Day 42 – Weymouth to Paignton

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

Coastal Road Trip, Sidmouth, Cliffs, Beach, S W Coast Path
The cliffs at Sidmouth.



Coastal Road Trip, Weymouth, Beach, Swimmer, Swimming
An early Sunday morning stop at Weymouth Beach, and someone was already going for a swim in the sea.  Looks chilly.
Coastal Road Trip, Weymouth, Drawbridge, Bridge, Harbour, Quay
Weymouth’s Drawbridge in the old town harbour.
Coastal Road Trip, Weymouth, Harbour, Quay, Old Town, Boat
We were the only people walking around the historic harbour on this very quiet Sunday morning.
Coastal Road Trip, Weymouth, Sandsfoot Castle
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

Coastal Road Trip, Isle of Portland, Olympic Rings, The Olympic Rings Stone Sculpture
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Isle of Portland, Portland Bill Lighthouse
Portland Bill’s current working lighthouse at the tip of the Isle.
Coastal Road Trip, Isle of Portland, Portland Bill, Old Higher Lighthouse, Branscombe Hill
The previous Old Higher Lighthouse, over a hedge and across fields at the top of Branscombe Hill…
Coastal Road Trip, Isle of Portland, Portland Bill, Old Lower Lighthouse
…and its sister, the Old Lower Lighthouse.


Chesil Beach

Coastal Road Trip, Portland, Fine Foundation, Chesil Beach
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.



Coastal Road Trip, Abbotsbury, New Barn Road, Abbotsbury Abbey
Driving inland, almost parallel to Chesil Beach, through rolling green fields towards Abbotsbury Abbey.
Coastal Road Trip, Abbotsbury, Cows, Abbotsbury Abbey, B3157, Abbotsbury Hill, Chesil Beach
Looking back-down to Chesil Beach, past cows enjoying the lush grass.
Coastal Road Trip, Abbotsbury, B3157, Abbotsbury Hill, Swyre
As we continued along the coastal road between Abbotsbury and Swyre, we had far-reaching views west along the Jurassic Coast.


West Bay

Coastal Road Trip, West Bay, Beach, Cliffs, Julian, Jarno
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.
Coastal Road Trip, West Bay, Train, Cafe, The Station Kitchen
The remains of the old trainline and station, now a cafe.



Coastal Road Trip, Seatown, Beach, Pebbles, Boat
A lone boat on Seatown’s pebble beach.



Coastal Road Trip, Charmouth, Beach, Cliff, Walkers, Golden Cap
A busy lunchtime at Charmouth, as beach walkers enjoyed the views towards the Golden Cap.


Lyme Regis

Coastal Road Trip, Lyme Regis, Harbour, Seagull, The Cobb, Sandy Beach
Views from The Cobb across Sandy Beach.  Lyme Regis was absolutely packed with tourists, we were really lucky to find a parking space.



Coastal Road Trip, Beer, Beach, Dorset, Seaton
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?!
Coastal Road Trip, Beer, Beach, Dorset, Fishing Boats, Cliffs
Fishing boats resting on their day-off under the white chalk cliffs.



Coastal Road Trip, Sidmouth, Cliffs, Beach, S W Coast Path
The bright red Triassic cliffs of Sidmouth, glowing as the sun shone through a break in the clouds.
Coastal Road Trip, Sidmouth, Beach, RNLI, Lifeboat Man, Dummy
Collecting donations for the local lifeboat, but looking a little odd…


Budleigh Salterton

Coastal Road Trip, Budleigh Salterton, Beach, Promenade
More luminous red cliffs surrounding Budleigh Salterton’s bay and pebble beach.



Coastal Road Trip, Exmouth, River Exe, Dawlish Warren
Looking into the sun across the River Exe to Dawlish Warren from Exmouth Beach.



Coastal Road Trip, Cockwood Harbour, Boats
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.



Coastal Road Trip, Dawlish Warren, Pink Elephant, Funfair
A giant pink elephant towering above one of the funfair rides at Dawlish Warren.
Coastal Road Trip, Dawlish Warren Beach, Exmouth, River Exe
Exmouth beyond Dawlish Warren Beach and the River Exe.


Coastal Road Trip, Teignmouth, Pier, Beach
The sun starting to set as we arrived at Teignmouth Pier and Beach.



Coastal Road Trip, Shaldon, Boat, Regatta, Teignmouth
Regatta boats neatly lined up on Shaldon Beach, with Teignmouth in the background on the other side of the River Teign.
Coastal Road Trip, Shaldon, Boat, Regatta
Shaldon was a lovely little fishing village to potter around, with its cosy lanes and Georgian cottages.



Coastal Road Trip, Torquay, Thatcher Point, Thatcher Rock, Ilsham Marine Drive
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Torquay, Harbour, Night, Boats, Reflection
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.


