16. Poole to Kimmeridge

It is almost 5 years ago when I decided to begin walking the South West Coast Path and was quite apprehensive at the time whether I could complete the 630 mile route. Little did I envisage that two years later having just completed the SWCP and already walking around the Wales Coast Path, I would decide to go the ‘whole hog’ and walk the entire coast of Great Britain.

Ok so back to 2013 and an overcast, but dry and muggy day. I drove to and parked in a quarry just above the village of Kimmeridge in Dorset. I had arranged for a lift from my sister’s husband who live close by in Swanage. Dave had kindly agreed to drop me off at South Haven Point opposite Sandbanks where the ferry comes across over Poole Harbour.

After watching the ferry come and go I set off along Shell Bay. The beach was not very busy as I made my way around the headland and then along Studland Bay. I passed a couple of warning signs advising me that the southern section of the beach was frequented  by Naturists. Thankfully, no one was baring all today. I left the beach and passed through the small village of Studland. The path soon transferred onto a broad common area and I soon arrived at the superb Old Harry’s Rocks, a collection of chalk sea stacks with internal arches. The common land continued along Old Nicks Ground and onto Ballard Down before dropping down into Swanage. I called in at my sister’s house in Swanage to say hello and get a cuppa.

The official start/end of the South West Coast Path at South Haven Point
At Old Harry’s Rocks
Old Harry’s Rocks
Approaching Swanage

Determined to try some of the local fish and chips on offer in the town, I bought a portion and continued to eat them as I slowly make my way out to Peveril Point. I rounded the Point and continued onto Durliston Head. I desisted from exploring the folly that is Durliston Castle and continued onto Anvil Point where there is a lighthouse and the Tally Whim Caves, long since closed because of structural instability. I continued along the coast and noticed large patches of sea fog drifting ashore. The temperature dropped and I heard a tannoy sounding as though giving out information. Then out of the mist came, much to my surprise, the paddle steamer Waverley. Frequently seen in the Firth of Clyde, this last remaining sea-going paddle steamer does cruises along the Jurassic Coast during September.

I passed a number of old quarries on the cliff edge, including one called Dancing Ledge. I arrived at St Alban’s Head and had a quick chat with one of the coastguard Officers on duty. A few hundred yards away is the old Norman St Aldhelms Chapel and a row of old Coastguard Cottages. The site was used in the James Blunt music video “I’ll Carry You Home”.

With James Blunt still ringing in my ears I descended  a very steep set of steps only to have to regain the height through a another set – it was quite a punishing set of Down and Up with hundreds of steps to descend and climb and not appreciated at this stage of the walk! I approached, high above, a  tranquil Chapmans Pool and pass The Royal Marines Memorial.

After descending off West Hill the path contoured around a couple of hills before ascending Houns-tout Cliff. However, a recent cliff fall had meant a lengthy detour inland. The diversion went along a road into the village of Kingston, before turning left and following a road then farm track to a quarry above Kimmeridge. By this time the light had begun to fade on a long and tiring day. I drove to Corfe Castle where I had booked a room for the night in one of the local pubs.

Tally Whim Caves
Near Dancing Ledge
The paddle steamer Waverley
Coastguard lookout at St. Albans Head
Steep Down and Up near Chapmans Pool
Chapmans Pool

Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance =   262 miles

 

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15. Abergele to Conwy

This was a short walk as I joined fellow supporters of AFC Telford United in the final stages of a charity walk to raise money for a local hospice and Club funds.

The original plan was that a small group of supporters would walk the 80+ miles from Telford in Shropshire to Conwy in Gwynedd over 3 or 4 days. The final leg from Abergele to Conwy would coincide with the first preseason friendly football game between AFC Telford and Conwy FC; this would give the opportunity for other supporters to join the  walk for the final leg.

I drove to and parked in Conwy and then caught an early train down to Abergele and Pensarn. I walked first around to the hotel where the walkers, who had done the complete distance from Telford had been staying. About 15 walkers, including The Chairman, a Director and the Manager set off on the final leg to Conwy. The route was very simple, head out to the shore road and follow the promenade all the way to Rhos-on-Sea and then cut inland towards Llandudno Junction.

It turned out to be a very hot day, with little sea breeze. We passed through Colwyn Bay, mingling with the summer tourists along the prom. It was not long before we reached a road running inland by the Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club. We then cut through a housing estate and then along minor roads without any footpaths. By the time we reached the outskirts of Llandudno Junction, some of the non-regular walkers were beginning to flag. We arrived and at the bridge over the River Conwy and the sight of the magnificent Conwy Castle spurned everyone on in knowing that the football ground was only a couple of miles away. We were met by representatives of Conwy football club who indicated the best way through the town to the football ground.

