by David EP Dennis BA (Hons) FCIPD LCGI RAF
A Jurassic Coast Walk
Next spring or summer – or if you’re brave enough, in winter – go to Lulworth Cove in Dorset, England and walk over the cliff paths to Durdle Door rock arch and back. It will make you fit and happy. You’ll get to breathe in some clean sea air. Lay down in the clifftop grasses and absorb peace and tranquility. You’ll see kestrels hunting and (in summer) hundreds of butterflies including the beautiful Marbled White. There are huge views to Portland Bill from the clifftops – and good shops and cafes next to the car park in Lulworth Village. In summer – get there early as the roads are jammed later, on sunny days.
Once you’ve parked your car, walk down to the beach. You’ll pass the public toilets – always useful before you start on your walk over the cliffs. There’s a stream to see, ducks and some lovely thatched cottages…
Lulworth Cove is part of the Jurassic Coast where dinosaurs hunted each other. Over millions of years, the sea has carved an almost perfect arc out of the chalk, making a beautiful a harbour anchorage for small boats.
Take a stroll around the water’s edge and look at the Jurassic Cliffs with their amazing geology.
Once you have visited the cove and cliffs, turn back up to the car park at the top of the village and begin your walk to Durdle Door Rock Arch.
Walk up nice and slow – taking in the views and the wildlife. Sit down every now and then to admire the developing landscape view and get your breath back. It’s a good idea to wear walking shoes and to take a drink, a snack – and a rain-cape just in case of a shower.
Once you reach the top of the cliff path, the views are terrific! You’re looking out across the English Channel towards Portland Bill promontory.
As you climb up and walk down to Durdle Door Rock Arch, you’ll kestrels hunting and lots of butterflies in summer.
Now it’s time to walk slowly down to Durdle Door. Pace yourself because you will need to come back up the path again to get back to your car – unless you have a friend with a car who can pick you up at the end of the first walk stage down in the dip. But if you do the walk in both directions you will feel proud to be so fit! Go for it!
Have a good look at the remarkable geology of vertical planes in the cliffs. Then walk over the rise to the famous rock arch.
Now it’s time to walk back over the cliff path to Lulworth and back to your car. You’ll be a little more tired, so have plenty of stops. You’ll see – in spring and summer, lots of boating activity – coastal tours by motor launch – and kayaking.
If you look back towards Durdle Door and over it, into the distance, from the cliff top, you’ll see the next section of the coast path – to Bat’s Head.
Back down you go. In summer hundreds of butterflies will accompany you.
Then say goodbye to Durdle Door – but keep your fond memories – and photos! Slowly wander down to the village for a meal, or coffee and buns – and do some shopping too. You will notice how the car park has filled up. So the key to this magnificent walk is – start early and leave – either before the rush home – or after they’ve all gone!
Enjoy! I certainly did.
You can take all day over this route and take a picnic. There and back it is around 2.6 miles and if you never stop it will take you around 1 hour and 10 minutes there and back – but what’s the rush? Geology – scenery- wildlife – picnic. Slow down and be thrilled by it all.
All photos by David E P Dennis BA (Hons) FCIPD LCGI RAF.- the author, except for:
Durdle Door Sunset and Durdle Door aerial shot: these two by Saffron Blaze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18972825
Saffron Blaze, via http://www.mackenzie.co