Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Day 3 – South West Coast - Dorset & East Devon - Dinosaurs!

From Corfe the coastline really sharpens up. The landscape undulates from steep cliffs to long beaches, to secluded coves. It made me happy – there’s an authentically natural feel, and the locals haven’t had to invent schemes to lure tourists...the scenery probably does it for them.

More than that, there’s an old man time side to it...the coast is famous for its geological heritage. In 140 kms of driving, you’re exposed to about 200 million years of dinosaur history. People come fossil-hunting here for fun – check out the Jurassic Coast website for more info. The coastline is Britain’s first World Heritage Site in amongst a whole lot of cultural sites that are probably far less breathtaking to outdoor fans.

Case in point: Chesil Beach, which goes on for miles and miles and miles – 17 miles. It consists of more than 100 million tonnes of small pebbles. It’s a must visit. I drove as near as possible to it, and I found that the the best place to get onto it is near Abbotsbury. The added bonus is visiting St Catherine’s Chapel, perched brilliantly on the hill above the village. It catches your eye from miles away, and you gravitate towards it without realising it. It’s a fair walk from the beach, so park at the village and go from there.

(The one thing I’m realising about travelling to these super sites is that none of them are really free. You have to pay £3 to park at Chesil Beach near Abbotsbury – which, for a 17 mile beach, is kinda strange.)




Chesil Beach - 17 miles of tiny pebbles


St Catherine's Chapel nearby Chesil Beach at Abbotsbury

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