We took the opportunity of the visit of my friend John to continue the Coast Path. Like the last leg (Dancing Ledge to Winspit), we started from Worth Matravers and walked down the long ravine that we had walked up at the end of previous walk.
When we reached Winspit, we climbed the steep stairs to reach the clifftop at West Man, and looked back to East Man on the other side of the ravine.
As we walked along the path we gradually became aware of a line of disturbance in the sea, as it changed from being seemingly still on top to being quite turbulent. We could also hear an increasing amount of noise. As we got closer we could see that the apparently calm water was in fact flowing west at quite a fast rate.
As we approached St Aldhelm's Head, we passed the memorial to the radar research carried out at Worth Matravers during 1940-42.
It was erected only in 2001 and is the work of a local sculptor, Tony Viney. The full story can be found on this website, which answers the obvious question: Why only 1940-42? It was discovered that the Germans, who were also working on radar, were planning a commando raid and so the work was moved to safety inland.
A little further on we came to the famous St Aldhelm's chapel.
This is an extraordinary little structure. It is square with one massive column in the centre supporting four vaults which hold up the roof and divide the space into four. There is an altar in the corner opposite to the doorway lit by a small lancet window. It dates from about 1100, but looks like no other church I have ever seen. It is unlike a normal church in that the four corners are oriented towards the cardinal points of the compass, whereas churches are normally oriented along an east-west axis, unless the site makes this impossible. There has therefore been speculation that it was not fact built as a chapel but was a store or even a disguised look-out post. It was restored in the 19th century and has definitely been a chapel since 1874.
We soon came to a point where there was another sharp descent and a corresponding long climb up steps to to return to the cliff top at about 100m above the sea.
Soon Chapman's Pool came into view - a sort miniature Lulworth Cove.
We followed the cliff edge around, passing the Royal Marines Association Memorial Garden on Emmett's Hill. It was established following the IRA attack on the Royal Marines Barracks at Deal, the home of the Royal Marines Band Service, in September 1989.
It is hard to get down to Chapman's Pool and the route now headed inland above a ravine known as Hill Bottom. Eventually there comes a point where path has descended enough to reach the ravine bottom and then return towards the coast along the other side. Here we continued along Hill Bottom to eventually turn right and walk across fields to return to Worth.
Conditions: sunny, hot.
Distance: about 5 miles, of which about 2.5 was on the Coast Path. Distance covered now 16 miles.
Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).
Rating: four stars.
We saw a number of Fulmars nesting in the ledges on the Purbeck stone cliffs before St Aldhelm's Head and launching themselves into their straight-winged flight. Although they look rather like gulls they are in fact members of the Petrel family.
In a field just beyond St Aldhelm's Head we spotted what we later identified as a Short-toed lark.
And beneath the same rocky cliffs where I was studying the Fulmars, John caught a glimpse of what seemed certain to be a Grey seal.