SWCP – Burton Bradstock to Lyme Regis
Please note that I’ve deleted many photos on this page to suite a new website format – the old system caused problems on some browsers. All posts from 3/06/2015 will only have one photo visible.
After an intense few weeks at work I’d been eyeing the weather reports for another stint on the South West Coast Path.
It wasn’t until Friday evening that I decided I would “Go for it” and finish the final stretch on the Dorset section.
As my starting point at Burton Bradstock is 150 miles from home I booked a hotel to avoid all the hassle of the M25 and M3 contraflow on Saturday morning.
It was a great plan, but I was absolutely shattered by the time I’d checked in at my stop off at Andover.
My aim for an early Saturday start went to pot as my energy levels were at zero even after a night’s sleep.
I took the wiggly route through to Dorchester, and had a late breakfast in Poundbury before taking to the lanes for the last few miles.
My first photo shows just how mucky it is on Icen lane, where I was hitting speeds of up to 5 mph to avoid splattering my car in mud.
At 11:45 am I was delighted to find my National Trust membership gave me free parking at “The Hive” beach in Burton Bradstock.
By the time I’d sussed out what I wanted in my rucksack my “early start” had slipped to 12:12.
Even after such a hopeless start I set off with incredible optimism that I could still reach Lyme Regis by the end of the day.
The overcast weather was playing into my hands, I seem to perform so much better when the sun isn’t shining.
It wasn’t long before I was looking out for migratory birds. Back at the car park I’d already been treated to swooping Swallows and House Martins, what else might I see?
There were plenty of crows and jackdaws around.
Every time I came across freshwater there were scores of Pied Wagtails darting about.
Virtually every inlet on this stretch features a hideous Park Home site.
This particular House Sparrow is feeding on nuts outside the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park.
From here it was a pretty straight forward stroll into West Bay, a spot that I somehow managed to miss during my 16 years living in the West Country.
I can imagine this place would be heaving in the height of Summer, but yesterday it had all important ingredients of a sea-side town without being over populated.
Dropping down to beach level I spotted a gaggle of lesser spotted Whitehats.
I took the opportunity to grab a sausage roll and fruity drink, before strolling around the harbour and heading off on my quest.
I passed a number of funky timber clad retail units, and felt sorry for an old man making slow progress ahead of me.
Those who know this particular stretch will know it’s a beautiful, although the weather put the Kaibosh on my best efforts to capture anything special photographically.
Leaving West Bay my next big challenge was “Golden Cap”.
Perhaps “Murky Cap” would be a better name on an overcast Autumn day?
The only gold I could appreciate was on the various female Wheatears heading back to Africa.
I stopped off at “The Anchor” in the minuscule village of Seatown. A little while later I was on the first of several diversions.
In pretty short time I’d made it to the triangulation point on Golden Cap. To the eye the vistas were astounding, but the colours were too flat to make them worth posting here.
You’ll have to make do with me standing in the bracken.
Further on I joined a lovely couple who’d spotted a seal just off the shoreline, but my favourite sighting was one of the 5 Green Woodpeckers I heard on my walk.
Looking at the light it was quickly becoming apparent I needed to “leg it” if I was going to reach Lyme Regis before nightfall.
Here’s my view back to Golden Cap, and incredibly this 56 year old actually managed to run most of this section of the path.
Not much further now and I should be able to drop down into Charmouth.
Except the official route was closed due to a landslip which occurred years ago.
I set out on the official diversion, but once I spotted the temporary route on a map decided it wasn’t for me.
I retraced my steps, and soon discovered the official route was still 95% as intended, although there were a few ominous cracks here and there.
As I walked down this grassy slope I remembered Roz and I had been here before the official path had been closed. For those of you who don’t know the area Charmouth is the fossil hotspot on the Jurassic Coast.
I even found a discarded one on an official information board.
After leaving the beach (and a welcome loo) near the beach I was once again diverted inland.
Others walkers have quite rightly pointed out this section is nowhere near the coast, but i actually quite enjoyed the slog up the main hill, and then across Lyme Regis Golf Course.
I surprised myself, as by my estimate I’d already covered 12 miles and fairly charged up this last major incline.
Pretty soon I was walking by streetlight, and soaking up the architecture in a town centre that was devoid of traffic whilst important roadworks are underway.
I’d arrived before 7:00pm and had a quick look towards The Cobb, and a bag of chips whilst waiting for a cab.
The driver was a decent chap, and he helped make 10th October 2015 a truly great day.
The fare was £30 by the time I’d added a tip, and I was delighted to have a great coffee and slice of cheesecake in “The Hive” cafe before my long drive home.
I had one major hold up on the M25 but still managed to get back to Crawley down before midnight.