On a dry and bright breezy day, I did this circular walk starting and finishing in the lovely village of Worth Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck. Up and down to the coast along steep combes, and a short stretch of the Coast Path.
Walking down to the sea, I stopped for a few minutes just to take in the atmosphere. Late blackthorn blossom stretched up to a blue clouded sky; a solitary magpie flew over; goldfinches and chaffinches whirred past on tiny wings showering themselves with petals from the hedge; blackbirds were singing in the treetops; a pheasant called and crows cawed in the distance; and the soft plashing of a little stream and the sighing breeze completed the moment. One of those times when I was glad to be alive and just where I was.
Arriving near the coast, warning signs about the dangers of rock climbing were rather eclipsed by the sight of a grove of small cherry trees – not the common gean, but, I think, Prunus cerasus.
Winspit is a disused limestone quarry, and was swarming with rock climbers when I visited. If you’re feeling brave, you can venture inside some of the disused galleries, whose rooves are supported by rock piles or columns, and explore the ruined buildings, some of which are built of beautifully cut and mortared stone “bricks”.
There are interesting chert nodules and beds full of trace fossils in the cliffs, as well as the more blocky Portland Stone that has been quarried – very efficiently as you can see from the change in the rock in the roof above. The fine stone is the inevitable target of graffitists, some more eloquent than the scrawled charcoal “Jason luvs Mo” or “Darren woz ere”. I wonder what P E Lawrence of the IX Hampshire Regiment was thinking, as he inscribed his name in 1938 before the outbreak of war? Wikipedia tells me that the 9th Battalion was formed on the Isle of Wight in July 1940, but this apparently tells a different story.
The sea here is clear and the waves are a beautiful shade of pale green as they crash on the rocky ledges.
After spending time mesmerised by the sea, I made my way east towards Seacombe across close-cropped springy turf, serenaded by soaring larks as I followed the coast path. I decided not to go down to the coast again, and followed the combe inland and back to Worth, where I said ‘hello’ to the village ducks and admired the public gardens.