Saturday, 1 October 2016

Wootton Fitzpaine to Lyme Regis (Wessex Ridgeway [Dorset] 10)

Lyme Regis

The final stage of the Wessex Ridgeway. We set off from Wootton Fitzpaine walking along the road for a while and then turned left along a track and then field paths to pass this isolated but rather lovely cottage.

The tree covered Thistle Hill was on our left, with some pleasant green open areas.

After crossing a couple of fields, the path disappeared into woodland and suddenly emerged in a garden adjoining a couple of holiday cottages. This entertaining home-made statue gave us a start.

Soon after this we came out into open fields to reach Stubbs Farm where we turned left and began a long winding climb towards Penn Farm. As we approached, there was a fabulous panorama back towards the north-east.

Just before we reached the busy A35, there was this even more wonderful view, slightly more to the north.

We crossed the road and headed down a very uneven field to enter Hole Common, actually a wood. It felt a little tropical with lots of ivy hanging down from the trees.

We walked through this delightful wood and emerged onto a track which brought us to Dragon's Hill. We descended the gentler west side and soon reached the river Lim, from which Lyme Regis of course takes its name. There is a wonderful quiet lane which follows the bank of the river, more of a stream really, all the way into the town. Coming ion by road is much less enjoyable. The river was tricky to photograph as it was now dark and raining, but eventually this lovely gothic bridge offered a view looking back.

We followed the lane right into the heart of the town, passing the splendid Town Mill. There has been a water mill in Lyme since the 11th century and parts of the present building (restored in 2001) date back to 1340.

You can in fact follow the Lim until it joins the sea.

Off to the left is the Guildhall. It is a picturesque construction dating from 1886-7, the work of a sadly unknown architect. Pevsner is rather dismissive, but I found it charmingly picturesque.

We continued on to the sea front and enjoyed the view east along the coast to Golden Cap. We walked over Golden Cap in April 2012 in the early days of doing the South West Coast Path, and reached a rather cloudy Lyme two days later (we were doing day walks at that point). It was much more enjoyable today.

When we reached Lyme on the Coast Path we celebrated with lunch at Mark Hix's restaurant, pleased to have walked the whole coast of Dorset. Over that lunch we decided we would try to complete the whole thing - 630 miles to Minehead. We reached Bude last year (530 miles from the start in Poole) and plan to finish it next year. Finishing the Wessex Ridgeway in Dorset seemed to require a similar celebration and we enjoyed another fine meal at Hix.

Conditions: sunny, with a few sharp showers.

Distance: 6.2 miles. Distance now walked 61 miles.

Map: Explorer 116 (Lyme Regis & Bridport).

Rating: four and a half stars.

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