Monthly Archives: May 2011

Bircham Mill

There was some doubt over the length of today’s walk. Hilary had measured it with a piece of string against the map and made it about 9 miles. My pedometer made it 8¾ miles and plotting the route on the digital mapping on my computer, I made it 9¾ miles. Of the three, I think that the digital mapping is the most accurate.

Unlucky 13 turned out for the walk on what was an extremely breezy day and with the land being so dry, we encountered a number of sand storms or “fen blows”. It felt like we had been sand blasted. The route was an out and back or as Hilary described it “a figure-of-nine” We walked from Bircham Mill to join the Peddars Way and then did a circuit of the woods near Houghton Hall. The return was the same as the out route, back along the Peddars Way to the Mill for tea & cakes.

An unusual sight was two ducklings that were being mothered by a chicken!

 

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Dorset Reflections

Dorset-coat-arms

I was looking for an image which captures the spirit of Dorset and, as you have seen most of my holiday snaps, I thought that I would post a picture of the County’s Coat of Arms.

I must say that I’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather so far this year and managed 9 consecutive days of walking on this holiday without any rain. The walks total was 71 miles and 10,500ft of ascent. The total for holidays this year is 156 miles and 23,000ft of ascent. Still some way short of the Coast to Coast walk which will be my next great adventure and will be reported in a separate blog: http://www.benwickrambler.walkingplaces.co.uk/

Back to Dorset, I said on day one that the walk along the cliffs at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door couldn’t be bettered but it was almost matched by the walks to Old Harry Rocks and the crossing of Golden Cap on the way from Charmouth to Bridport. This latter walk left me with aching legs the following day – I think it was the downs rather than the ups that caused this.

There were some nice inland walks but, with the SWCP in such close proximity, I couldn’t resist the call of the sea and therefore favoured the coastal walks.

 

 

Studland Bay

Today was supposed to be a relaxing stroll along the beach from Studland to the ferry terminal at Shell Bay with a short crossing over to Sandbanks. This is either the first or last 2?? miles of the SWCP and I guess that I can say that I both completed and started this long distance path on the same day. My idea of an easy walk was quickly dispelled when I discovered that the tide was in and most of the walk was on soft sand – not the easiest for walking on. Added to this, I wore sandals instead of shoes or boots and the sand was rubbing between the bed of the sandals and the soles of my feet – very abrasive.

I tried a different route on the way back, amongst the sand dunes but this was no better.

Part of this beach is set aside for Naturists (Exhibitionists!!) I wonder why almost all of them are men??? If they really feel the need to bare all, then why can’t they do it somewhere away from the public gaze?

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Holt Heath/Woods

If you go down to the woods today, then you’re sure to get lost! It wasn’t a good start to the day when my satnav took me to the wrong starting point for the walk. It wasn’t that far out and my GPS and digital mapping came to the rescue.

This invaluable navigational aid was put to good use on a very complex route on Holt Heath and in Holt Woods. Without it, I’m sure that I would have got lost a great many more times on this 6?? mile walk with 600ft of ascent.

There weren’t many photo opportunities, but I did take a picture of Horton Tower folly and a nice thatched cottage. Still no rain.

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Corfe Castle

Today’s walk was a combination of land and sea; starting at Corfe Castle and going out to the SWCP at Houns Tout/Chapman’s Pool and returning on the Purbeck Way. The walk was 9 miles with 1265ft of ascent. It presented significant navigational challenges through a lack of signposts and if it wasn’t for my GPS, I think that I might still be there now. I must have backtracked at least 3 times on the way out to find the correct route and only found my way back through Corfe with the help of directions from a local resident.

There was a very steep descent down a series of steps at Chapman’s Pool and someone had very helpfully scratched on the bottom step “166 to go”.

It was cloudy for most of the day but still warm. I sent Bea a text yesterday to see how she was faring on the West Highland Way. Her reply said that there had been some drizzle but she was enjoying the walking.

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Charmouth to Bridport via Golden Cap

More of the South West Coast Path today. I decided to drive to Bridport, park the car, catch the bus to Charmouth and then walk back on the SWCP crossing Golden Cap on the way. This is the highest point on the south coast at 620ft and involved a steep climb of about 500ft from the foot to the top. This was one of many ups and downs on a walk of 9?? miles with 2200ft of ascent.

As can be seen from the pictures, it was a beautiful sunny day and, as I was making another early start, I decided to treat myself to a pot of tea and a bacon sandwich on the sea front at Charmouth before setting off.

Whilst waiting for the bus in Bridport, I got chatting to a fellow RA member who informed me, that because of a landslip, the footpath had been diverted from Charmouth but many walkers were ignoring this and taking their chance of not falling into the sea. In reality, the landslip was well back from the cliff edge and I’m glad that I took my chance and stuck with the non-diverted route.

I was beginning to wonder where all the SWCP walkers were as I didn’t see anyone until in the vicinity of Golden Cap. This was clearly the challenge for many, as it was for me.

From Golden Cap there was a series of steep ups and down until I came to the harbour at West Bay. It was here where I turned inland to walk back to Bridport. A really nice walk but I was glad when it was finished.

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Ferry Meadows get walking day

Once again we visited Ferry Meadows starting near Caster with a cold, windy and cloudy day.

Some new and some old faces joined us for the walk. 12 set off for a walk around the area of the lake and the woods. The starting point was near the bridge with 3 arches and then onto the visitors centre for a short break to look around and have a snack.

Then it was off around the lake followed by the route to see the garlic and bluebells but although you could smell the garlic the bluebells had finished. Another wood sculpture, in addition to the large multi themed one at the entrance with butterfly, kingfishers and another item we found was one of a shepherd dipping his sheep

We saw cormorants and Canada geese by the lake and a grey squirrel on a log.

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