Charmouth, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 4

Day 8 – and our final destination for June’s ‘Jolly’s Jurassic Adventure’ was a 45 minute (25.5 miles) drive further westwards along the coast to Charmouth, near the border with East Devon.    We’d booked a pitch at the Charmouth Camping & Caravanning Club site.

This site is located at Monkton Wyld Farm, about 3 miles outside Charmouth itself, and is a beautiful, spacious site located down a quiet country lane away from traffic noise.  It was a good job we had our bikes on board as there isn’t much in the immediate area of this site so you do need to be able to walk a distance even to access public transport or have other means of getting out and about as most things to do are a short drive/ride away.

By now, the weather was beginning to turn and the glorious sunshine that had welcomed us on our arrival into Dorset had reduced to sporadic periods of sunshine through cloud and rain showers, some heavy.  This didn’t in any way dampen (pardon the pun) our Dorset experience, however,  and there was still adventure to be had!

During our stay here, one day we jumped on our bikes and cycled an approx 18 mile round trip to Seaton in the Axe Valley, East Devon, for the afternoon.  It was a pretty welcome into Seaton as we rode over the bridge and alongside the River Axe.   We locked the bikes up at Seaton Tramway and took a ride on one of the narrow gauge heritage trams from Seaton to Colyford and Colyton.  The track runs alongside the River Axe estuary, giving great views of bird life.  We aren’t very knowledgeable on birds but we definitely saw a buzzard on the overhead line as we passed beneath!  The tram driver was clearly very happy in his job and made it a fun and entertaining journey.

We rode the tram up to Colyton where we disembarked for a stroll around the village.  It was pleasant walking through the winding streets.  We enjoyed a real ale as we sat outside the Gerrard Arms (freehouse) while listening to an impressive ringing of bells from St Andrew’s Church next door.  It was a very quintessentially old English village feel to the moment.  We later called in at the Kingfisher (freehouse) too before walking to catch the tram back into Seaton.

By this time it was late afternoon and we headed off on our 9 mile ride back towards site.  Unfortunately, the weather quickly changed and we found ourselves riding, often uphill, into a head wind with the rain pelting down.  It was quite a challenging ride!

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River Cottage HQ appearing through the mist on our way home

Just as we were on the verge of losing our will to live, and looking like drowned rats, we reached The Hunter’s Lodge Inn, just about a mile from site.  We were pretty knackered and had never been more ready for some pub grub and a pint.  As Suzie headed to the toilet, Bri went to book a table but was told there was no room at the Inn! 😱  There was a pub quiz on that evening and all bookings had been taken for this.  As luck would have it though, as Suzie returned and was informed, the barman took pity on her pitifully sad, disappointed, exhausted expression  … and managed to squeeze us in!  RESULT! 😃👍

We would definitely recommend that you book a table if wanting to eat here as they seem to regularly be full.

Another day, we decided to go fossil hunting on Charmouth beach as we had read that it is one of the best areas to do this.  After the previous day’s bike ride, and as the weather remained wet, we decided to unhook Jolly and take him into Charmouth.  Obviously with this, you are more limited with parking but this wasn’t a problem at a car park just up the road from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre at the beach.  At the Heritage Centre, we were able to watch a video on fossil hunting and saw some very impressive fossil collections.  We weren’t successful with fossils that day but had a good couple of hours wandering the beach and searching 🙂

On our way back we were thinking of possibly having a wander around West Bay, one of the locations used for the filming of ITV’s crime drama, Broadchurch, but by this point it was quite late and we also discovered that motorhomes weren’t too welcome in the car parks we looked at which was disappointing but not entirely surprising.  I think Station Yard Car Park, West Bay allows some motorhomes, not sure how many.  We’re usually on bikes so hadn’t really experienced this difficulty before.

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A flying visit to West Bay harbour

This site is helpful re. parking in Dorset:-

No worries though, we headed back to Jolly for our tea before an early night and a long journey home the next day.

