SWCP – Ferry Bridge to Abbotsbury
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It’s a good job I’d remembered my map. The coast path signs from The Ferry Bridge Inn only point towards Portland.
After our deliberations we headed off on the northern shore of the Fleet Lagoon. The long purple grasses Roz’s coat nicely.
A short distance to the west we made a detour around the Wyke Regis Military base.
Beyond the sundry Ministry of Defence kit we could look down on the widest part of the Fleet Lagoon.
I harboured a romantic notion that this spot may even have been used as a landing strip for Short Sunderland flying boats.
On this particular ten and a half mile hike Roz made several surprising discoveries. Here a Common Darter stayed still long enough for me to get a decent shot even with my 35mm lens.
Talking of shots the length of the lagoon is littered with small pill boxes, many of which have slipped from elevated positions, and now rest just above sea level.
It’s quite something that they were never used in anger, as “Jerry” never launched “Operation Sea Lion.” If Hitler had invaded these defences would have been more like death traps for those inside, as armaments had become more powerful by WW2.
Further west we came across Moonfleet Manor. A dilapidated hotel with very pleasant East European staff, and excellent coffee and tea. What a shame the buildings look so neglected on the outside.
Roz said it was in better shape inside. If you ever walk this trail this is one place we can recommend stopping.
After our refreshment Roz once again stopped in her tracks asking what she’d found on the path ahead.
A large snake was hastily slithering away from the dried mud of the path into the long grass. I’ve not seen many adders, and those I have seen have been smaller than this particular creature. My pursuit was at a discreet distance, which was probably wise as my ‘grass snake’ was in fact a viper.
Full credit to Roz for not screaming or being frightened, I’m guessing it would have freaked out many women.
After skirting a newly harvested cereal crop we came to a point where our route headed in land, but not before I’d disturbed our only Red Leg Partridge of the day.
Once again our track wasn’t clearly marked, but checking my OS map we were soon on our way again, but not before I checked out the frothy phenomena that was resting along the shoreline.
Heading westwards we started to come across numerous couples obviously walking for some charity or other. I have to confess I mentally grumble when I encounter “OTHER PEOPLE”on MY walk.
Thankfully we managed to escape the two dozen or so intruders on the last windswept mile or so.
By the time we dropped down to The Swannery (nestling beneath St.Anns Chapel) we were feeling pretty chilly.
Should you choose to try this relatively easy walk allow around 5 hours for the 10.5 miles. It’s not a challenging path, and there are very good conveniences at Abbotsbury Swannery.
Not able to do this yourself?
Why not just drive from West Bay towards the village, pull off on one of the lay bys, and look at this.