Today we will be driving 130 miles along the Dorset coast and into Devon. The distance is a little more than we had originally planned, as we decided to visit Portland Bill early this morning, rather than yesterday evening. The clocks also went back today, so we made an early start soon after sunrise.
Photo of the day
The cliffs at Sidmouth.
An early Sunday morning stop at Weymouth Beach, and someone was already going for a swim in the sea. Looks chilly.
Weymouth’s Drawbridge in the old town harbour.
We were the only people walking around the historic harbour on this very quiet Sunday morning.
We stopped next at Nothe Fort, but it hadn’t opened yet for the day, so we drove on to Sandsfoot Castle. The castle had been completed in 1541 by Henry VIII to defend against attacks from the French and Spanish.
Isle of Portland
After a quick stop at Portland Castle at the bottom of the hill, we continued on to The Olympic Rings Stone Sculpture. There were great views across Weymouth and Chesil Beach stretching west as far as the eye could see.
Portland Bill’s current working lighthouse at the tip of the Isle.
The previous Old Higher Lighthouse, over a hedge and across fields at the top of Branscombe Hill…
…and its sister, the Old Lower Lighthouse.
Driving back to the mainland, we drove along the edge of Chesil Beach (AKA Chesil Bank), that we had seen from the Olympic Rings. The 18 mile long shingle beach is one of the largest in Britain.
Driving inland, almost parallel to Chesil Beach, through rolling green fields towards Abbotsbury Abbey.
Looking back-down to Chesil Beach, past cows enjoying the lush grass.
As we continued along the coastal road between Abbotsbury and Swyre, we had far-reaching views west along the Jurassic Coast.
The distinctively coloured East Cliffs, close to where one of West Bay’s original fishing harbour’s lay. The rich colour of the cliffs was caused by the oxidation of pyrite.
The remains of the old trainline and station, now a cafe.
A lone boat on Seatown’s pebble beach.
A busy lunchtime at Charmouth, as beach walkers enjoyed the views towards the Golden Cap.
Views from The Cobb across Sandy Beach. Lyme Regis was absolutely packed with tourists, we were really lucky to find a parking space.
Leaving Dorset behind, we continued into Devon. After driving through Seaton, we made our next stop at the quaint little fishing village of Beer. It was surprisingly quiet. Perhaps everyone had gone to Lyme Regis for the day?!
Fishing boats resting on their day-off under the white chalk cliffs.
The bright red Triassic cliffs of Sidmouth, glowing as the sun shone through a break in the clouds.
Collecting donations for the local lifeboat, but looking a little odd…
More luminous red cliffs surrounding Budleigh Salterton’s bay and pebble beach.
Looking into the sun across the River Exe to Dawlish Warren from Exmouth Beach.
We continued our journey by looping north to cross the River Exe near Exeter. We then drove back down the west side of the Exe before stopping briefly at Cockwood Harbour.
A giant pink elephant towering above one of the funfair rides at Dawlish Warren.
Exmouth beyond Dawlish Warren Beach and the River Exe.
The sun starting to set as we arrived at Teignmouth Pier and Beach.
Regatta boats neatly lined up on Shaldon Beach, with Teignmouth in the background on the other side of the River Teign.
Shaldon was a lovely little fishing village to potter around, with its cosy lanes and Georgian cottages.
Entering Torbay, we made our first stop at Thatcher Point, overlooking Thatcher Rock, and over to Brixham and Berry Head in the distance. Julian already knew Torbay well, as his parents and grandparents previously had homes there.
As the clocks had gone back today, the evening light faded early. So we made our final stop of the day in Torquay Harbour before driving to Paignton for the night.
On day forty-one we are continuing our road-trip along the Dorset coast from Highcliffe. We will then follow the beautiful Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site) from Studland Bay, as we continue to Weymouth.
Photo of the day
Our first stop of the day at Highcliffe Castle, considered one of the best remaining examples of Romantic and Picturesque style architecture in the country.
