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The Jurassic Coast

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 24 May 2022 | Views [114]

Man o' War Bay, Jurassic Coast

Man o' War Bay, Jurassic Coast

ADVERTISED AS “185 MILLION YEARS OF EARTH’S HISTORY in 95 miles of coast,” the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site extends from western Dorset into eastern Devon. The name comes from the best known of the geological periods found within it, but in fact the site includes rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. But enough science! Much like Impressionist paintings, we found the Jurassic Coast is best viewed from afar. It’s cliffs are more impressive than the fossilized skeletons of the tiny animals that made it. And the most interesting sites have little to do with science.

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                 185 Million Years in 95 Miles

Today we back-tracked nearly 100 miles from Torquay, stopping first at Corfe Castle or rather the ruins thereof. Corfe Castle was built by William the Conquerer shortly after the Norman invasion in 1066, and has been a Saxon stronghold, a Norman fortress, a royal palace and a family home in its ten centuries of dominating the landscape. With the exception of the village, as with a painting by Monet, our best views came from a distance. 

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                      Corfe Castle, standing since the Invasion

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                       Corfe Castle Village, up close

Another big draw to the WHS is often photographed Durdle Door, a natural coastal arch carved through a vertical slab of limestone. We hiked down to the cliff above Man o’ War Bay and Durdle Arch for photographs, never even contemplating the descent to the rocky beach. And a good thing it was—storm clouds threatened and the rain began just as we reached the car.

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                     Durdle Door

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                     Chalk cliffs and hikers, above Durdle Door

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                Stormy Weather moving in

The sun returned in time for our final stop at Chesil Beach, “18-miles and 180 billion pebbles” if you can believe the marketing. It was calm and quiet today but author John Fowles (The French Lieutenant's Woman) who lived in Dorset, described Chesil Beach like this. "It is above all an elemental place, made of sea, shingle and sky, its dominant sound always that of waves on moving stone: from the great surf and pounding … of sou’westers, to the delicate laps and back-gurgling of the rare dead calm….

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                               Chesil Beach on a calm day

Who are we to argue?

 

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