Sunday, 22 September 2019


Day 1

We'd had this week booked off work for a while but hadn't really decided where to go, so a few days before we looked at the weather map and decided to head down to Dorset as this area had been on the list for such a long time.

We set off on Friday afternoon to spend 10 days exploring Dorset.

Everyone has heard of 'Hovis' Hill - every time I see photos of this hill I always say to Mark 'That's another place for the to-do list' so I checked the map and decided that Shaftsbury would be a good place to overnight and break up the long journey from the North West.

Gold Hill

This is one of the most photographed streets in Great Britain and we remember it from the Hovis advert on TV which was first aired in *cough* 1973... we were very young at the time of course.  It's been used in many times for filming locations.

The cobbled street runs beside the Grade 1 listed walls of the ancient Shaftsbury Abbey built by King Alfred around 1360s.

You can see the original ad on YouTube here

We spent the rest of the day exploring Shaftsbury and caching and generally enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

Day 2

Tyneham Village

After visiting Imber village and doing the Ghost Village virtual back in December 2009 we researched other similar places and came across Tyneham Village, over the years we said we'd visit but every time we attempted to arrange a trip the village our dates never coincided with the opening times.  So this time we were in luck!  We stayed overnight nearby and were first to arrive so we had the place to ourselves for a good hour or so.

A little bit of history...

In December 1943 the village of Tyneham and its surrounding heathland and chalk downland, all 7,500 acres of it were requisitioned by the War Office (now know as the MoD) for use as firing ranges for training troops.

225 people were displaced and the last person to leave left a poignant message on the church door....

Sadly, they were never to return as in 1948 the army placed a compulsory purchase order on the land and it has remained in military use ever since.


Teacher's desk complete with cane
We then headed down to Worbarrow Bay to do the Worbarrow Tout virtual.  It was quite busy with day trippers as the bay is only accessible when the Lulworth Ranges are open to the public and can be reached by a 1.4 kilometre walk from Tyneham village.

We spent a couple of hours enjoying the sunshine on the beach and watching Charlie swim in the sea.

South West Coast Path - Virtual Reward

We visited the North Devon end of the path back in April on our way back from a holiday in Cornwall.

So it was good to finish off by visiting the second waypoint.

Day 3

Woke up to this amazing sunrise!

We enjoyed a stroll around Wareham today finding a few caches.

Then on to Corfe Castle.

The main focus was a multi which took us for a walk over Corfe Common.  Would highly recommend this multi, it was a fabulous evening walk with lovely views of Corfe Castle.

and a beautiful sunset to end the day...

Day 4

Durdle Door

We have been wanting to visit Durdle Door for many years so we were really pleased to finally come here.

The weather couldn't have been better either.  We arrived early and had the place to ourselves for a little while.

There is a large pay and display car park provided at Durdle Door but we decided to make a longer walk of it and parked about a mile away (free).

After spending a while relaxing at Durdle Door we continued on to Lulworth Cove to do a couple of Earthcaches then onto West Lulworth for a few multis.


Lulworth Cove
The weather is absolutely fabulous, hard to believe we're in England in September!

The end of a fabulous day

Day 5

Isle of Portland
No caption needed!

Can I go in the sea?

This was our first visit to the Isle of Portland and what a lovely place it was to visit.  It's a tied island just 4 miles long by 1.7 miles wide.

Portland Bill Lighthouse

Portland Bill

Portland Bill is the southern tip of the island of Portland.  There are three lighthouse towers - Old Higher Lighthouse is now holiday apartments and the Lower Lighthouse is now a bird observatory.  The red and white lighthouse n Bill Point replaced the other two lighthouses in 1906 and was refurbished in 1996 and at that time became controlled remotely.


We discovered that rabbits are associated with bad luck on Portland and the use of the name is still taboo.  The little creatures are often referred to as 'Underground mutton' or 'long-eared furry things'.  Not sure where this superstition originated and there is no record of it before the 1920s but it is believe to derive from quarry workers - apparently rabbits got the blame if there was a landslide or rockfall.  If a rabbit was seen then the quarry workers would go home for the day until the quarry was deemed safe to return.

