Visit: 23rd December 2013
The site UNESCO calls the Dorset and East Devon Coast is better known in Britain as the Jurassic Coast, on account of the many fossils that have been found there. With the Christmas season upon us, people all over the world head home to their families. It happens that Ross’s family lives on the coast in Dorset, so it seemed like a good idea during a short visit I paid them for us to go and have a look at the famous coast. I had never been before, but had seen pictures of the distinctive Durdle Door (above) and a video of a climber repeatedly trying to climb up the inside of it and falling off into the sea below.
This particular day would not have been a good day to fall into the sea, as it was one of the most blustery days of the year. The wind was particularly strong down at the coast, and indeed we saw no other walkers during our whole visit there. As soon as we got out of Ross’s dad’s car it became apparent why.
As we started off down the path towards Durdle Door the wind was so strong you could lean into it with almost all of your weight and not fall down! I don’t know if the pictures capture the strength of the gale, but it was unlike anything I have experienced before. Since it was primarily blowing inland we decided we probably weren’t risking being swept off the cliffs, so pressed on down.
The cliffs and jagged coast are quite impressive, and were made all the more so by the fierce waves crashing into them that day. The rock formations date from the Mesozoic geological period, which lasted about 185 million years. The inscribed WHS stretches 155km, so we only saw really a very small portion of it. I will go back and walk the rest of it some day, but on this occasion the weather slowed us down so much that covering any real distance was an impossibility.
We headed from Durdle Door and the Man-O-War rocks towards Lulworth Cove via a detour, which had been set up a a result of a landslip in which some of the cliff face had simply collapsed. The cliffs are white and chalky, just like the famous White Cliffs of Dover in places.
After getting nearly blown down a set of steps we reached Lulworth Cove. From what I can tell, this is usually regarded as quite a tranquil place, with a quaint little cove sheltered from the sea. This was not the case on this day – a day in which trains were cancelled across the country, roads flooded and dozens of flights cancelled at Gatwick airport. It still lent itself to a pretty nice panorama, though – a feature I love to use on the iPhone.
Heading home to my own parents’ house the next day (for a four hour Christmas) the aforementioned cancelled trains caused me to end up in Dorchester, where I saw this McDonald’s that I think you’ll agree takes the concept of “field to fork” pretty much to its limit…..