I parked my car at Ferrybridge, close to the road that leads out towards Portland. I am using my moped again and drive the little two-wheeler back through Weymouth and along the coast road to Lulworth. Its free to park the bike and I leave it chained up in the corner of the car park – I’ll be back for it later.
Today was a sunny and dry day, except that it was very, very windy which was onshore. I set off on the really well made path that runs along the chalk cliffs towards Durdle Door. I pass over Hambury Tout and join the roller-coaster up and down of the SWCP along the chalk cliff tops. I drop down and pass the small arch that is Durdle Door and continue over Swyre Head and down to Middle Bottom. At White Nothe I descend from the chalk cliffs which begin to disappear under more recent strata. I pass the old Coastguard cottages and continue past Burning Cliff, no longer burning thankfully. I can see Weymouth quite easily now.
At Osmington Mills I stop for a pint at the quaint thatched roof in called the Smugglers Arms, one of many such named in the area. Soon after the path joins the A353 and I begin to walk along the long sweeping seawall, that leads right into Weymouth. Weymouth is very busy and is somewhat sheltered from the ferocious wind that I had been expereiencing on the higher downs. I decide to get some fish and chips, which were not bad, but I’ve tasted better. I continue past the ferry terminal and cross over the harbour bridge. I walk around Nothe Point and the Fort. Passing the Bincleaves Groyne I continue along suburban streets until I emerge at Ferry Bridge.
Distance today = 14 miles
Total distance = 296 miles
This was just a single days walk that I completed with my brother Michael. I had occasionally climbed a number of mountains in England, Scotland and Wales with Mick, but that was a few years ago and he had not done a great deal of walking since. Still, this was a short days walk, but with a number of up and downs. This was also the first time I tested out my Fiat Doblo / Moped combination.
I opted to drop Mick off close to Kimmeridge and then to drive to Lulworth Cove. I then unloaded the moped which I had carried inside of the Doblo and made my way back to Kimmeridge on the moped. I parked up and we set off down to the coastal path. It was fairly overcast, but warm and muggy.
After passing the small oil well with its “Nodding Donkey” we were faced with the steep climb up to Tyneham Cap, where we continued along Gad Cliff. However, we were soon descending down to the deserted village of Tyneham. Tyneham was handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 1943, during the Second World War. The population were moved out and a considerable part of the Purbeck Hills was taken over as a firing range. The Range is still used today and is predominantly a tank firing range. The village and whole area is closed when firing occurs. We spent some time going through the village. It was quite amazing and sad reading all the info boards which set out who lived at what particular house, using photographs of most of the village people.
We rejoined the coastal path at Worbarrow and continued onto the firing range. We passed large target vehicles which had been destroyed by the shell fire. We descended from Rings Hill and immediately climbed Bindon Hill. The walking was very steep and Mick was suffering with the steep ascents. Eventually we reached Lulworth Cove, just as it started to rain.
We then drove back to Kimmeridge to pick up the moped.
Distance today = 7 miles
Total distance = 282 miles
I had been looking forward to doing a circuit of the “isle” of Portland for some time, although I had previously visited Portland on a University field trip back in 1973. I parked close to the Ferrybridge Hotel and set off on the footpath along the A354, the only road linking Portland. The road was very busy with early morning traffic going in both directions.
The footpath soon merged with the fabulous Chesil Beach or Chesil Bank, a tombolo of shingle running for 18 miles, parallel with the coastline. I climbed up onto the bank, but walking over the shingle was very hard work and so I reverted to the footpath. The bank eventually joined Portland at Chiswell, where houses first appeared. The path climbed up a steep path behind the houses and eventually emerged at the old Tout Limestone Quarry, now a sculpture park. I was fascinated by the animal sculptures strewn about the quarry. I could see work already in progress – a fantastic use of the quarry. The view back down and along Chesil Beach was amazing.
I continued above the limestone cliffs of the west coast, passing through old quarries and gradually descending towards the southern tip of Portland Bill. I passed above rock-climbers honing their skills on West Cliff. I passed the first of three lighthouses on this part of the island and rounded Portland Bill.
The path continued north hugging the shore. The east side of Portland is low-lying and was extensively quarried for its valuable stone. There were many industrial remnants of the previous quarrying, including large wooden winches for moving the stone. After passing through the Southwell landslip, the land rose to form steeper cliffs. Most of the NE part of Portland is still given over to MOD and I missed a SWCP sign instructing me to go uphill. When I did find my way up the steep side of the hill I emerged close to one of a small number of quarries still operating on Portland. The path continued onto HMP The Verne, where I walked around the high perimeter security fencing. I walked on towards Portland Castle and followed the road back to Chiswell to rejoin my earlier route. As I had already walked out to Portland I caught a bus back to my car at Ferrybridge.
Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 275 miles
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.
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.
Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 262 miles
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.
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.
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
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.
Distance today = 24 miles
Total distance = 204 miles