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!
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.
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.
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