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Home arrow News arrow Meet Reports arrow DORSET MEET 12-13 April 2008

DORSET MEET 12-13 April 2008

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Contributed by Cristina Sorelli   
Despite the dreadful weather forecasts and snow in London the previous weekend, our first camping meet of the season attracted 11 members. We staid at Woodyhyde, just off Corfe village, along the Swanage steam railway. The nice hot showers and the ice cream at the shop on site (try chilly flavour) were the highlights of the camp site.

Saturday started as a glorious day and most of us set off for a walk on the South West Coast path starting at the ghost village of Tyneham, deserted since 1943 when the War Office took over the surrounding area, initially as a training ground for Allied troops preparing for the D-Day landings, recently used for firing and tank-training.
 Dorset coastal path
Following a path from the village we reached the cliff over Warbarrow bay, took the Coast path in West direction and soon climbed up the first of many steep hills of the day. On the top, one walks through the (few) remains of the Iron Age fort of Flower's Barrow and enjoys the stunning views along the coast and inland across the Dorset countryside. The weather turned rainy and windy as we got close to Lulworth cove, but sunny again as we arrived at the cove and stopped for lunch and a visit to the coffee shop.Dorset coastal path walk
 
In the afternoon we carried on towards Durdle Door, but as the weather became miserable again and we faced yet another very steep ascent, some opted to go back to the comfort of the coffee shop, which wasn't such a bad idea. The rest of us reached Durdle Door, a great natural arch of limestone rock over the sea, its view against the grey sky was worth the effort. On the way back, after Lulworth cove we had a peek at the Fossil Forest, the petrified remains of ancient tree stumps, fragments of a prehistoric forest. The sun was shining again and remained with us for the rest of the afternoon, while we hiked back to Tynehan on the same path walked in the morning.

Note by Ian Stuart:By the end of the day (Saturday) we'd done so much ascent and descent on the coast path that we'd done the equivalent of a Scottish Munro, 3000 feet, so no wonder we were knackered.Dorset coastal path walk

 
On Sunday, after an initial rain and hails storm during breakfast, we enjoyed a very sunny day. Most of us went on a loop trek starting from the camp site. Our first stop was at Chapman's Pool where we spent some time fossil hunting. Jon realised that extracting ammonites with a hammer requires lots of time and patience, Mim was the luckiest to pick two Devil's toe-nails among the beach pebbles.
Dorset coastal path 
We left the beach climbing up to rejoin the Coast Path on the cliff hedge and walked East to St Aldhelms, where we had our lunch break and visited the little Norman chapel. We continued East passing by some former quarries, now popular as climbing walls. At Dancing Ledge we turned inland towards the village of Langton Matravers and stopped for a drink in a pub garden before getting back to the camp site. We were allowed to use the hot camp showers before leaving, which was very much appreciated after another rather strenuous day of steep ascents and descents. We drove back to London with a little tan and many pleasant memories of the dramatic Dorset coastline.

Check out Cristina's photographs of the dorset coastal path in the gallery section.

More dramatic pictures taken by Jon Clarke are also in the gallery

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