Although the walk was longer than the 7 miles indicated, the section  along the coast and  across the Conwy Bridge was only counted in my mileage. Because the walk had cut-off the main Llandudno Peninsular, I would return some three years later to fill the gap when I took on the Wales Coast Path.

Setting off from Abergele
Crossing the bridge over The River Conwy
Heading into Conwy
Conwy Castle

Distance today = 7 miles
Total distance =   241 miles

 

14. Silverdale to Flookburgh

In 2013, I participated in a sponsored walk across Morecambe Bay for Cancer Care. The thought of walking around the coast of Great Britain had not entered into my head, but I have decided to include this walk as part of my greater challenge.

Apparently there are a number of these walks lead by local experts throughout the summer, all for good causes.

This was the ultimate low-level walk and I was looking forward it. The walk was in conjunction with a half-marathon of 13 miles, where the runners joined the walkers at about the half-way point.

We parked at the Cark airfield (which was the end of the walk) and a stream of buses was provided to transport runners and walkers to their various start points across the Bay. We set out from Gibraltar Farm, Silverdale

The walk itself was very enjoyable, especially being so far out from land and definitely worth doing if you are in the area.

http://www.crossbay.org.uk/

Thats all of the narrative, I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking

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Arriving at Gibraltar Farm, Silverdale

 

 

 

 

 

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Safety briefing

 

 

 

 

 

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Preparing to set off

 

 

 

 

 

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On our way

 

 

 

 

 

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Heading towards Heysham Power Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps not this way!

 

 

 

 

 

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All were welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

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First checkpoint, the tiny dot in the distance is the next checkpoint

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About as deep as it got

 

 

 

 

 

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The first runner in the half-marathon race catches us up

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Others join and the group becomes strung-out

 

 

 

 

 

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Approaching the shore

 

 

 

 

 

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Not 13 miles for us, but a great walk nonetheless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My medal!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 7 miles
Total distance =   234 miles

 

 

 

13. Wells-next-the-Sea to Hunstanton

This was the final section of the walk with my friend Rob along the Norfolk Coastal Path. Unfortunately, I took few notes and equally few photos of this walk and with the event being sometime  ago, this report  will be quite short of content.

We drove to the seaside town of Hunstanton for a walk that would see the completion of The Norfolk Coastal Path. We caught an early morning bus through to Wells-next-the-Sea and  set off along a road that ran out to the Coastguard lookout post. We immediately turned left continuing through a mixture of dunes and Old Scots Pine trees. We walked along Holkham Meals through to Holkham Gap where there was a small car park. We continued along hard compact sand through Holkham Nature Reserve. We lost the trees and emerged on a road track alongside Overy Creek. The first  village of our  walk was Burnham Overy Staithe .

We passed into and along the fringe of  the vast expanse of Salt marsh that is Burnham Norton Nature Reserve. The actual coast was way over  across the marsh with its myriad of small pools and creeks, almost a lie away. We continued along an old sea bank into our next village Burnham Deepdale. We walked on the path at the back of houses for some distance soon arriving at the village of Brancaster. Here to avoid walking along the A149 we continued inland slightly. After passing about 6 or 7 fields we emerged close to the larger village of Thornham where we made our way out again to the sea bank.

The Coaster having just dropped us off in Wells-next-the-Sea
Walking along Holkham Meals
Burnham Overy harbour
The old windmill at Burnham Overy Staithe
Near Gore Point

We passed through another nature Reserve and out past Gore Point. We arrived at Holme-next-the-Sea and met up with the Peddars Way, another National Trail linking with the Norfolk Coastal path. We also crossed Hunstanton Golf Course so we knew it was not that far to go, especially after the rain began to fall. We passed through the small village of Old Hunstanton closer to the sea than we had been all day. The rain did not abate as we arrived in Hunstanton, we were glad to have completed a very long day.

P.S I actually walked the Peddars Way some 6 years later in 2013. The area had suffered some storm damage including the Golf Club which had greens washed away in the storm surge.

Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance =   227 miles

 

12. Cromer to Wells-next-the-Sea

I must admit, looking back, I remember little about this walk. However, I do remember doing the walk with my friend Rob, who also completed the rest of the Norfolk Coastal Path with me  on our next visit. This visit was to be quite simple, we would drive to and park in Wells-next-the-Sea and catch the coast bus to Cromer and simply walk westwards back to Wells, trying to keep as close to the coast as possible.

