Cycling Through Dorset Again

Rosebay Willowherb
My lunchtime view across the Purbeck Valley with a foreground of Rosebay Willowherb

Well, since my previous post, which is here, I have been out on another three cycle rides through Dorset and Hampshire, 55 miles, 57 miles, and a 73 mile ride. This one followed in part my previous ride but I realised that now that the school holidays are upon us, the Lulworth Firing Range roads and paths are open. This meant that having reached the Purbeck Ridge at Creech, I could travel west along the ridge instead of having to go east as I did previously.

My route out was the same as before, going through Wareham, Arne, Corfe Castle, Church Knowle, and Steeple, before climbing the steep hill up onto the Purbeck Ridge.

The Climb
On the steep climb again

The conditions were better than on my last visit as I could see at least some of the valley when I stopped to look back. Additionally, on this trip I had my handlebar bag with me so that I could carry my tiny pocket camera and was therefore able to get some better pictures. I’m always slightly dubious about this because some of the roads are in such poor condition that the vibration could easily cause some damage.

When I reached the ridge top, I stopped at the Creech Viewpoint for lunch and I was able to sit and gaze out across the hamlet of Steeple in the valley below towards Swyre Head in the distance, although the hill itself was shrouded in sea mist. In the foreground before me was an amazing array of Rosebay Willowherb with their colourful heads waving gently in the breeze. Lunch time views don’t get much better than this.

On the Purbeck Ridge
Mist rolling in from the sea crosses the Purbeck ridge – the path to Flower’s Barrow disappears into the cloud

The road to the west is now open for the summer holidays so I was able to cycle west and follow a route that has been on my to-do list for several years. The sea mist was blowing across the highest part of the ridge before dissipating inland, and the path out to the ancient coastal hill fort of Flowers Barrow was lost to view.

I dropped down out of the mist, racing down the steep hill into Lulworth – I know that as you get older, you are meant to become more sedate, but some things never change and the rush of speed is always a thrill…..even at my age, especially when little effort is involved! Normally this ridge is a quiet area with the gentle sounds of skylarks, apart from when the guns are firing of course, but not today! Today, my accompaniment was of a different sort, it was the sound of thumping base notes – Camp Bestival was on at Lulworth Castle and the sound could be heard for miles!

Lulworth is a popular place so I did not linger there but rode straight through, to climb another steep hill past the entrance to Durdle Door Caravan Site and out the other side, moving swiftly on to get away from the crowds. Durdle Door is another crowd magnet, so is best savoured out of season!

A Dorset view
Another ridge, another awesome view

From here, my route took me along a lovely quiet country lane that passes through the delightful Dorset village of Chalden Herring. This village is famous for it’s literary connections as various writers have lived there over the centuries, including Llewellyn Powys of ‘Mr Weston’s Good Wine’ fame, David Garnett of ‘The Sailor’s Return’ fame, and many others, as well as various artists. The Sailor’s Return is the name of the village pub but I did not stop there, but continued to a watering hole of a different sort.

From the top of another rise I could see my route onwards…..well I could have had I had super vision 🙂 ! My route was across the flatlands of the broad valley and on to Moreton where there is a tea rooms. This is deservedly popular, and particularly useful to me since there is a back gate into the garden where I could park my bike safely – leaving the bike unattended is an issue in these days when bike thefts are common. I enjoyed my tea and Dorset Apple Cake that day 🙂 !

Purbeck Railway
The railway line through Purbeck with the high point of Creech Barrow in the distance

Rejuvenated, I continued on my way from Moreton, through Wool to cross the Purbeck heath and the railway line. This mostly carries oil trains from the wells that are hidden in amongst the trees of the southern shore of Poole Harbour but is also set to carry passenger trains since it links the preserved Swanage Railway with the mainline at Wareham. The only thing holding up this traffic is that the locomotive has had to be upgraded to mainline standards and that is taking time.

Wareham Quay
Wareham Quay and the River Frome

Cycling into Wareham, I did what I always do and stopped at the quay beside the River Frome. This is another popular place, especially in summer but it is a lovely spot to sit and rest awhile.

The day was drawing on though and I had to move on to ride the last 10 miles or so back to my starting point.

This was another great bike ride, although I had forgotten how bad the traffic gets in the summer holidays. I also forgot that Bestival was on and that creates even more traffic, not to mention noise. Just to complete the three negatives, my posterior was suffering a little, well a lot actually, by the end. I determined that I would sort the last mentioned by looking again at saddles. Whether I can solve that problem remains to be seen!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings, and I hope you enjoy exploring with me.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

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5 Comments

  1. Your Purbeck ride sounds fantastic, views amazing. Can’t do distance cycling but 28 July did 11 miles Purbeck Ridge/Creech/Corfe/just above Kimmeride and upto Steeple to viewpoint where parked. No mist! In fact could see for miles so Dorset at its best. Avoided Camp Bestival noise and traffic, saw nobody really apart from few cyclists! Only downside were group of hefty cattle including bull and young on NT land, on very narrow footpath near Corfe, that is nerve-racking! Best wishes

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