Day 352 The Chalk Cliffs to Durdle Door

Friday 22 July 2016

Weymouth to Durdle Door

10 miles

Durdle Door Campsite

After a lovely sleep and a bit of breakfast I left Geoff’s house and walked into Dorchester town centre to catch a bus to Weymouth. It was all remarkably easy and I was walking past Lodmoor Country Park by 10am. 

Weymouth Bay and Portland
Weymouth Bay was very calm and the beach didn’t look as busy today, although I was at the far end where it is shingle. 

Weymouth Beach looking glorious
All day the views back to Weymouth and Portland were fantastic. It was another gloriously sunny, still and hot day, perfect for sweating. The first great view was from the top of Furzy Cliff, where I left Weymouth and headed over the cliff to Bowleaze Cove. 

Bowleaze Cove with its big art deco hotel
The next expansive views were from Redcliff Point. The farmer was readying several of his fields for camping, they were mown and had wooden huts, each containing a composting toilet, randomly scattered about the place. There was also a row of solar showers. It was all quite neat and simple really. 

Weymouth Bay was a beautiful colour
I passed a PGL centre just before Osmington Mills and watched some kids doing a bungee jump. It looked fun. 

…stunning views back to Weymouth
rugged coastline heading to White Nothe
Osmington Mills is nestled into a tiny valley and I stopped for lunch at The Smugglers Inn, a thatched pub by the stream. I took a long break from the heat, sitting inside as I usually do. 

The Smuggler’s Inn, Osmington Mills
it’s difficult to see Osmington Mills tucked into the cliff
The next section was up and over the white, chalky, Jurassic cliffs that are so visible from across Weymouth Bay. From the top of White Nothe the views were incredible. There was a small, smugglers’ path heading over the edge to the undercliff but I didn’t take it. 

lovely beach; White Nothe in the background
…another great view of Weymouth Bay
I counted 3 ups and downs, along The Warren. They were incredibly steep and it was tricky to avoid slipping on the chalk. Thank goodness for poles. 

The Warren…
…it looks hilly!
It was so beautiful: the green grass, the white cliffs and the clear blue sea. I stood and watched 4 kestrels hunting in the grassy bowl next to me. Yet again I felt incredibly lucky to be doing this. 

a cutaway section of cliff showing the chalk in a ‘granular’ form
looking back along The Warren
As I reached the top of Swyre Head, the famous Durdle Door came into view. 

Durdle Door beach from Swyre Head
It was another steep down and up to get to the top of the cliff above Durdle Door and all the way along I was looking down on a lovely beach, bookended by Durdle Door and Bat’s Head. It struck me that Butter Rock stack represented the future of Durdle Door and Bat’s Head must be what it was like many years ago. 

Butter Rock Stack, Bat’s Head, and Portland in the distance
I was hot and sweaty and the water looked cool and inviting. So I hurried on up the last cliff, through the car park and into the campsite. They were full but, like all good campsites, they still take hikers (I had phoned ahead to check). I pitched quickly, rinsed my sweaty clothes out, and headed back down to Durdle Door. 

Durdle Door and Man of War Beaches
Durdle Door
Man of War Beach
At 6pm the beach was still busy but there weren’t many in the sea. I went straight in. The tide was coming in so there was plenty of water around the archway and I wanted to swim through it. I was a bit apprehensive as I hadn’t seen anyone else do it and I couldn’t see if there were rocks under the water or any sort of current. I decided to go for it. The swell was bigger and the choppier through the arch but it was fine, and it was lovely lying on my back looking up at the arch. This is the life!

what a wonderful place for a swim
The campsite had a bar and cafe so it was easy for me to get some dinner and charge my phone. It was a very noisy campsite: the rooks finally settled in the trees sometime after 10pm, the people stopped yelling about 2am and then the owl started hooting. I didn’t get much sleep. 

… a final view of Weymouth Bay

3 thoughts on “Day 352 The Chalk Cliffs to Durdle Door

  1. jomunday99 August 6, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Wow fab photos. last new year we spent at the yha at Lulworth cove. We planned to walk to Durdle door but it sounded a bit strenuous with the kids and the weather was foul – so just did a few hundred meters of the coast path instead.


    • Lucy August 8, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      I think you might have been to more places than me!


  2. Chris F August 7, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    A very hard day looking at the terrain and the cloudless sky………well done Juice the dip and swim through Durdle Door was well earned. Beautiful scenery brought alive thank you.


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