A Day Out – Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

In June I took some time off work to enjoy the sunshine and get a few jobs done. I’d spent all my money booking things coming up later in the summer, so I spent this week doing things that didn’t cost very much and one of those things was walking about. On one day I walked from town to a local village and back. The next day, the day I talk about today, I jumped into the car with my camera and headed to the beach.

I live on what we now have to call the ‘Jurassic Coast’, marketing-speak for all the fossils and that between Lyme Regis and Weymouth. It used to be called Lyme Bay but that seems to be forgotten now. From time to time it does you the world of good to remind yourself what is on your doorstep. Charmouth is ten minutes from me, Lyme Regis only another five or so (both more with summer traffic).

I’m afraid this is going to turn into a series of photoblogs of my summer so if you like that sort of thing stay tuned to the blog!


Beach huts at Charmouth

Charmouth is a sleepy village, it has been ever since the A35 bypass took all the passing traffic around the outside of it (thankfully so – it was a nightmare before then and modern traffic levels are far higher!). It hosts a lot of caravan parks for visitors, a few shops, and a beach. You do have to pay to park in the beach-side car park but as that provides for the upkeep of place that’s not unreasonable.

I really like the photo above of the beach huts in a row, in line with the cliffs. This part is actually in the valley between two cliffs. The flat-topped hill is Golden Cap, the highest cliff in Dorset. I like that the huts are sky/sea-coloured, that they are neat and tidy yet the beach is completely natural and not messed about with or tidied up. That’s very West Dorset, and how it should be! Like the rest of the West Dorset coast the beach is very pebbly and the waves make a lot of noise against the stones. Makes me feel at home.


Charmouth Beach
A novel way to get around

After a quiet little while wandering the beach I hopped into the car and headed to Lyme Regis.

Lyme Regis

If you’ve never been to Lyme, be warned it is quite hilly (understatement).  If you prefer a nice amble along the seafront, as I happened to on this day, you can avoid the hills completely (well almost completely – you still have to walk from the car). If you don’t mind the hills, do take a walk around the place to explore.

It has been a few years since I was last here and the front has been redeveloped. The most notable change is the raising of the beach level to meet the road – there used to be a drop of several feet. Lyme beach itself is a little different – there is a long pebbly section but then a sandy part by the Cobb (the old little harbour) where you can sit and watch the boats.

The Cobb & beaches

I really loved the light on that day, not only did it look fantastic it also brought the best out of my camera. I was and still am getting used to my Nikon DSLR. It was a day when I’d be happy to choose any one of many photos to highlight here, and that doesn’t happen very often!

If you get the chance to visit the Dorset coast on a warm sunny spring or summer day I really recommend it. Autumn/winter is okay but it really does come into its own on a warm sunny day when people have got their boats out.  Just amble around with a camera with the sun on your back. I’d not had a day this relaxing in a long time.

You can see the full set in my June 2012 album (which is actually just photos of June 19th). I rounded up the day with a few photos of my town, Bridport. It was evening by then, not that it looks it, and it gets quiet midweek evenings.  The bunting was up for the Jubilee and the Olympics!


A Day Out – Perry’s Cider

I took a day off for something which was then cancelled, so rather than waste the day a few of us took the opportunity to head to Perry’s Cider to have a look around their musuem and have a bit of a sample!

The works and museum are in the quiet village of Dowlish Wake, out in the countryside somewhere near Ilminster.

Even wandering slowly it doesn’t take long to look around the yard and the building housing the old machinery. I think they still use the machinery either for demonstrations or production runs, so if you go later in summer/autumn you should be able to watch them work. For us though the place was very quiet apart from the work going on in the adjacent bottling plant.

We arrived at about 1pm and after a bit of a walk around we thought it was a good time for lunch before looking in the little museum. The site has a modern yet sympathetic thatched building containing a tea room at one side and a shop at the other.

I can heartily recommend lunch at the tea room! From the specials board we all had a beef and mustard baguette, warmed, with a big salad and Burt’s Crisps. I cleared the plate. Lovely! Malcolm and I both love an apple crumble so when we saw the apple and summer fruits crumble on the board for £3 we had to have that too, with custard of course. Out comes this big portion with a liberal amount of custard, all nice and hot – I was getting full but had to finish it, it was so good!

One of the other highlights was the ability to buy a half or a pint of draught cider from the shop to accompany your meal. Of course, to know which cider you wanted you had to sample some from each of the 5 or 6 barrels..

Suitably stuffed we took a casual walk around the shop, lots of stuff there, the usual ‘farm shop’ foods and condiments as well as gifts and suchlike. Personally I was only really interested in the ciders! I walked off with a 4-litre tub of medium dry, that’s about 7 pints, straight from one of these huge barrels for the princely sum of £7.75. Naturally, after my pallette was coloured by the food I had to sample each of them again – and those from the many bottles – in order to choose the one I wanted to take away, after all, you have to remain properly informed.

Taste testing!

Next to the production building is the old works which now houses a small museum of old bottles, jars, hand tools, a huge bellows, and all manner of other tools from 80-100 years ago! Sadly my photos from in here didn’t come out well, I’d messed up the camera settings after judging the light wrongly, and perhaps I was still suffering the effects of a few too many samples!

After that.. what better thing to do than to go back to the tea room for a nice coffee?

The wander around the yard and the museum is a nice relaxing way to spend a bit of time, but the tea room is worth the visit alone. Despite actually not being a whole lot there, we somehow managed to while away a good 2 or 3 hours and it didn’t feel it at all.

A great relaxing way to spend an afternoon. I recommend it.

Venue: Perry’s Cider
Location: Dowlish Wake, Ilminster, Somerset
Website: www.perryscider.co.uk
Museum Price: Free
Facilities: Shop and tea room (both selling the full range of ciders plus cakes, sandwiches, etc)

Take a look at my other photos here.