Early morning views looking east along Highcliffe Beach.
Looking past the Steamer Point Nature Reserve towards Avon Beach and its rows of colourful beach huts.
A tranquil Mudeford Quay. We had never seen it so quiet (tip – go 8am in the morning!). On the other side of the water, the tip of Hengistbury Head and its pricey beach huts.
Fisherman cottages at Mudeford Quay.
The local fishermen were busy getting ready for the day. Lobster Pots, buoys and fishing nets piled high on the quay.
The Norman House and Christchurch Priory alongside the River Avon flowing through Christchurch.
Looking east from Overcliff Drive above Boscombe Beach. In the distance you can just make out The Needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight.
A touch of Hollywood in Dorset… Boscombe Pier was recently used in the filming of Dame Joan Collins’ latest film ‘The Times of Their Lives’.
Bournemouth Pier with Studland Bay and the Isle of Purbeck in the background, where we will be heading in the afternoon.
Branksone Chine Beach
It had been a glorious morning until we arrived at lovely sandy Branksone Shine Beach, when suddenly grey clouds started forming above our heads.
We looped around Sandbanks to nosey at the flashy houses (one the most expensive areas of real-estate in the UK). Unimpressed, we had a quick stop at Sandbanks Beach, then continued around a rather grey Poole Harbour.
Stopping for lunch at Wareham’s Saturday Market by the river.
Corfe Castle in the middle of the Isle of Purbeck. It was a really busy day at the National Trust property. Lots of families were out enjoying the sunshine that had gratefully reappeared.
How cool is this! A Teddy Bear Zip Wire. Now we know why it was so busy at the castle 😉
Kids were queuing up to send their teddy bears (at quite some speed) down the line.
There were also traditional craft demonstrations, including this leather smith.
As Halloween was around the corner, the castle was suitably decorated.
Heading back to the sea at Studland Bay, there were great vistas back over Poole Harbour.
Studland Beach was surprisingly busy with walkers. The beach stretched passed Knoll Beach, all the way around Studland Bay and Shell Bay, almost back to Sandbanks on the other side of the Poole Harbour entrance.
The Dragon’s Teeth behind Studland Beach were used as defences against possible enemy tanks.
Old Harry Rocks at the south end of Studland Bay.
Looking back across a calm Swanage Bay.
Waiting for a coffee and a cake at Durlston Castle, allowed us time to take in the great views back along the coast past Durlston Bay, Swanage Bay and the Old Harry Rocks.
The Great Globe, at Durlston National Nature Reserve. One of the largest stone spheres in the world. It was constructed in Greenwich from Portland stone in 1887 then shipped to Swanage.
Anvil Point Lighthouse right on the southern tip of the Durlston National Nature Reserve.
Rolling landscape driving down a small toll road through the Smedmore Estate to Kimmeridge Bay.
Clavell Tower above Kimmeridge Bay.
Bands of clay and bituminous shale crumbling down the Jurassic cliffs around the bay.
Canoe lessons in the sheltered bay, which is part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve.
The rather grand Creech Grange near Steeple on the way to Lulworth.
Cute holiday-let cottages in the touristy village of Lulworth Cove.
Parking in the village was expensive, everyone at the ticket machine was moaning and joking at the cost, which is a bit of shame when you feel ripped-off before you’ve even visited the place. We weren’t really impressed with the shops or information centre either. Shame the land isn’t managed by the National Trust. OK rant over… 😉
Anyway, the actual cove itself was stunning.
Amazing rock formations above Stair Hole.
Our final stop of the day at Durdle Door, before driving to Weymouth. More stunning coastal landscapes and views, looking down on Man O’War Beach and St Oswald’s Bay.
Walking down a steep coastal path and steps, we arrived at Durdle Door. Fortunately it wasn’t too busy, as it was the end of the day.
Back at the top of the cliff, even more stunning views to Bat’s Head.