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South West Dorset in March


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We leave on Monday for 4 nights in a vacation rental near Bridport, on the Dorset coast. A "mini-break" in Broadchurch country (UK TV show). The weather has been nice this past week - sunny, mild (for March - 50F), no rain. It looks like we might get some rain next week though.

It is just a 2 hour drive from where we live - so close! But driving in the UK is much harder than driving in the US because of all the roundabouts and lanes. 2 hours in the car here is like 7 hours on an interstate.

Bridport is close to Poole, where you can get a ferry to France - and I was tempted to add on a few days in Normandy/Brittany.

We have been to this area several times, twice staying in Bridport. This time we are looking more closely with the idea of maybe moving there next. But mostly we will be walking along the cliffs looking at the ocean and warming up with cups of tea. And visiting Chesil Beach.

Lisa in Ottawa

500+ Posts
Have fun. I'm jealous. It snowed and was -19 last night. Chesil Beach, that's where the McEwan book is set. Well, I guess that's why you mentioned it. I don't think I've been to that part of England.

I just love the area you are in now. But maybe itchy feet also and time to move on. I can relate.

Look forward to reading all about Dorset.


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@Lisa in Ottawa , the only reason we are leaving this area is because they are going to build a huge incinerator 4 miles from Painswick. > Link to my blog post about it. I love this area but I don't trust incinerator technology enough to live so close. The opposite of itchy feet - we were just about to really commit to this area.

We have a shortlist of possible new places: North Cotswolds around Chipping Norton, West Dorset, Devon around Totnes. Or maybe this area but further east.

I have been complaining about the incinerator on Facebook, but I don't think I have mentioned in on the forums.

Great weather this weekend here - storm coming in next week.

Lisa in Ottawa

500+ Posts
Yes, yes. I know It's terrible. But they could do that anywhere couldn't they? You mentioned it here and in your blog I think. What a stupid thing to do.

BTW, I finished The Casual Vacancy. Wanted to slit my wrists I was so depressed. :( I could see it coming with Krystal. I fast forwarded. How I don't remember the book is beyond me. I must have blanked it out I was so traumatised.


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We had good luck with the weather today! Sunny all day. A bit cold at times. We like the cottage we rented in a village near Bridport. This morning we walked down the lane to the village. The hillsides are terraced from medieval times - Strip Lychets. Full of sheep.

We walked the South West Coast Path east from Burton Bradstock for a couple of hours, making it into the Chesil Beach area. The Hive Cafe, well known in this area, was packed at 1pm. We had thought of lunch there never thinking it would be that crowded. So we skipped it and went "home" for lunch.

In the afternoon we set out with good intentions of driving all around the Bridport neighborhoods, but somehow ended up in Lyme Regis eating chips and walking on the Cobb. Beautiful views of ocean and cliffs and countryside all day long.

Tired from all the walking. This cottage has Netflix!

Looks like good weather tomorrow too.


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Another sunny day! This morning we walked all over Bridport. I really like this town. Then drove down to West Bay and explored some more. In the afternoon. We walked around Beaminster (pronounced BEH minster), much smaller than Bridport but very nice and only 5 miles away. Getting there we decided to take the lanes. Very narrow and winding and hilly and tall hedgerows. We had to pry Steve's hands off the steering wheel (almost) when we stopped.

Stopped in Netherbury, a small village south of Beaminster. A cluster of pretty houses, most of them old, on a hillside above a river. Peaceful and quiet.

Photos from yesterday. Chesil Beach near Burton Bradstock.


Strip Lynchets (medieval farming) on hillside across from the cottage we rented. The cottage is very nice.

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Lisa in Ottawa

500+ Posts
Looks like very early spring. I remember Lyme Regis so I guess I was in Dorset. I get all the regional names confused. Very beautiful. Is there any area of England that isn't gorgeous? We adored The Peak District and parts of Yorkshire and of course The Cotswolds and Lake District. I remember hiking along the coastal path many years ago and being stunned by the views and amazed that they had benches placed just so that you could sit and admire.

I guess which area one chooses to live in (if one is so lucky as to have choices and opportunity) depends on many factors. Certainly the farther north you go, the longer and colder the winters. For me ease of access to a larger center and transport would play a part as well. How insular or not the local population.

I'm sure you'll do a review of your cottage. I love reading reviews. They stimulate my fantasies.


100+ Posts
I think access is the one thing that would put me off living in Dorset (and, even more so, Devon & Cornwall, even though all three have stunning scenery & coastlines): it's really quite a long drive/train until you get back to the rest of the country.

Yes, Lisa, there's fabulous walking to be had further north. We've just fixed a few days in a B&B in Nidderdale (just SE of the Yorkshire Dales National Park) for some walking in late May - en route to Edinburgh for Philippa's marathon on the 31st. We haven't been in the Yorkshire Dales since just before we got married (1981!) - it will be great to be back. We've got a few days walking in the Lake District, too, in June: we've got a concert up there, and will stay on for a couple of days to make the journey more worthwhile.


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We haven't been to Yorkshire Dales, Peak District or Lake District since our big 6 month trip here in 1987!!' So much to see.

Today we spent a few hours in Dorchester, seeing some Roman sites. Then drove to the Purbeck Coast, east of Dorcester to see Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove - very famous Dorset landmarks that we had not seen before. Very windy out there but sunny and beautiful.

Home tomorrow!


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We are home and it was a great, but short, trip. Bridport and Beaminster are now at the top of our "move to next" list.

@jonathan you are right, south west Dorset is not as central as Stroud, but if we look at how we have lived here over the last five years, we see that only places we go from here are Dorset, Devon and Cornwall!! Or to the airports (Bristol, Heathrow, Gatwick). We don't go into London. We hardly go into the nearby cities - Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham.

I would miss being an hour from Bath, but when were in Dorset the owner of the vacation rental had just done a trip up to Bath for the day and it was only a 90 minute drive (it is less than 60 minutes now).

From Dorset we could take the train to London from Dorcester. It is 2 1/2 hours instead of 1 1/2 hours, so day trips would not be as easy. But, we only go into London about once a year. Driving to Heathrow is a bit longer and to Gatwick a bit shorter. We could still drive to Bristol Airport and maybe Exeter has flights? We would be close to the ferries to France from Poole.

The walking/hiking is not as good as the Cotswolds, but it is pretty good.

The main problem that I foresee is finding a good house to rent. They don't seem to have as good a supply as we have in this area. Our current plan is to watch the rental listings and when we see something, drive down immediately to view it - because, like here, the good places go within the first few days (we talked with a local agency).


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It's been 10 years but we've spent time in Cornwall and Devon. I've just been to Dorset once, driving through and stopped at Lyme Regis... but your photos interested me! I like what I've seen of the southwestern coastal areas.

I'm a little sad about you potentially moving away from the Cotswolds because it won't be as easy for us to meet up with you and Steve. But maybe I should be happy because I'll know someone in another part of England and when I have a more flexible schedule (ie retired from my day job), we hope to spend more time in England.

Lisa in Ottawa

500+ Posts
Like Kathy, I look forward to knowing someone in another part of England. It's a small country and nowhere is that far from anywhere else. As you explore various areas, you may find each inviting in different ways.

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