Today older Portland residents are 'offended' by the mention of rabbits, although probably for the benefit of tourists 😉.  Apparently a special batch of advertisement posters were made for the 2005 Wallace and Gromit film, The Curse of the Were Rabbit', the adverts omitted the word 'rabbit' and the film title read 'Something bunny is going on' instead'.

Lamb Stew

The next on the to-do list was a cache from 2002.  The walk to this one was really enjoyable, beautiful scenery.

The cache itself took quite a long time to locate so it was a good job the weather was sunny and dry, we might not have spent such a long time there if it had been cold and rainy.

Portland Harbour is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. the harbour was constructed by the building of stone breakwaters between 1848 and 1905.  It was a Royal Navy base and played prominent roles during the First and Second World Wars.  As of 1995 this is now a civilian port and recreation area and was used for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Overlooking Chesil Beach

2012 Olympic Games

Another beautiful sunset

We could easily have spent longer visiting the Isle of Portland and we'll definitely be returning.

Day 6

A better view of the harbour

Sadly it was time to leave the Isle of Portland and continue our trip.  Stopping off first at Chesil Beach, we'd seen it from various viewpoints over the last day or two so were keen to get a closer look.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach is also known as Chesil Bank and is one of there major shingle structures in Britain.  It runs from West Bay to the Isle of Portland for 18 miles and in places is up to 15 metres high!  and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A very relaxed day enjoying the good weather, having some lovely walks and finding caches in the sunshine.

We arrived in Weymouth early evening.

We parked on the quayside in Weymouth for  walk around and we couldn’t help noticing some old ‘tram lines’ in the road.

This line was actually a spur from the mainline to the station at the quay where passengers and goods would transfer from ships to trains bound for London. Although this service stopped in the 1980s and the last train to use the line was a special charter train in 1999, the line is not officially closed – yet. Enthusiasts want to have trains use it again, Network  Rail and the town council  are not so keen on the idea.

The spur itself is not very long and although it would probably be a novel tourist attraction, I’d imagine it would cause havoc with the traffic in the area

We really enjoyed our first visit to Weymouth.

 Stopped off to visit another Earthcache on Chesil Bank.

We rounded the day off by visiting an abandoned spooky chapel, literally in the middle of nowhere.  Fabulous!

Day 7

Charlie on his bunk
We stayed overnight in Abbotsbury, what a lovely little village, the locals were very friendly and welcoming.

Friendly locals
We stocked up on supplies from the village shops then headed up to St Catherine's Chapel which we'd seen from a distance the day before.

The barrel-vaulted 14th century chapel was built by the monks of the nearby Abbotsbury Abbey as a place of pilgrimage and retreat. 

The views from the chapel were fantastic.  

We had great fun exploring and learning about the chapel.  Local women used to pray st St Catherine at the 'wishing holes' and ask her to find them a husband.

Later on we headed to Lyme Regis, another place we'd never been to before.

Dorset Apple Cake and clotted cream

Granny's Teeth

These prominent stone steps are where Jane Austen's character, Louisa Musgrove falls in Persuasion and are known locally as Granny's Teeth.

Campervan food - halloumi flatbreads
We spent the evening mooching about on the beach at Seaton Bay and doing a virtual there until the sun went down.

Day 8

First stop of the day was at Loughwood Meeting House.

Loughwood Meeting House is one of the oldest baptists churches in Britain and was established prior to the 1689 Act of Toleration, at a time when non-conformity was dangerous and religious diversity could bring prosecution for treason.  Since 1969 it has been owned by the National Trust.  The house is built into a hillside and at that time it was surrounded by trees and its location made it suitable for a refuge.  From the outside it resembled a farm-worker's cottage (apart from the surrounding gravestones).

Wooden box pews

We spent the rest of the day visiting Ilminster.

 ....and gradually working our way North again stopping off at Ham Hill not far from Yeovil to do a 2002 virtual and Earthcache.

Day 9

We had an overnight stay near Cheltenham ready to attend a CITO  in Springfields Park organised by Griff Groff this morning.

After spending a couple of hours in the park picking up litter and chatting to other cachers we headed into Cheltenham to find street art and find a few caches.

We've had a brilliant time away in Dorset.  We were so lucky with the weather, I bought a book with lots of great walks in while we were there so we'll definitely be returning to do some of those.

Thanks for reading