Posts Tagged ‘Dorset’

Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum

June 9, 2016

I thought this museum was fantastic, even though some is outside and the day we were there was very, very rainy.

The museum is sited at the Norden station of the Swanage Railway. This has a large car park and gives scope for a grand day out. But the museum is somewhere not to miss.

The bits of tramway are just lovely. They look the part and I love this junction for hand pushed mine trucks.


That square of metal in the background is a sort of four way junction.image004In better weather we might have spent more time outside. There are good explanation boards and things to see. But it was throwing it down so we headed for the recreation of a mine head.

The ball clay that was mined had all sorts of use.


It was ideal for clay pipes but also used in products from insulators to a cleansing agent for piano key hammers.

A very child friendly model of a pit tramway. Well, it amused me!


When ready you can descend into the mine. There had been a mine here but this is pure re-creation and 100% above ground. But as you descend you’ll forget that you are well above ground level. It has the feel and atmosphere of a mine. It is dimly lit – enough to see by, but I used flash to show up mine and wife.


At the end of the mine you get to the clay face.



Having admired all there is to see you turn to the right and find yourself outside and right by the entrance to the site.

Guess what. It’s free but donations are requested with a suggestion of a pound a person. Having seen it, it is worth more – a lovely bonus for a day out on Purbeck.

Jurassic Skyline

May 17, 2016

That’s what a lift/viewing tower is called in Weymouth. Weymouth is in Dorset and much of the Dorset coast is known as The Jurassic Coast because of dinosaur finds. This visitor attraction is right on the edge of the sea on the harbour wall

We visited at the end of April and decided the weather was OK for aerial views so we took a ride. Essentially you are lifted upwards in a glass doughnut shape, sitting on a seat and looking outwards. This rises 53 metres (174 feet) up a tower and then does two full horizontal rotations so that you get an all-round view twice. We went as a group of four which made it £6.50 per person. We were the only four riders on our trip. It’s a good ride and the views are splendid so here’s a collection.


That’s the tower with the doughnut at the top.

This is the previous trip coming down to earth again


There’s a lot in the next picture. The tall ship, The Pelican is at the dockside. Beyond it is Nothe Fort and then Portland Harbour and the headland of Portland Bill.


Weymouth Harbour heads in some way up river.image008Weymouth sea front and beyond you can see the sea beyond Chesil Beach. It looks, but can’t be, much higher than the local sea.


Fairground fun on the beach.


The Victorian clock tower is near the left end of that photo but I was looking more at the lovely Dorset Hills.

A wider view of Weymouth.


It looks like a model village from up the tower.


There’s a clear view of the Osmington White Horse complete with kingly rider.


Shipping berths – but Weymouth is not, at the moment, a ferry terminal.


And we are round and can see Pelican again.


Nothe Fort and Portland Harbour walls.


The orange item is Weymouth lifeboat. My cousin’s son was a crew member at one time.


Portland Bill.


Miniature people down below.




Our shadow.


And back down to earth we came. We enjoyed it and would have liked longer.



Christchurch, Dorset

April 9, 2016

2001 may have been the year for a Space Odyssey but for me it was a year to actually spend a little time in Christchurch in Dorset. This, of course, is my personal take on a lovely place. It is definitely not a tourist guide.

I’ll start with Place Mill, a water mill which was unique in taking water from one river – the Avon and returned it to a different river – the Stour. For me it is a lovely brick building.


People, of course, can make a scene and here we have the bowlers – all men, it seems.

image004They look a contented bunch of chaps.

Christchurch Harbour is a large expanse of water, open to the sea only via the narrow exit of the Avon at Mudeford. Most of it is very quiet and a haven for water birds – and yachts and other small boats.

Mudeford is the place to go to see swans out on the open sea.

image008Yet another lovely part of the world.




Pulpit Rock

March 31, 2016

These photos, taken at Portland Bill in Dorset, date back to 1972. The bill at the end of this almost island is a fantastic place of limestone rocks. We have looked at the area before – a lovely little crane for getting small boats up the cliff (click here).

This time we go right to the end.


It’s fabulous scenery – wild and rugged although maybe my little Canon Demi camera and a rather second rate slide copier didn’t do it full justice.

Right at the end we find Pulpit Rock.

image003This was deliberately created in the 19th century by quarrymen with the leaning slab having the appearance of a bible leaning on a pulpit.

What a shame people had used it as a graffiti wall – albeit one can agree with the ‘ban the bomb’ symbols painted on.

That was over 40 years ago and I don’t think I have been there since. Maybe it is time to go again.

Old Harry Rocks

September 21, 2015

I suppose this post could be about my dad – who was called Harry – sitting in a rocking chair. But it isn’t. The Old Harry Rocks are a cliff formation near Studland on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. And for those who don’t know, the Isle of Purbeck isn’t an island. It is a peninsula.

And it is a great place for a chalk lover like me to get to. There are no roads nearer than a mile away but there’s a footpath which a disabled person was getting along on a mobility vehicle. So a good view of the rocks is accessible but a one mile walk puts many people off and makes it all the more likely that those who do go there will chat and be friendly.

Let’s start with what I regard as an ugly fast ferry passing by the end of the Harry headland as it approaches Poole Harbour.


image004And then look at a bit of chalkland flora


Old Harry Rocks belong to the National Trust. In the background you see the western end of the Isle of Wight.


