One of the most pleasant, and interesting coastal walks in Purbeck is a fairly straightforward 3-mile amble that starts in the pretty village of Worth Matravers, notable amongst other things for its ‘honesty’ car park. No pay-and display meter, updated with the ability to pay by card - a process almost as tortured as filing your annual tax return. No, just a slotted old metal box set into the dry stone wall, ready to take your donation. Nice touch!
The walk takes you down a valley to the coast at Seacombe, and then up and over the top of the cliff to Winspit. Both locations were quarried extensively up until the early 20th Century, the layers of rock yielding high quality Purbeck limestone used in the construction industry. Evidence of the workings is everywhere, with the dilapidated remains of workers’ cottages and office buildings slowly being absorbed by the surrounding countryside. Here at Winspit, and further along the coastline, the cliffs have been hewn into rugged chunks and ledges in order to extract the stone which was then shipped off to London. It makes for an interesting study of patterns and textures and a little break in the clouds, on what was a windy day, certainly helped to add some extra definition.
The walk back up to Worth Matravers becomes an exercise in anticipation and patience if you have ever been to the Worth Matravers Tea and Supper Room. Tucked away in an old stone cottage you may choose to sit inside under the old beams to enjoy some wonderful home-made cakes and a cuppa – an ideal refuge from the stiff sea breeze. Or, why not venture into the quirky and charming garden. Find a seat at one of the rugged tables, hewn from local stone and set amongst the flowers and shrubs, and enjoy the delicious heritage tomato salad? It really is superb.
49cm x 34cm Millford 140lb Not