Daily video

Day 41 – Highcliffe to Weymouth

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

Coastal Road Trip, Durdle Door
Durdle Door



Coastal Road Trip, Highcliffe Castle
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Highcliffe, Beach, Lifesaver, Steamer Point Nature Reserve
Early morning views looking east along Highcliffe Beach.
Coastal Road Trip, Highcliffe, Beach, View to Avon Beach, Steamer Point Nature Reserve
Looking past the Steamer Point Nature Reserve towards Avon Beach and its rows of colourful beach huts.



Coastal Road Trip, Mudeford Quay, Telescope, Mudeford Sandbank, Hengistbury Head
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Mudeford Quay, Fisherman Cottages
Fisherman cottages at Mudeford Quay.
Coastal Road Trip, Mudeford Quay, Fishing Nets, Lobster Pots
The local fishermen were busy getting ready for the day.  Lobster Pots, buoys and fishing nets piled high on the quay.



Coastal Road Trip, Christchurch, Dorset, Church, River Avon, Norman House
The Norman House and Christchurch Priory alongside the River Avon flowing through Christchurch.



Coastal Road Trip, Boscombe, Beach, Overcliff Drive, Beach Huts
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Boscombe Pier
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’.



Coastal Road Trip, Bournemouth, Pier, Beach
Bournemouth Pier with Studland Bay and the Isle of Purbeck in the background, where we will be heading in the afternoon.


Branksone Chine Beach

Coastal Road Trip, 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.



Coastal Road Trip, Sanbanks, Poole Harbour, Boats
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.



Coastal Road Trip, Wareham, Market, Church Green, The Old Granary
Stopping for lunch at Wareham’s Saturday Market by the river.


Corfe Castle

Coastal Road Trip, Corfe Castle
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Corfe Castle, Teddy Bear Zip Wire, Sign, National Trust
How cool is this!  A Teddy Bear Zip Wire.  Now we know why it was so busy at the castle 😉
Coastal Road Trip, Corfe Castle, Teddy Bear Zip Wire, Flying Bear, National Trust
Kids were queuing up to send their teddy bears (at quite some speed) down the line.
Coastal Road Trip, Corfe Castle, Leather Smith, Demonstration, National Trust
There were also traditional craft demonstrations, including this leather smith.
Coastal Road Trip, Corfe Castle, Pumpkins, Halloween, Jock-o'-lantern
As Halloween was around the corner, the castle was suitably decorated.



Coastal Road Trip, Road from Corfe Castle to Studland, B3351, Poole Harbour
Heading back to the sea at Studland Bay, there were great vistas back over Poole Harbour.
Coastal Road Trip, Studland Beach, Knoll Beach, Studland Bay, Sandbanks Beach
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Studland Beach, Dragon's Teeth, National Trust
The Dragon’s Teeth behind Studland Beach were used as defences against possible enemy tanks.
Coastal Road Trip, Studland Beach, Coastal Road Trip, Studland Beach, Old Harry Rocks, National Trust
Old Harry Rocks at the south end of Studland Bay.



Coastal Road Trip, Swanage, Beach, Bay
Looking back across a calm Swanage Bay.


Durlston Head

Coastal Road Trip, Durlston National Nature Reserve, Durlston Bay, Swanage Bay, Old Harry Rocks
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.
Coastal Road Trip, The Great Globe, Durlston National Nature Reserve, Durlston Castle
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Anvil Point Lighthouse, Durlston National Nature Reserve
Anvil Point Lighthouse right on the southern tip of the Durlston National Nature Reserve.



Coastal Road Trip, Kimmeridge Bay, Smedmore Estate, Toll Road, Lane
Rolling landscape driving down a small toll road through the Smedmore Estate to Kimmeridge Bay.
Coastal Road Trip, Kimmeridge Bay, Smedmore Estate, Clavell Tower
Clavell Tower above Kimmeridge Bay.
Coastal Road Trip, Kimmeridge Bay, Cliffs, Beach, Smedmore Estate,
Bands of clay and bituminous shale crumbling down the Jurassic cliffs around the bay.
Coastal Road Trip, Kimmeridge Bay, Canoe, Cliffs, Beach, Smedmore Estate,
Canoe lessons in the sheltered bay, which is part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve.



Coastal Road Trip, Steeple, Creech Grange
The rather grand Creech Grange near Steeple on the way to Lulworth.



Coastal Road Trip, Lulworth, Cove, Cottage
Cute holiday-let cottages in the touristy village of Lulworth Cove.
Coastal Road Trip, Lulworth, Cove, Panorama
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… 😉
Coastal Road Trip, Lulworth, Cove, Julian, Jarno
Anyway, the actual cove itself was stunning.
Coastal Road Trip, Lulworth, Cove, Stair Hole
Amazing rock formations above Stair Hole.


Durdle Door

Coastal Road Trip, Durdle Door, Man O'War Beach, St Oswald's Bay
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Durdle Door
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.
Coastal Road Trip, Durdle Door, Bat's Head
Back at the top of the cliff, even more stunning views to Bat’s Head.


Daily video