The cliffs near Old Harry are quite high. The people up on top give some scale.


And there, just separated from the mainland is a new Old Harry.


In the opposite direction there are a couple of stacks.


The nearer one is providing a perch for a black backed gull and a cormorant.


In past times, the maps tell us, there was Old Harry and also Old Harry’s wife. The wife got worn away and the stack we see here is the real Old Harry.


Erosion continues as the action of moving sea and trapped air enlarge cracks and then produce arches as seen in the above photo. In time more will fall in this continually changing landscape.

Dancing Ledge

March 31, 2015

Dancing Ledge is near Swanage. We sometimes go there to enjoy a bit of wilder scenery, although in truth what we head for is a stone quarry. It is quite a steep step down from the car park which, perhaps, makes it not such an attractive destination for some. The high up car park gives a view across Swanage to Ballard Down.


The climb down is rich in all sorts of interest. On this August 2013 visit, the blooming flowers may have been ordinary, but still lovely.


As you work down there is lovely coastal scenery.


The right hand end of the high hill has clearly been terraced for agriculture in the long ago past.

The Dancing Ledge is a large flat area, next to the sea which has been left by quarrying. The quarry also left cliffs which are much loved by rock climbers.


Not for me!


I prefer the flatter areas – the Ledge itself.

What goes down to Dancing Ledge must return back up the hill. There’s plenty of opportunity to rest and enjoy the view.



And always flowers to enjoy – sometimes with insects.




Christchurch Harbour

February 4, 2015

I took a look through photos I had thought of using in our 2012 flower show and came upon this one.


It was taken at quite a regular haunt for us. As photographer I was on the headland known as Hengistbury Head. And my view was over Christchurch Harbour. I had this photo marked as a possible for the ‘water’ category in the photography section. I didn’t actually use it. The judge we had at the time was quite formulaic in deciding what made a good photo, using the rule of thirds. If there are any highlights in the photo they certainly aren’t in places which are a third of the way from the top or bottom and also from the edges.

But I like the photo. Conditions were clearly quite bright which helps to ensure a sharp image with a cheap digital camera. There isn’t really anything close up in the view so I’d expect it all to be in sharp focus.

The little land train at bottom right might be said to lead the eye into the picture and it certainly makes for a bright splash of colour.


It looks to have a good load of passengers and luggage as it wends its way from the beach huts on the Mudeford Spit to the car park.


That is the church at Christchurch with luxury waterfront apartments for the rich folks to enjoy.


The forest of masts on the yachts. I suppose they get used sometimes. Dinghies were out on the water enjoying a bit of a breeze.


And I rather like a couple of walkers out on the salt flats.


My imagination can run riot on these black cloaked characters. Are they monks or maybe witches? Most probably they are enthusiastic birders, of course.

Boxing Day – 2001

December 26, 2014

For a Boxing Day post I’m looking back to the Boxing Day of 2001. Back then our children were still single. We had no grandchildren and clearly we had no other visitors on December 26th. We went out for the day to enjoy some stunningly good weather at Hengistbury Head.


Just look at that amazing sky. What wonderful weather for the end of December.


Our children walking on the beach.


Thirteen years on – to today – and activities like this are not on the agenda. Son and daughter will be with us by lunchtime, bringing wife and husband respectively and three grandchildren – and can I be the proud grandfather and say they really are grand children.

I feel so lucky to have my descendants around me.

Stunning Scenery

July 6, 2014

I once was a teacher and now I’m retired.

You know! I don’t miss it at all.

Well it could be the opening couplet of a song but actually, I’m going to show a photo or two from a school trip I went on in 2003 – down to the Dorset Coast. It reminds me of happy times in working life.


That must be looking over Man o’ War Cove towards Durdle Door. As a lover of chalk scenery, I was in heaven here.

And here is that cove with Portland Bill in the distance.


Now that is stunning scenery and no mistake.

I’m not sure where the youngsters were, though.

Perhaps they were learning about the Lulworth Crumple??


Seriously, they were with us.


Now actually, I have happy memories of days like that and the youngsters in the picture I remember with affection.

But by and large I really don’t miss having to be in particular places at particular times. I love the freedom retirement brings.

Architectural Curios

March 28, 2014

I like architectural curios. I think I mean by that I like features or whole buildings, with or without a real purpose, where efforts have been made to make things interesting for the observer.

I recently came across the corbel table at Studland Church, down on the Dorset Coast near Swanage. Actually, we had gone to Swanage, but when there we realised there was a good bus service to Studland (and beyond) and as we are of the bus pass generation we decided we’d go to Studland, take a walk there and then come back. Studland is a place where you pay quite a bit to park. This way we could leave the car in Swanage where, in winter months you can park cheaply.

And that may have left you wondering what a corbel table is for long enough. It isn’t a table to sit at and eat off. It is, actually, the support for a roof. Some churches have gone in for carvings of all sorts to help support the roof and Studland is one of them,


That gives the idea. Plain lumps of stone could have been used, but why not make them decorative.


There are faces – human and others.


Some portray activities you might not expect on a church.


That’s as far as I’ll go, but other carvings are (or were when new) grossly vulgar.

Of course, these carvings had a purpose – warning of sins and dangers.

Some might say the church is a little austere.


You have to look for the details to realise it has architectural curios and is a work of art.