Dorset and East Devon - 170 Miles Approx

Christchurch Town harbour

Dorset is a wonderful, beautiful county.  A stunning coastline, rolling hills, south facing climate....  and Bournemouth Sad

 

I actually like Bournemouth, but coming from the East the first introduction to Dorset is the great urban jungle of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole, strtching for mile after traffic-choked mile, almost endlessly.

Boscombe Pier and beaches

Ok,  Christchurch has a cathedral, cobbled streets and a marina.

 

Bournemouth has Boscombe Down, two piers, miles of golden beaches and probably a couple of Golden Nugget sal0ons somewhere.

 

Poole has a ferry port, some of the most expensive housing in the country and Sandbanks play area for grown-ups.

 

But it seems endless.

 

 However, it does end and it ends delightfully with a ferry crossing the narrow stretch of water between Sandbanks and Studland and once across it is beautiful, delightful Dorset, starting with a gem of a peninsular called Studland, an area of inlets, sandy beaches and heathland thankfully protected by the National Trust.

Studland from the ferry

Even the driving rain could not dampen the charm of Swanage

The drive to Swanage is delightful, the heathland and salt marshes around Studland are really quite attractive, as is Swanage.

A bit touristy now, but still a lovely beach in a lovely setting and in glorious rolling Dorset countryside.  This is a coastline of coves, reached on one-way roads, until Weymouth is reached.

First KImmeridge, then Lulworth. Beautiful, unspoilt.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth towards Weymouth

The coastal scenery all the way to Weymouth is glorious.  It's just getting to it, down cul-de-sacs, that can be a little tedious, but well worth it.

Weymouth itself is lovely.

A nice beach, a nice seafront, probably a nice golden nugget saloon and...

Chesil beach.

Chesil beach is an 18 mile long, trillions of pebbles reef that it Englands only natural world heritage site.

Chisel beach

It is a vital barrier between the coast and the Atlantic western approaches.  THere is a very nice visitor centre and along much of it's lenth the road linking Portland to the mainland runs. Walking it though is hard work.  Not recommended 

Shortly after Weymouth is Bridport bay and then the historic Lyme bay and Lyme Regis.

 

Regis in a title normally means it was visited by someone regal. In the case of Lyme it has had two important visitors, first the Duke of Monmouth, landing here to claim the crown from James 2nd, and raising the unsuccessful pitchfork rebellion in the process.

Bridport bay

Lyme Bay

THe second visitor was also trying to oust James 2nd and he had rather more luck.  He was William of Orange and unlike Monmouth had a a rather more welcoming visit culminating in him becoming William 3rd during what was called the Glorious revolution

Soon after Lyme Regis so East Devon is reached.

The devonshire end of the Jurassic coast is just the same as the Dorset end though, Glorious, pebbly and all part of the same Unesco heritage coast. It is called the Jurassic coast for the volume and quality of the fossils uncovered with each successive landslip.

By now this old fossil was also beginning to slip, mentally, for the traffic was awful and Dorset / East Deon roads are not the best in the world.

 

Devon is rather more quaint than Dorset though, with sleepy resorts such as Seaton and Sidmouth to beguile the visitor.

 

The lovely little coastal resort of Seaton.

Quaintest of them all is just after Seaton and, for me, a great emotional moment.

It was here, in 1993, that I was forced to abandon an attempt to backpack all of the 630 miles of the SW Coast path. After 500 miles of excruciating pain from bouts of cluster headache, difficult back problems resulting from an old climbing injury, the last straw was a knee-wrenching fall leaving Torquay. I staggered on for a few more miles but here, in BS, it all came to an end.

Budeigh Salterton

Despite the bad memories I like Budleigh Salterton, and, if you pop over to my "South West Coast Path" section, you will read that I am on my way there again.  Rather more sedately though.

Anyway, just a bit further along, at Sidmouth, this section ends.

ALBERT!  Time to leave the Jurassic coast and take the old Fossil off to South Devon and the gloroius South Hams.  ONWARDS!!