After visiting the small but well-kept pier with its theatre and lifeboat station, we set off westwards out of Cromer. Our first point of interest was Beeston Hill which we climbed to be rewarded with a great view overlooking Sheringham and further west along the coast. We made a detour into Sheringham to visit the steam railway. The station was very busy and we were lucky to see a steam train pulling in, Engine No 61572, a popular attraction on The North Norfolk railway.

We continued westwards along the boulder clay cliff tops and past Weybourne Hope. We were soon on the Salthouse marshes which merged into the larger Cley Marshes Nature Reserve. After reaching Cley Eye we met the River Glaven which meant we had to track inland along its banks until we came to the first bridging point. We passed a very impressive windmill complete with sail and rotor tail. The mill has been used as a hotel for almost 100 years now and is Grade 2 listed.

We rounded the first bridging point and continued out again to the edge of the marsh. The whole area is a series of creeks within various marshes. We passed close by the old ruined chapel of Blakeney Chapel, although we could not see anything as there are no surface visible signs of the chapel today. We  continued along the edge of the marsh towards the village of Blakeney where we also had to detour slightly inland before continuing on along the flat path near to Morston and then onto Wells-Next-the-Sea. Although being some miles from the sea, it has a small quay where boats were tied up. It does however, still have  a small serviceable harbour and is quite a busy little town with shops and pubs.

Cromer Pier
Looking westwards over Sheringham from Beeston Hill
Sheringham railway station
Heading west at Sheringham
Looking west from Skelding Hill
Onto the shingle at Weybourne Hope
Picking a good route through the shingle near Salthouse Marsh
The windmill near Cley-next-the-Sea
Incredibly small, thin and narrow homes in Wells-next-the-Sea
The harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea
The harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea

Distance today = 24 miles
Total distance =   204 miles

 

3. Trefin to Goodwick

I’m pretty sure I caught a taxi from Fishguard to the small village of Trefin, where I would start my walk from. As this was a Saturday, no buses were running so thats why I caught a taxi.. I got dropped off in the centre of Trefin and walked a short distance west out of the village and down to where the PCP joined the road.

I joined the coastal pathand began walking eastwards back to Goodwick. The walking was quite easy and I soon arrived at the small coastal hamlet of Abercastle.  The coastline in this area showed some large landslips that had occurred recently, with the coastal path having to be diverted on numerous occasions. I remember nothing of passing by Aber Mawr beach, but recall looking northwards to towards Strumble Head and the craggy summit of Garn Fawr in the distance. Passing by Pwll Deri, the resistant dolerite stacks and skerries where an impressive sight. I managed to get a zoomed shot of the Irish Ferry sailing past Strumble Head lighthouse on its approach to Goodwick. I passed the Carreg Goffa memorial to the spot of the last invasion of Britain  in 1797. Somewhere around Carnfachach I managed to get my first glimpse of grey seals and was able to look down onto a secret stony beach where 3 seal pups were sleeping. The 18 miles began to take its toll as I neared the end of the walk.

Looking across Aber Draw to Llanlleifer
Landslips near Pwll Llong
Near Castell Coch
Abercastle
Looking northwards Strumble Head with Irish Ferry in the distance
Strumble Head
Looking down on young Grey Seal pups

Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance =   49 miles

 

2. Newport to Goodwick

I must admit that because of the paucity of notes and photos taken at the time of this walk my  memories are a little sketchy and sparse.

I certainly remember driving in a single day down to Newport and catching the coastline bus west to Goodwick, which is just located the other side of the town of Fishguard. I set off on the pavement alongside the A40 road which ran into Fishguard. Fishguard is quite a charming small town , with its multi-coloured town cottages and narrow streets. The path followed the cliff line and avoided the town, eventually emerging above a small bay linking to Lower Town (Cwm). Here I rejoined the main road and walked around the small bay and out towards the Castle Point and the ruined fort. The fort was built in 1781 to guard against privateers and has an impressive array of cannons.

I continued eastwards following the steep cliffline, passing through a caravan park and then onto the beach at Hescwm. For some reason, which I cannot remember  I did not walk out to and around Dinas Head, but followed the path directly to Cwm-y-Eglwys. A few miles later I arrived back at Parrog Sands. With the tide now out I was able to cut across the beach and head to the car park at Newport.

Looking down to Lower Town (CWM)
Looking across to Cwm
Lower Town (Cwm)
Cannons at Castle point fort
Looking across to Goodwick Ferry Terminal
Looking east towards the beach at Hescwm

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   31 miles