In a bid to encourage more to explore Purbeck by bike, Beryl, one of the biggest cycle hire companies in England has launched its latest scheme in Studland in Dorset, in conjunction with the National Trust.
New cycle parking bays are being installed at each of the four National Trust car parks on the Studland peninsula along with ten new Beryl bikes, allowing local residents and holiday makers to go for a spin without using their cars.
Beryl bikes already to go in South Beach car park in Studland
Demand may grow for a Swanage scheme
While there are no plans at the moment to extend the scheme to Swanage, bosses at Beryl have recognised that there may be a demand to cycle onto Swanage, so they have agreed to waive any out of zone fees if the bikes are ridden beyond Studland.
It also links up with the existing Beryl bikes scheme in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole via the Sandbanks Ferry.
While the intention is to encourage more tourists to visit the sandy beaches, heathland, Old Harry and the start of the Jurassic Coast by bike, it also offers the opportunity for locals to take advantage of the scheme.
Swanage residents can drive or get the bus to Studland, avoiding cycling on hilly and narrow lanes, and then hire a bike to explore the area or to continue on to Sandbanks via the ferry. It’s currently £1 by bike compared to the car toll of £5.
For those living in Studland, the scheme is right on their doorstep and many may like to try out the bike, especially the bikes with electric assist.
One Studland family who spotted the newly delivered bikes in the South Beach car park, was impressed and tempted to take them out for a spin. Their only complaint – probably not enough bikes at the moment to meet, what they anticipate will be the huge demand over the summer!
These Studland residents were impressed and said the bikes were better than their own ones!
More car-free travel around Studland
Project officer for the National Trust in Purbeck, Alex Brocklesby said:
“We are really excited to be trialling this new extension of the Beryl bike scheme into Studland, enabling more visitors to travel car free.
“This is part of our role in reducing the impact our visitors have on our sensitive, internationally important environment and also a step forward in supporting local people to access the BCP side without the need to use their car.
“We will evaluate how successful this trial is in replacing car traffic, inspiring people to travel using more active and sustainable means and importantly what role this scheme plays in the wider delivery of the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve’s sustainable tourism plan.
“If deemed successful and future funding streams were secured, it would be amazing to see this scheme not only continue but extended further into Swanage with e-bike provision to enable a full coastal experience.
“We’re very thankful to our generous funders for enabling this to happen with this project supported by the local Wytch Farm Landscape and Access Enhancement Fun, and Sport England.”
Shell Bay at Studland is expected to be a popular stopping off point for Beryl cyclists
App based business used by 300,000 riders
Beryl was co-founded by keen cyclists Emily Brooke and Phil Ellis in 2012, and has since become an app based business where electric and pedal cycles can be hired for 5p per minute or £12 a day, and is used by more than 300,000 people.
Its first public bike share launch was in Poole in Dorset in 2019 and now operates in 23 locations around England, including Wool in Purbeck.
Ten bikes and six bays are at Dorset Innovation Park and Wool railway station, with extra bays at Bovington for visitors to the Tank Museum and Monkey World.
That scheme, which launched in June 2022, was partnered by Dorset Council and South Western Railway, and it has been suggested that Dorset Council may be interested in exploring a similar trial in Swanage.
A spokesperson for Beryl said that there were regrettably no plans for an extension in Swanage at the moment which would need a partnership with Dorset Council, but that they were hopeful of a scheme in the future.
Bringing bikes over from Sandbanks to Studland on the on the chain ferry
Green Beryl bikes unlocked by smart phones
In the meantime, riders who pick up bikes at Studland will not be prevented from travelling out of zone to other places in Purbeck, such as Swanage, and will only be charged an out-of-zone fee (currently £10) if the bike’s lock was applied outside of Studland.
The distinctive green Beryl bikes can be unlocked by holding a smartphone against the handlebars, and many have an electric assist to make cycling quicker and easier. They can be parked in marked bays for free, and closing the lock on the bike will end the journey.
Riders have a payment choice of pay as you ride for a £1 unlock fee and 5p per minute, cheaper bundles starting at 100 minutes for £5 with no unlock fee, or day passes for £12. Helmets are not provided but its highly recommended to bring your own.
Beryl bikes at Middle Beach car park in Studland, ready to be used at any time
One of the new Beryl bikes is taken out for a spin on Studland roads
Chance to explore an area of great beauty
Beryl cofounder, Phil Ellis, said:
“This extension of our scheme into Studland gives people the opportunity to explore an area of outstanding natural beauty, rich in things to see and do, in a fun, easy-to-use and sustainable manner.
“With the longer days and warmer weather on the horizon, I’m confident that this will not only be popular with existing Beryl users, but will also encourage others to give our services a try.
“That can only be a good thing as we continue to try and further reduce traffic congestion, while improving air quality and public health.”
On the beach at Studland at the latest Beryl bike launch
Bikes to help sustainable tourism plan
As well as the support from the National Trust, the Studland scheme is being backed by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) partnership.
Sally King, visitor tourism and access manager for the Dorset AONB team, said:
“Reducing traffic, and enabling visitors to access and enjoy the wider natural landscape without having to get in their cars is an important part of the sustainable tourism plan for the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve.
“We’re delighted to have helped support the extension of the Beryl bike service which helps deliver this key aim.”
The bikes can be activated with an app on any smart phone
- Details of all Beryl cycle schemes, including real time availability, are on its website