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Final checks, then homeward bound 🚐

We waved goodbye to Charmouth and set off on the 265-mile return journey back up North to Lancashire, after an absolutely brilliant time on our 10-night Jolly Jurassic Adventure and got a real buzz from touring.  We just want to do more and more.  Here’s to the next one which will be June 2017, destination yet to be confirmed.  Until then …


Suzie & Bri

Weymouth, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 3

Day 5, and we travelled 18 miles or so further westwards along the Dorset coast towards the seaside resort of Weymouth.  We stayed on a fully serviced gravel pitch at a private site – East Fleet Touring Park in Chickerell, just a couple of miles outside the centre of Weymouth.  Just along the driveway from site up to the main road, you can easily catch a bus into Weymouth, or alternatively there are plenty of taxi services.

The touring site lies along part of the 18 mile stretch of Chesil Beach, which for much of its stretch, including this part, is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called Fleet Lagoon.  The touring site is in a idyllic setting situated within a 200 acre organic farm.  We stayed in the ‘Stable Field’ area and the facilities were second to none that we have experienced before – Norwegian pine log cabin unisex luxury shower suites with underfloor heating.  VERY impressive!


This site has an Old Barn family bar which we noted was also used by some locals, giving a friendly and welcoming buzz to the place.  We picked some useful tips & information from chatting to a local chap there.

The bar itself does not offer food, but there are a couple of evenings when food is available from local vendors on site – Portland Pizza Company with their wood fired pizza oven and Bennett’s award winning Fish and Chips.  We tucked into the fish and chips one night and they tasted sensational after a long day out and about.  We ate back on Jolly but you have the option of eating at the bar or even ordering a takeaway to be delivered to the bar if you prefer.

The most charming location in Weymouth, for us, is the 17th Century Old Harbour.  It is home to a number of good pubs and restaurants and was always bustling.  We spent two of our three evenings here, where you can watch the fishing boats returning with their day’s catch and just generally watch the world go by.

Our favourite meal of our stay in Weymouth was at Mallam’s Restaurant on the harbour front.  It was something a little special washed down with a couple of cheeky champagne cocktails.  Delicious fayre and lovely staff, making it the perfect evening.  We would recommend this one without hesitation.

One day we hopped on the Jurassic Coaster bus, at the end of the campsite’s driveway, and headed to the quaint little village of Abbotsbury to visit the well known Abbotsbury Swannery.  The Jurassic Coaster bus service runs the length of the coast from Poole to Exeter and is ideal to hop on/off as you explore the many towns and villages along the coastline.


We spent an enjoyable day in and around Abbotsbury village with its shops and tearoom, but most importantly for us was experiencing the Swannery with its colony of nesting mute swans.  This is a must if you’re in this area of Dorset.  It’s the only managed colony of these swans in the world.  We were lucky to see cygnets hatching before our eyes and take photos as we walked among the colony of swans.  There’s also a subtropical garden to visit and a children’s farm for families.

As you enter/leave the Swannery, there’s a Barnes Wallis Dam-busting ‘Bouncing Bomb’ which was tested on the Fleet back in 1943, an interesting piece of wartime history and in stark contrast to the tranquility of the Fleet today.

Also, during our stay at this touring park, we used public transport from Weymouth front to cross over to the Isle of Portland with the aim of visiting the lighthouse there.  Unfortunately, however, the Portland Bill lighthouse was closed to visitors as there was work being undertaken on it.  It’s a Grade II listed functioning lighthouse and we’d hoped to go up it and have a nosy.  No worries though, it was a hot and sunny day so instead we just enjoyed taking in the local area and scenery, with some light refreshment along the way.  We spent a relaxing afternoon on the island.

The time was really beginning to fly by on our Jurassic Adventure, and we were thoroughly enjoying our first touring experience of any length.  The next morning we were heading off West again to Charmouth, our final destination …


Suzie & Bri

Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 2

On our 4th day of Jolly’s Jurassic Adventure we left Corfe Castle to travel a short 11.5 miles westwards to Lulworth Cove for a cheeky one-nighter on a sea-view pitch at Durdle Door Holiday Park.

Again, the weather remained dry and hot.  We quickly pitched up and set the barbie going for a tasty, relaxing lunch looking out to sea, before exploring the immediate area around the site.

