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South West A Week on the Dorset Coast

Pauline

Forums Admin
We are back in Dorset for the week. We came down to look at a house for rent and thought we would spend the week since it is just before high season, vacation rental prices are reasonable and places are available. We booked a tiny cottage on the edge of Bridport. The fabulous place we stayed in March was not available.

By the time we got here, the rental house had been taken. We did a walk by of another and happened to meet the owner working in the garden, so got to see it. Incredible old stone house in the center of a small village, but it is bigger than we need and that valley is prone to wind and fog. But the house is full of character and has a lovely garden. Nothing else interesting to rent so we are tourists for the week.

Sunday was sunny and beautiful so we did a walk on the coast trail from West Bay. After we had fish and chips sitting outside with the Sunday beach crowds.

Today, Tuesday, we drove east to Purbeck Island (it isn't an island), an area we have not been to before except to see Durdle Door, a rock formation on the coast, on our last trip. First we went to Studland for the views towards Sandbanks, Poole and Bournemouth. We looked at a bunker built during WW2 when they did a test of the Normandy Landings there!

We walked the mile out to Old Harry Rocks, an interesting rock formation where the white cliffs are separating. From there you could see the similar white cliffs on the Isle of Wight. The sun was shining and it was beautiful!

Then the skies opened and we got soaked from the bottom of our rain jackets to our feet. Then the sun came back out and we dried off surprisingly fast.

We drove to Swanage, a pretty Victorian seaside town, and had the best tea and cake ever. I think getting soaked makes things taste better.

Next to Castle Corfe, an 11th century castle built by William the Conquerer. It sits on a hill overlooking the village. We walked all around it and up to it. The skies opened again just as we got back to the car.

Explored Poundbury, a newly built town on the edge of Dorchester, to look at a house for rent. I like Pondbury but it is very close to the highway that bypasses Dorchester and the road noise was loudish.

Photo of Old Harry Rocks at Studland.

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Photo of WWII bunker at Studland.

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Photo of Corfe Castle.

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Photo of Victorian pier at Swanage.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Today we went for a walk between three villages a few miles north of Bridport. We walked from Beaminster (pronounced Bemster), a small town with shops, to Netherbury, a beautiful village in a valley, then to Stoke Abbott, a larger village with a pub. From there we walked on the Wessex Ridgeway trail back to Beaminster. It took about four hours but we were walking slowly and consulting the route notes frequently.

One of my concerns about moving to this area is the quality of the footpaths. No where is better than the Cotswolds for walking. There are a lot of footpaths here and they are reasonably well marked. The main trail here is the coast path, but it turns out there are a lot of inland trails too.

Today we walked up and down several hills, through a forest full of garlic flowers and another with bluebells, along farm fields, through several fields with horses, one with donkeys and many with sheep. There are some new lambs about.

We went off the trail at one point and had to ask directions and were very rudely told to "read your bloody map". People are usually friendly to walkers so this was shocking! He goes on my list with the very rude tea room owner in Winchcombe from a few years back.

Other than that, the day was perfect. The sun came and went, but mostly it was out. We ate our sandwiches on a bench in a church yard where sheep wandered among the gravestones. Stoke Abbott is a postcard perfect village with wisteria hanging on thatched cottages.

After walking we drove down to the sea and had tea and cake at the Hive Beach cafe, sat on a table outside and watched the waves. The local Dorset Apple Cake is excellent. I really like Hive beach, at Burton Bradstock, just a few miles from Bridport.

To complete our English seaside vacation day, we had fish and chips for dinner (Steve did, I had a cauliflower cheese and chips) in Bridport.

The weather has been good enough. Monday was not good but we hung around in the cottage until the rain stopped and then went out. Yesterday we had a few big showers, but sun otherwise. Sun is predicted for tomorrow. It is a bit cold for this time of year - low 60s. I had hoped to go swimming!

Photo of sheep along the footpath.

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Photo of a batch of bluebells in the woods.

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Photo of the view over the south Dorset countryside.

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jonathan

100+ Posts
A bit cold! You can say that again... It was 7C as we drove back into Stroud tonight (after a day in London & an evening rehearsal in Oxford). Sunny at times, but cold walking round London.

One of our oldest friends lives in Stoke Abbott! We've stayed there quite a few times.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
One of our oldest friends lives in Stoke Abbott! We've stayed there quite a few times.

It is a very cute village!

Today it was hot (well, almost - 60F) and sunny again. We have been lucky with the weather. We parked at the National Trust car park at Langdon Hill and walked from there to Golden Cap, the highest point on the coast in this area. It was a shorter climb than from Seatown, the route we did a few years ago. Stunning views up and down the coast from Golden Cap. Then a lovely walk around the woods which were full of bluebells. They will be done soon, but are just past their peak now.

We drove down to the beach at Charmouth, a small town near Lyme Regis, and had our sandwiches sitting on a bench looking at the sea. Long sandy beaches here and the town is back from the beach.

Then to West Bay for afternoon tea and a walk along the beach where they filmed some of the TV series Broadchurch. This is my favorite place for swimming but it wasn't warm enough today.

Walked around more Bridport neighborhoods. We were walking in a sort of gated community below Coneygar Hill, just off the high street where there is a house for sale and met one of the neighbors who told us all about this little community of 15 houses built in the grounds of a Georgian manor house. The manor house is now 5 large apartments, the coach house and stables were converted into houses, and the rest of the houses were built in 1999 but look old. The neighborhood backs onto Coneygar Hill. Even though you are only a few blocks from Bridport high street, you feel like you are in the country and you can see the sea in the distance. Each house has a garden but there are also large shared gardens. Perfect! Pity that even the smallest house is well beyond our budget and there must be yearly fees for the shared stuff. Still, it was nice get a tour of the area instead of being screamed at for trespassing (which we were). Different from yesterday :)

Our last day tomorrow. We are due to leave Saturday morning, but sometimes we leave the night before since it only a 2.5 hour drive. Our plan is to visit Weymouth tomorrow, a seaside town just 30 mins east. We have not been there yet.

Photo of the bluebells in the woods on Langdon Hill - they were everywhere! And at their best.

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Photo of the coast path below Golden Cap.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
Friday evening and we are home. We skipped Weymouth (next time!) and instead had breakfast at Hive Beach cafe, said goodbye to the ocean, drove through a few more villages and Bridport neighborhoods, then left in the afternoon.

It is a Bank Holiday weekend here. The M5 northbound was held up for about 20 mins because of an accident. Watching the southbound traffic it was thick and barely moving for miles, from north of the M4 to south of Weston Super Mare. I think it was an accident there too. The motorways are so busy in the southwest that an accident can cause a very long delay on the roads.

We had a lovely week!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
A couple of "Broadchurch" photos (UK TV series filmed in this area).

Photo of the cabin used in the TV series. It is in Eype, a couple of miles from West Bay.

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Photo of the spectacular West Bay beach (Jurassic Coast) used in the TV series.

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Pauline

Forums Admin
One more sheep photo. These ones were in a field beside the church at Stoke Abbott, where we stopped to have our sandwiches. They seemed pleased to see us.

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