Sunday, 10 July 2005

Coastwalk , South West Coast Path

Flower's Barrow → Kimmeridge Bay

[Military Firing Range - Keep Out]

Distance: 3.92 miles
Ascent: 188 metres
Duration: 2 hours 6 minutes

Across the firing range
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Emma and I are in Dorset this week, closing off the gap in my coastwalk between West Bay and Sandbanks. Right in the middle of this section is an army tank range. It's beautiful scenery, but a logistically difficult walk. The MoD only allow access for walkers at the weekend and getting from one end to the other is possible only by foot or car.

Today then, two hours after leaving the car we finally began the coastwalk. We'd turned the range into two circular walks and were knocking off the eastern half.

[Worbarrow Tout, with Portland in the distance]

En route to the start we passed through extensive areas of MoD firing range, complete with warnings of unexploded shells. This area was 'evacuated' by the MoD in 1943. When the village of Tyneham was commandeered, residents had one month to vacate their homes. Wooden panels inside the church tell the stories of the families who were forced to leave. They are still waiting to move back.

[A pyramid orchid]

Requisition of the land has meant that modern agricultural practices have not been adopted. Consequently there is a rich diversity of plants and animals present on the crumbling chalky cliffs; orchids were one of the several unique species we saw today.

Other features of note on this walk: one of us stepped in a cow-pat. A fresh one. And repeated the trick half an hour later. One of us left the nice cake behind. One of us fell down a cattle grid. Both of us fought the brambles, gorse, thistles and nettles of an overgrown and little-used path. Either that, or we were lost. Both of us have probably been out in the sun too long (which may explain some of the above).

Posted by pab at 21:26 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!