Thursday, 26 July 2012

Worth Matravers - St Aldhelm's Head - Chapman's Pool

Chapman's Pool

My daughter and her partner are staying with us and requested a taxing walk. This walk, which we did last April as part of our South West Coast Path project, seemed to fit the bill, given the time available.

We started from Worth Matravers and followed the hillside down towards the sea, taking a higher line than last time and ending up at the top of East Man. The hillside was live with Marbled White butterflies - I have never seen so many. I also made my first definitive sightings of the Lulworth Skipper, the smallest and darkest of the the golden Skippers.

This route offered a dramatic vantage point over the quarry workings at Winspit.

During the descent we followed a side track to the Bat Cave. Not the caped crusader, but a sanctuary for the rare Greater Horsehoe Bat. A bit of googling reveals that it can be distinguished from the Lesser Horseshoe Bat by being ... bigger. Which does seem eminently reasonable.

We now followed the cliff-top path, still with many Marbled Whites for company until we came to a rocky outcrop where we saw Fulmars last year. And here they were again, although none would consent to being in my picture.

The next stage involved a climb up to St Aldhelm's Head. Rather than simply repeat last year's photo, I took this one from behind across a cornfield.

The next stage of the walk involves a descent to virtually sea level and a climb to 120 m, in each case by a flight of steps. I hoped this would be sufficiently challenging.

Part of the way down, the view to the west was exquisite, with the rocky end of Emmets Hill on the right and the entrance to Chapman's Pool just beyond.

We now walked along the cliff above Chapman's Pool and took a turning to the right to cross some fields and return to Worth Matravers.

Conditions: sunny, hot, but also breezy, so not uncomfortable.

Distance: just under 5 miles.

Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).

Rating: four stars


Apart from the butterflies mentioned there were also Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Large and Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Red Admirals.

Butterfly of the day

It could only be the Marbled White. It was too windy to get a picture today, but here is one I took earlier.

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