Monday, 18 June 2012

Ringstead Bay and Osmington Mills

Portland from South Down

After yesterday's enjoyable inland walk at Sydling St Nicholas, today we thought we would like to see the sea. This walk starts from the National Trust car park at South Down above Ringstead. The Down is at about 125m and there are fine views towards Portland (above) and over Weymouth Bay (below).

We walked to the east end of the car park and continued along a gravel track to eventually meet our old friend the South West Coast Path as it comes from White Nothe. We turned right onto it to repeat a section we did in November 2011.

The path descends to almost sea level and soon passes the wooden St Catherine's chapel. It is unusual in being wooden, but to be truthful it does look like little more than a large garden shed.

Last time we just marched briskly past, but today we went to see the small graveyard at the back of the chapel. It is a wonderfully quiet place with fantastic views to White Nothe to the left ....

... and Portland to the right.

We passed through Ringstead and soon enjoyed another nice view of the shingle beach with Portland ever-present in the background.

Before long Osmington Mills came into view.

We paused for an excellent lunch at the popular Smugglers Inn and then back-tracked a short way to climb the grassy slope, pass the Chalet Park and walk up a track which eventually meets the road from Osmington Mills. A little further on you turn right into the road to the car park and follow it uphill for about a mile to complete the circuit. This sound rather boring, but there are lovely views over the valley on the lefthand side.

From: Jurassic coastal walks by Nigel J Clarke (Nigel J Clarke publications).

Conditions: clear, sunny, about 17 degrees, quite windy.

Distance: 5 miles.

Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).

Rating: four stars.

Flower of the day

We saw a lot of a tall, branched yellow flower which so far as I can see is the famous Woad, source of the blue dye favoured by ancient Britons. 

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