Dorset Coast Path – Chapman’s Pool to Kimmeridge

Take a tip from me. If you’re looking to walk from Chapman’s Pool to Kimmeridge Bay try to start before 2:20pm. We started our day with a 150 mile drive on a busy Saturday morning, and diverted to try and miss the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Our slow start wasn’t helped by the fact that we had to walk for a mile and half before we reached the part of the coast path we left behind back in May. Our first priority before arrival had been to try and secure a room for the night, but the 3 places we tried were all fully booked. Kingston and Worth Matravers were choc-a-bloc with tourists. Having been reassured that we were “bound to find somewhere in Swanage” we parked up for a £2.00 fee just short of The Square and Compass. Including 2 brief stops we’d been on the road FIVE hours. Some wag had been felling trees and getting creative for the Summer Solstice.

I hope this tongue in cheek structure stays in place for a while, as it’s a great send up of the over-rated  pile of stones on Salisbury Plain. Before our walk started I had to lace up my walking shoes, and I was delighted to see my shoes and socks matched the surrounding flora. Does anyone know what these flowers are called? Next up we had to leave the high ground and drop down to virtually sea level. After a meandering march we were soon looking down on Chapman’s Pool where at least 7 brave souls were swimming without wet suits.  We weren’t here to muck around, we had a walk to do. Our first challenge was stiff climb.  Roz managed the first ascent in 8 minutes, whilst I was 2 minutes behind.

Once there other fair weather walkers took one look at the gradient and went back! We enjoyed the easy stroll along the cliff top before losing height, and passing below the beautiful Eldon Seat.

The rest of our walk was “do-able” but more strenuous than I’d imagined.  We passed the odd WW2 Pill Box, before the path dropped down to Kimmeridge Bay. Set back from the cliff was a recently re-located English Heritage Tower.  It’s a quirky property available for rent.

About one and half miles earlier we’d spoken to a fellow walker who’d told us me might possibly buy an ice cream at Kimmeridge Bay. Our quickened pace was rewarded!  The miserable looking lad inside the Walls Ice Cream trailer stayed open just long enough for me to snatch a last minute purchase of hot drinks and Purbeck Ice Cream tubs. Phew.  What a relief!

An American couple asked if we had a signal on our “cell phone”. They’d been trying to call a cab, and were having no joy in getting through. The thought of a cab made me wonder about sharing in their experience, but my co-walker suggested we should loop back on foot. Suitably refreshed we climbed up the private road to Kimmeridge proper and took  wrong turn towards Smedmore House.

After 10 minutes i spotted my mistake, but decided not to turn on our heels and looking nonchalant we plodded through the grounds as if we owned the place. A lightly populated camp site gave our diversion some credence, and our next obstacle was a busy farm yard where tree trunks and foliage were being shunted around. We kept trudging (as none challenged us).

Staying on our rural track I soon discovered it was more complete than the map led me to believe. Great! Whilst I watered the scenery Roz spotted a solitary Hare lolloping about.  Further on Pheasants ran ahead or burst heavenwards as we approached.

Yellowhammers sang from stunted bushes along our route and then we came across a significant problem. A big sign saying NO PEDESTRIANS at the boundary of the Encombe Estate. All around dead crows swung on wires around the low level cereal crops. Roz wanted to continue, but I led us away up a near vertical slope which also had the added blessing of inquisitive cows to hinder our progress. During our scramble upwards the mist started to roll in from the sea, but not before we watched two further hares scurrying around at great speed, and three (possibly Muntjac) deer foraging on the edge of a coppice.

We also enjoyed a far reaching view back to Kimmeridge Bay which glistened as the setting sun dropped towards the horizon. Climbing over barbed wire we landed on the public right of way on the southern most tip of Smedmore Hill. I was annoyed with the owner James Gaggeros who has connections with Gibraltar and an airline business. Whilst he may well have shelled out £20,000,000 (and wants his privacy) I’m not sure how much of a nuisance a few ramblers are likely to cause.

Having huffed and puffed up on to high ridge we were set up for a gentle gradual descent and a possibility of grub at The Scott Arms in Kingston. En route I spotted several Red Legged Partridges, and heard the occasional Great Spotted Woodpecker. Our fish dishes in the pub were superb, and the waiting staff were top notch.

After being re-energised by our haute-cuisine we were left with around 2 and half miles back to Worth Matravers.  Thankfully a nutter in a bright orange Fiat Mirafiori Twin Cam avoided us as there was no footpath for around about a mile. Our final interaction with natural world was a brief encounter with a juvenile Badger.

Six and half hours after we’d set off we finished our 11-12 mile loop and hopped in the car.

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5 comments on “Dorset Coast Path – Chapman’s Pool to Kimmeridge”

  1. Excellent! Good story. Don’t know the flower, though.

  2. A great ramble. I would have liked to see the old WWII pill box. We don’t have much of a ‘rambling’ culture in Australia but I can see why you do it. As for £20m, it shouldn’t buy the right to restrict you enjoying your own country, as long as you shut gates and don’t drop cigarette butts all over the place. Can you imagine the positive publicity a bloke like that would get if he put up a sign saying “Ramblers Welcome! But please close all gates.”

    • I’m not sure why the WW2 pill box shows on my preview, and then disappears when I click the post? To be fair most folk ARE happy for you to walk through their estates. I’m thinking if we were walking in Oz we’d either die from dehydration or getting eaten by giant spiders?

  3. remember Kimmeridge well, we took the kids there while camping in Dorset many years ago


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