck Park also features the old clay works and the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum.

Visitors can venture down the mine for a taste of working life underground and see the industrial narrow gauge railway in action.

From Purbeck Park is is three-quarters of a mile by trail to Corfe Castle

You can also get to Corfe Castle by train at Purbeck Park’s Norden Station.

Dorset Council south east Purbeck ward member, Cherry Brooks, said: “It has been a pleasure to support this project to encourage more people to discover the fantastic facilities of Purbeck Park and the many car-free ways to access Corfe Castle and beyond.

“It means you can get out the car and experience the historic castle, reducing traffic congestion in the village.

"With year-round access to Purbeck Park, it’s also a great base to start your walking and cycling adventures outside peak season too.”

Swanage Railway trains recommence from February 15.

Visit dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/purbeck-park for information.