This is another shot from my walk earlier this week. Having left my friend at Heaven’s Gate, I continued along the edge of the Encombe Valley which is a beautiful bowl shaped hollow with an old manor house at the bottom, to reach the village of Kingston. From there, I joined the path that tracks the rim of the other side of the bowl, leading eventually to the coast itself at the Houns Tout headland.
Houns Tout takes its name from the family name Houn which dates from Norman times, and Tout which means lookout post, the name therefore literally means the lookout post of Houn. The walk out to it is wonderful, a mile and a half of flat, easy, grassy footpath with views down into the valley. And at the end of it, you come to this amazing view west across the seaward edge of the ‘bowl’ with its band of woodland, and on towards Kimmeridge, with Portland jutting out to sea in the distance.
My onward route was along the coast that you see in the picture above. It is another great area to walk although it can get quite muddy. The main issue with this part of the Dorset Coast Path is that the cliffs, being made up of Kimmeridge Shale, are very crumbly. Erosion is a major problem here, and there are signs that the path might well have to be closed and re-routed yet again in the not too distant future.
It is not only the action of the sea that affects this coast, it is the affect of the increasingly wet weather that spells danger. The last time a collapse happened, the path had to be closed for many months whilst negotiations took place with the land owner, and the path moved further inland. It is a never ending battle to keep this path open!
For now though, I could still enjoy my walk along the cliffs on this rather bleak day. It is possible to walk along the shoreline below as well but that depends entirely on catching the tides right because it is only accessible at low tide. And of course, you have to bear in mind that it can take a couple of hours to walk it! It does give you a very different perspective to the cliff top though, and I do love to follow that route when the tides permit. On this day, without having checked the tide tables, I wasn’t going to risk it! It is not the right time of year for having to swim round headlands because the tide has come in 🙂 !
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings, and I hope you enjoy exploring with me.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
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