Scratchy Bottom and the dust of H.G. Wells...
Trip Start May 04, 2007
16Trip End May 21, 2007
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Overview: The Purbecks!
Today we went to the Isle of Purbeck with Shaun Kelly; before leaving from the hotel, he showed us a detailed map of the coastline and explained some of the history/geology of the area. The area has 3 rock bands (not the Eurovision variety!): limestone (hardest), clay and chalk (very soft). A large stretch of the area here is referred to as the Jurassic Coast. If you are interested in Geology, this area would likely fascinate you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_Dorset
The dramatic pictures that you'll see in this blog are often the result of chalk erosion (except for Durdle door)
After our orientation, we set off toward Poole and took the very brief ferry ride across to the Purbecks. The ferry ride is quite short and it is pulled by chains from one side to the other (you can hear the chains as the ferry leaves dock). After disembarking, we made our way through the countryside of the Purbecks as we traveled to Lulworth cove. The countryside is traditionally English, rolling hills, green fields with fluffy sheep grazing peacefully. After looking down "Daddy Hole" with all of its striations, we made our way down the hill. We walked down to the beach and touched the chalk cliffs; Shaun pointed out that the small brown rocks among the chalk (embedded in the chalk wall) are thought to be fossilized sponges. He described these rocks as flint (and I found a piece on the sand as a souvenir).
The shore was dramatic, we walked around Dungy Head and t a rock formation called "Durdle Door." For more information on this formation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durdle_Door.
We hiked up "smugglers path" from the shore (a very steep incline)-I was quite proud of myself for getting to the top! The path was so named because ships would unload here in order to avoid the customs houses-they would smuggle goods up and into a hidden valley (amusingly named 'Scratchy Bottom') so they wouldn't have to pay duty on their goods
Another interesting tidbit, we were not able to walk the ridges of the area as there is a gunnery school that practices on certain days (red flags and signs indicate these days). The paths are closed off for safety; when we saw the flags, we thought they had just been left over from the previous days practice, but soon heard some loud "booms" that were not thunder! There were some interesting signs in the area warning of "sudden gunfire" and "tank crossing." Unfortunately, the gun practice also left us unable to go to an area called Tyneham http://www.isleofpurbeck.com/tyneham.html. Apparently, a school left just as it was abandoned in the 1940's (books open and all). This will give me something to see on my next trip!
After finishing our walk (in glorious sunshine-something we haven't seen much of!), we got back into the car and headed for Kingston (a town near Corfe castle.). We stopped at a pub in Kingston for lunch and joined up with Stuart Gibson (staff from BPC); the pub (Scott Arms) had some breathtaking views from its back patio and one diner had a beautiful golden retriever sleeping on the floor beside his chair
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findapl ace/w-corfecastle/ .
We took several pictures of the exterior (people are not allowed inside the castle itself) and were sure to get a good shot of the Cy Fair duck in the picture (thanks for the loaner duck Idolina!). After a hearty lunch, we headed to Old Harry Rocks.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Harry_Rocks. Reportedly, H.G. Wells' ashes were scattered on these rocks.
After the awe-inspiring view, we headed down to a pub called the Square and Compass (a local favorite)--for the purposes of history/culture--not a pub crawl! Unfortunately, the pub was closed, but we were able to see the roosters walking on the grounds of the pub and were able to check out the small village (Worth Matrevers).
After our exciting outing, we returned to the hotel and decided that we would stay in for dinner tonight-hoping to catch up on our blogs. We ate in the hotel restaurant and still managed to stay up past midnight working and playing on the internet in the lobby.
My pictures are taking awhile to load, so please be sure to check entries of the last few daysfor new pics/videos (especially for the last few days) as I'll be adding those soon!