19th July 2019, West Lulworth and Lulworth Cove
Despite the imminent forecasts of thunder and down-pours, we headed down to Dorset and the picturesque setting of Lulworth Cove for a long weekend.
The drive down was wet and we reached our hotel (the Limestone Hotel) in West Lulworth at about 3pm. The place was situated up a small slope which gave it great views across the low valley in which the small village was nestled. Our room was small and had a less impressive outlook to the back fence but it was cosy and would do nicely.
Not wanting to waste the remainder of the day, we set out to explore a short walk recommended by the hotel. There was supposed to be a path leading up the hill from behind the church but we ended up in what turned out to be two different driveways before eventually finding the right turning. The fog hung heavy over the surrounding hills and the rain was coming down. A nearby patch of trees provided some shelter whilst we considered whether this was worth the drenching. As it happened, some cows made our minds up for us.
The shelter offered some protection from the rain but what we didn’t expect was to be surrounded by rather angry looking cows. Perhaps this was their special spot but they we found ourselves facing off to a few dozen unfriendly looking cows slowly edging their way towards us. When they were only a few feet away – we decided to let them have the shelter and make our way back down the hill and save our energy for another day. Instead we headed down to nearby Lulworth Cove which was pretty even in the cloud and rain but we retreated for a drink and to dry off in the bar at the Lulworth Lodge.
That evening, the rain came down even harder so we moved our table booking to the hotel which was a good move since the food was delicious. Rachael had the plaice special and I went for the lobster thermidore.
20th July 2019, Lulworth Cove to White Nothe
The next day, the rain has disappeared and the morning was overcast but seemed to be getting brighter as we ate breakfast. The aim today was to explore the famously beautiful Jurassic coastline between Lulworth Cove and a headland called White Nothe a few miles to the west.
After a short walk back down to the cove, we explored the headland overlooking Stair Hole – a hidden beach of sorts behind a rocky buttress protecting it from the sea. The mix of geology was fascinating with the harder limestone providing a barrier to the waves and the softer chalk washed away where the sea had penetrated the wall creating these hidden pockets.
We somehow managed to lose the coastal path right from the off and ended up having to descend through a small woodland to join up with the (in hindsight rather obvious) path leading up the first hill. This steep rocky path was not an easy introduction to the walk and before long we were having to pause to recover our breath, but within about half an hour, we were finally at the top and rewarded with some great views along the coastline and our path ahead.
The path continued along the coast with beautiful views of the St Oswald’s bay across to Portland Bill. Man’o’War beach down below provided relative shelter from the choppy sea and the famous arch of Durdle Door was a stunning place to stop and rest to appreciate the beauty.
Beyond this point, the path got quieter since most other people turned back after Durdle Door. But the views remained impressive with each bay having something a little different to spot. One of my favourites was the silky bronze coloured seaweed that swirled around in the tide, closely knotted together like a giant rug.
Finally we reached out turning point – a large triangulation pillar after which a small gate allowed us to turn inland and continue our return journey by a flatter inland route. A welcome respite to the legs after all the ups and downs of the coastal hills.
We managed to lose the path again but we knew we couldn’t go too far wrong so just followed our instincts until the familiar sights of West Lulworth finally came into view. We once again headed down to the cove for a refreshing beer since by now, the sun was well and truly out and having forgotten both sun-cream and water, we were feeling rather parched!
Dinner that evening in the Lulworth Lodge was even better and much deserved after a very enjoyable walk. Tomorrow would be our return to London but after a wet start, our weekend had turned out very nice indeed.