The Isle of Purbeck and the Jurassic Coast has some of the most magical landscapes in the UK. For most of last week, while parts of the west coast of England and Wales was battered by Storm Callum, it bathed in Mediterranean sun and the she sky and the sea were unrealistic shades of azure. The only disappointment, photographically, is that, on these days, there were no clouds. Here are three panoramas: Chapman’s Pool from the coast path; Lulworth Cove from the cliff top, looking east; and, again from the beach, looking west
The gallery below shows the undercliff at St Alhelm’s Head, Durdle Door and the view west to Bat’s Head.
Sue and I walked from the car park at Renscombe Farm to Chapman’s Pool and then on to St Aldhelm’s Head. The photo below shows the simple and elegant form of St Alhelm’s Chapel on the headland.
It is not possible for me to visit The Isle of Purbeck without at least one stop at the Square and Compass Inn at Worth Matravers, one of the most unique pubs in England. I have had some happy times here, on solo and group cycling trips enjoying a beer and pasty in the garden, surrounded by the half finished sculptures of the Stone Carving Week. The photos below, in full sun, give a flavour of it. The pub though is at its most atmospheric after dark and the best session I had last week was sitting with a small group of locals around the fire, just after dusk, having a beer and cockles. As I stepped outside there was the slimmest shaving of a New Moon in a starless sky to the south-west.
It was not unknown, many years ago, for me to abscond from the Bournemouth International Conference Centre in the late afternoon, bike to the Sandbanks Ferry, pedal ’round Studland to the Pub and race back to the ferry before dinner. One misty, spooky night in late October, a music night at the pub, the band played ‘I See A Bad Moon Rising’, just as I was leaving. This is the theme tune for the film American Werewolf in London, notably the scene where the backpackers leave the pub and walk out to hear the howling of the beast. It was a brisk ride back: “Like one, that on a lonesome road/Doth walk in fear and dread,/And having once turned round walks on,/And turns no more his head;/Because he knows, a frightful fiend/Doth close behind him tread.”
Approaching the end of the week the tail end of Storm Callum caught up with us and with it some more interesting skies. Here is a shot of Chapman’s Pool at sunset.
We spent our only grey damp day at Kingston Lacy, former home of the Bankes Family but now owned and run by the National Trust. The house has a wonderful art collection including major works by Van Dyke, Titian, Valazquez, Brueghel the Younger and many more. The gardens and parkland are also very special. My favourite though was the gardener’s room in the kitchen garden, retained as a memorial to the group of gardeners who did not return from the Great War.
At the end of the week, we were lucky during a visit to Swanage, to see the arrival of the Steam Locomotive The Dutchess of Sutherland.