Thursday, 10 May 2012

Dorset sunshine

After leaving Ilminster, Tuesday a week ago, we drove south towards the coast. We didn't have time to visit Exeter -- on our wish list for next time -- so we briefly looked round Lyme Regis.  Quite a few early holiday makers were out in the town enjoying the warm sunshine. We had to squint our eyes to see the Cobb in the glare of the sun on the water.
looking back towards Lyme Regis
We then drove on eastwards along the Jurassic coast with the roof open and beyond Bridport we started looking for somewhere to lunch. The Anchor in the small village of Burton Bradstock looked to have an inviting seafood menu so we went in.
shore near Burton Bradstock, Jurassic Coast
After an excellent lunch of seafood salad served with homemade bread and butter we returned to the car and were glad we'd remembered to close the sunroof. The car was plastered with seagull offerings! In fact it looked as if the car had gone paintballing! Could it be the colour [metallic gray-blue] as the car which had been parked next to it all the while we were inside was not splattered [black]?  Whatever the reason it was now well streaked with white.

East Bexington, Jurassic Coast
We carried on along the same coastal road we'd taken last October towards Chesil beach. What a difference the season and weather makes! This time the sea was a gorgeous aquamarine colour and the sun sparkled on the water. You can compare the photo we took in October looking back towards Lyme Regis with the one of the same stretch of coastline above. 

Chesil beach from Abbotsbury hill
We stopped at the high point overlooking Chesil beach and instead of May 1st it could just as easily have been July. We then carried on towards Dorchester and briefly drove round Poundbury, a development built on Duchy of Cornwall land, that reflects Prince Charles' thoughts on designing urban developments. Poundbury lies on the outskirts of Dorchester. Click on the link if you want to see images of what Poundbury looks like. Much of it has a very traditional feel but with very wide streets and green swathes separating the road from the pavement. Admittedly ours was only a fleeting visit, but it felt almost as if it was a little too perfect to us. Perhaps when it is less 'new' and more lived in it will feel more 'real'.

Navigating round Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch we headed for the New Forest and in the last of the evening sunlight enjoyed driving across the heathlands and having the odd close encounter with cattle as well as ponies. We then repeated our successful formula from October: having a relaxing dinner in a nice pub in Lyndhurst before heading off to drive the last 35 miles the ferry at Portsmouth.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
What a marvellous tour, apart from the seagull problem(!!), around a part of England that we know so well and love so much. Dorset really does, in our view, have the most wonderful coastline and Lyme Regis is one of our all time favourite seaside towns. Years ago we very nearly bought a holiday cottage there but, in the event, it came to nothing.

Poundbury we dislike intensely and view it as a pastiche of so many different architectural styles.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - yes the seagull bombardment was a bit odd--ours was the only car 'attacked' [and the only blue one]
This was only our second 'drive through' as we always have to catch the ferry--but we like the area very much indeed. One day we'll have more time to explore things thoroughly.

So we're not the only ones who dislike Poundbury :-)

Pollygarter said...

Dorset is beautiful wherever you go, and the rain in the summertime makes the wurzel bush grow, and 'tis pleasant to sit in the lightning and the hail, with your girlfriend on a turnip-clamp to hear the sweet nightingale! (the Yetties, from Yetminster, Dorset)

the fly in the web said...

What a super way to travel to Portsmouth..I don't know that area of the country at all so your photographs gave me a welcome introduction.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Pauline - well we liked in October gloom too but in shunshine it is nicer :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - well it beats leaving Edinbugh late morning and driving down to arrive frazzled in the evening in Portsmouth! :-)
You can't board the ferry early and they don't load until 10pm so a stop in cheap/cheerful place round about Gloucester/Bristol night before gives you a nice 'pottering day' before getting onboard.
The bonus is the New Forest so close by--ideal for dinner stop.

Perpetua said...

Talk about making a virtue of a necessity. :-) What a lovely way to spend the day before your crossing. The photos are gorgeous.

We always sail from Portsmouth to Caen, but come straight down the A34 from Oxford, so this coast is unknown to us. Thank you for the introduction.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - It just stops us being frazzled when we get to the ferry; and we get to potter round some gorgeous countryside.
Going to Edinburgh we always drive it in a day. Up the A34 and then over to the M1 then M18 and A1M.