From the site you can take the uphill walk along the cliff side over to the 10,000 year old Lulworth Cove with heritage centre and village.


We were perfectly placed to appreciate Lulworth Cove and also the magnificent Durdle Door arch situated along a shingle beach.  In fact, just a short stroll from our pitch brought us out at 2 grass stump seats (an older couple we passed gave us a tip to view the arch from here as they had been returning to do for the last 10 years!).  We were grateful to them for sharing this with us as it meant we were able to avoid the crowds down below and discovered it to be a very tranquil viewpoint.  We therefore decided to crack open a bottle of bubbly and spent a relaxing afternoon making the most of this special site without another soul around us.   Perfect!

The day was over quickly but our short stopover had been rewarding in so many ways and well worth every second.  We sat and watched a lovely sunset before turning in for the night.

Next stop the following morning was to be 17 miles further westwards to Chickerell, just outside Weymouth.


Suzie & Bri



Corfe Castle, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 1

On 5th June, 2016, after some preparation and planning, Jolly was loaded up and fuelled ready to head off on our 10-night Jurassic Adventure.

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of Southern England. It stretches a distance of 95 miles from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset.  The coastline reveals 185 million years of our Earth’s history through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.  We planned on covering the majority of the coast, from it’s Eastern-most point near Swanage to Seaton towards the West.

Map to plan

Jurassic Coast map

It was a 300-mile journey to Part 1 of our Adventure, our first destination being Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck, not an actual island but a peninsula in Dorset noted for its spectacular cliffs and land-forms, which include Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.  Corfe Castle is the name given to the village as well as the Castle itself  (built by William the Conqueror and dating back to the 11th Century).

We had a clear run down, arriving in good time to glorious sunshine as we checked into Corfe Castle Camping & Caravanning Club Site.  With the sun beating down and a sunny pitch allocated we thought it only appropriate that we set up and sit out for a few hours rest after the journey and to allow time to take in the scenic woodland setting of our home for the next 3 days & nights.


Jolly pitched up in the sunshine

We later had a walk into the village of Corfe Castle, an approx. 20 minute countryside walk from site mostly downhill.

There are a number of shops, cafes and pubs in the village and we enjoyed a drink in The Greyhound before a lovely evening meal at the 16th Century Bankes Arms Hotel.  Both great pubs with friendly and welcoming locals.


Corfe Castle Village map


The castle silhouette from the village centre


Sunset in the village

During our stay at Corfe Castle we enjoyed excellent weather and so jumped on our bikes for a day, initially intending to cycle the leisurely 5.5 mile Rempstone Short Loop.  However, after finding the directions for this a little confusing and the ride not the most inspiring, we made up our own route.  Not before having to negotiate a field containing a bull though.  Suzie’s never cycled so fast! bikeridebull

We eventually ended up further afield than originally planned at Knoll Beach at Studland Bay, which is a beautiful area to spend some time and was well worth the effort.


Knoll Beach, Studland Bay


Refreshments at Knoll Beach before the return ride


On our return journey we had a bizarre encounter on the cycle path with a naked rambler …


THE Naked Rambler?

Another full day was spent on a trip to Swanage.  We travelled to Swanage on the preserved steam railway from the quaint old-fashioned station at Corfe Castle which itself takes you back in time and also houses a small museum.

Swanage is a traditional Victorian seaside town with the attractions you would expect from such a resort, including a blue flag beach.


Swanage seafront

We took a boat trip along the coast into Poole Harbour, which allowed us to take in the famous landmark that is Old Harry Rocks, the first major point of interest on the eastern side of the Jurassic Coast.  The weather was kind and the view of these chalk stack formations was pretty impressive.

The boat trip also took us past Sandbanks which crosses the mouth of Poole Harbour.  Sandbanks apparently has, by area, the fourth highest land value in the world, the properties here, therefore, being popular with the rich & famous.  We didn’t have time to explore Poole Harbour but it looked well worth a visit – maybe next time.

All in all a great part 1 of Joly’s Jurassic adventure!  Our next stop was an overnight seaview stay at Durdle Door, near Lulworth.   ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri