Last week we went to an area we’ve neither of us been before, covering the New Forest and the eastern part of the Jurassic Coast around Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.
Being the beginning of February in a year of poor weather, we weren’t expecting a lot and (according to the weather forecast) it was likely to be awful. However, we were lucky. The hotel we were staying in said that they’d had very windy and wet weather on Sunday with power cuts (which led to some problems with WiFi) and the drive down on Monday was wet and windy.
Tuesday dawned windy and the ground underfoot was very wet and soggy so, rather than walking around the New Forest as we had planned we set off for the coast ending up at Milford on Sea in what seemed to be a fairly typical seaside town. The weather was still windy so we parked our car in a car park well away from the edge of the sea because the waves were washing up and over the seawall and bringing some pebbles off the beach with it. However, we walked westwards along the edge of the mud cliffs where we saw the usual collection of gulls, jackdaws and other birds, including these which I think were Turnstones in their winter plumage.
They were wandering around dashing along the edge of the cliffs and so it was quite difficult to get a clear picture.
Anyway, we walked back and forth and were planning to walk to Hurst Castle when we realised it was closed until March.
So we got back into the car and drove along to Christchurch where we had a pleasant walk around the older part of town (avoiding the flooded river) and a walk through the impressive church
On the second day we had thought of going to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu but the thought of wandering through lots of cars didn’t impress, so instead we went to Bucklers Hard. This was surprisingly good value, even on a chilly day in February with lots to see (though not so much to do) it was good for adults, but I somehow feel that it would be less interesting for children. Lots of information about the ships that had been built there and what life would have been like back at the beginning of the 19th Century but it lacked the excitement that young children would need to give their parent time to be informed. Anyway, we walked alongside the river back towards Beaulieu (again avoiding the flooded river) and looked inside the various little shops there.
That was all we did that day and we drove back through Lymington where we stopped for our evening meal.
Our final day was planned to be a visit to the Mary Rose Museum and HMS Victory but (to be honest) we were “shipped out” from Bucklers Hard and discovered that the Mary Rose was closed until “Summer 2016” so we changed our minds and went down to Lulworth Cove. We’d both heard of it through our geography lessons in the distant past but neither of us had ever visited it. To be honest, Lulworth Cove itself is probably better seen from overhead pictures, within the cove you lose the sense of the sweep all around. However, we did find a fossil which made the walk around worth while. From there we walked towards Durdle Door. The signposts said “1 mile” what it didn’t point out was that it was 1/2 mile up a steep slope and 1/2 mile down a steep slope. The path upwards is extremely well created and it did give us the opportunity to look back at Lulworth cove. The car park was empty(ish) though what it would be like on a busy day in the middle of summer I don’t know.
Finally we arrived at Durdle Door a magnificent arch and we walked along the beach which (surprisingly) is fine pebbles rather than sand as we expected.
After a packet of crisps on the beach we started the journey back to the car. As we started off we saw (what I think is) a Rock/Water Pipit and a Kestrel. The Kestrel was no more than 20ft away and hovered looking down at the ground for five or ten minutes. I have never seen a Kestrel so close before and despite battling the wind it kept its head almost completely stationary, amazing.
In conclusion, we had a wonderful few days in an area we would visit again.