Sunday, 7 April 2013

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Lulworth Cove from the top of the hill

This is one of my favourite Dorset walks and when our friends Derek and Arlette came to visit, we thought we should show them it. The first version of the walk was described in a post of April 2011 and it is extremely instructive to see how much greener it was then. We also did a slightly longer route in the reverse direction in the Lulworth to White Nothe leg of the South West Coast Path in September 2011. I have tried to use slightly different photos this time.

We started from the main car park and instead of heading up the long white path, turned right to circle round the back of the hill and climb to reach the Durdle Door caravan park. We passed this, descended to to the bottom of the glacial valley known, wonderfully, as Scratchy Bottom and climbed to the far side. The curve of the valley lay before us and Portland can be seen on the horizon.

We noticed - perhaps because the grass is still so brown - these terracettes, the effect of soil creep. The natural ridges are reinforced by animals grazing.

We followed the ridge line round, with Durdle Door coming partially into view like some strange stone monster.

Soon we reached the cliff above the sea with Swyre Head and Bat Head behind it dramatically to the west. The embryonic sea stack that is Bat Hole is just visible at sea level.

The view down to the east to Durdle Door is simply stunning.

We made our way down, taking the obligatory pictures of Derek and Arlette with Durdle Door as  a backdrop, and then paused to admire the extraordinary blue of Man of War bay.

All that remained was the steep climb and descent to the car park.

Distance: about 4 miles.

Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).

Conditions: Cool at first, but quite warm once you got going.

Rating: four stars.

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