Dorset Journals

The Jurassic Coast

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A March 2003 trip to Dorset by Idler

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Photo, Dorset, England More Photos
Quote: England’s south coast stretching from east Devon through Dorset, the so-called "Jurassic Coast" is an area of great scenic beauty and even greater scientific interest. I’d first visited the area in 1987 and had fallen in love with it, vowing to return someday. In March of 2003, I finally did.

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

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Attraction | "The Jurassic Coast"

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
There are many lovely places along the south coast, but I found Lyme Regis made an excellent base for exploring the area. It’s a charming seaside town, popular enough to be lively but not so popular that it’s overrun. Those with even a passing interest in geology or paleontology will find this area of great interest. I enjoyed mixing science and scenery, taking leisurely fossil-hunting walks along the beach or hiking along footpaths on the dramatic chalk cliffs. While there are numerous fossil shops and exhibits in Lyme, it was far more gratifying to find my own specimens. What I enjoyed most, though, was the heady combination of literature, history, and science. Here I cou...Read More

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
Coastline from East Devon to Dorset
Dorset, England

Thatch Cottage

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Hotel

Thatch Cottage Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
I’m a sucker for architectural oddities and unique buildings. In Kent, I coveted converted oast houses; in Suffolk, the cottages with pargetted (decorative plasterwork) exteriors caught my eye; while in Norfolk I was charmed by the liberal use of knapped flint. And in Dorset? Well, I simply had to stay in a proper thatched cottage. When I saw a photo of a B&B in an octagonal thatched cottage on the outskirts of Lyme Regis, I was instantly smitten.I honestly wish I could write more enthusiastically about Thatch Cottage, as it is indeed a lovely property, but the unvarnished truth is that my stay there w...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 28, 2003

Thatch Cottage
Uplyme Road
Lyme Regis, DT7 3LP

Pilot Boat Inn

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Restaurant | "The Pilot Boat Inn"

Pilot Boat Inn Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
There is nothing so appealing as pub with a legend – that is unless it’s a pub with three legends. The Pilot Boat is such a place, so I considered myself lucky to have stumbled upon it while wandering through Lyme. What drew me in, initially, was the pub’s tidy bow-front exterior. It looks like a trim little ship – the pilot boat of its name, perhaps. This oceangoing theme is continued inside, with the interior resembling the saloon of a boat, all polished wood and low-set beams, with the inevitable nautical accoutrements. Though doing a brisk lunchtime business, the staff were friendly and attentive. Stepping up to the gleaming polished bar, I ordered a half-pint o...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2003

Pilot Boat Inn
1 Bridge Street
Lyme Regis, England
01297 443157

Lyme Regis

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Attraction

Lyme Regis Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
"A very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better." – Jane Austen, Persuasion Set on a hillside, its buildings seeming to cascade down to the shore, Lyme Regis still exhibits the charms that Jane Austen described in 1804. Lyme has the grace of England’s best seaside towns, with its handsome Georgian houses, quaint teashops, old coaching inns, and meandering cobbled streets. The steep main street is lined with shops that tempt the casual passerby. In quick succession, I enter a jeweler''s, a bookseller''s, a florist''s, and a bakery. By the time I emerge from this mercantile gauntlet...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2003

Lyme Regis

Dorset, England

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

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Attraction

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
"''You should visit Canterbury instead.'' They always said that, the natives. They sent you to traipse around the sights-–the ruins, the churches, the hot streets-–and they went to a simple lovely place and had a beer under a tree."- Paul Theroux, Kingdom by the Sea"I’m going to go back to Lulworth Cove," I was telling a friend who had expressed interest in my English trip’s itinerary."Where?" she asked, brow furrowed. Lulworth, I realized, was not in her index of Official English Places, further proof of what I had come to think of as "Theroux’s hypothesis": that the British keep the best places for themselves, while we Americans...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2003

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Dorset, England

Dinosaurland Fossil Museum

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Attraction | "Dinosaurland"

Dinosaurland Fossil Museum Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
Dinosaurland bills itself as "aimed at children from 5 to 95." The very name has a juvenile appeal: "The Lost World" meets "Dinotopia." Truth to tell, if the Philpot Museum had been open, I probably would never have gone to Dinosaurland. At the Philpot I had hoped to see the ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and pterodactyls of famous female fossil finder Mary Anning, immortalized in the tongue-twister, "She sells seashells down by the seashore." Deprived of this much-anti...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2003

Dinosaurland Fossil Museum
Coombe Street
Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3PY
(01297)443541

Layers of fossil-bearing lias Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
Where, why, when, and how? The cliffs at Lyme Regis are rich in Jurassic sea fossils, making it relatively easy for even novice collectors to find ammonites, crinoids, belemnites, and perhaps even more spectacular creatures. Because the cliffs are notoriously unstable, new rock is constantly being exposed to the sea, allowing exposed fossils to wash onto the shore where they can easily be picked up. The best time to find fossils is in the winter after a storm, as not only have new fossils just been exposed but there are fewer people on the beach to find them. The fossils are embedded in a crumbly blue-gray clay known as the Blue Lias. The easiest place to look for fo...Read More

Homage to Alfred Russel Wallace

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Story/Tip

The Malay Archipelago Photo, Dorset, England
Quote:
First encounter, December 2001:    While reading an account of the White Rajahs of Sarawak, those autocratic yet benign English adventurers who were given charge over a large chunk of Borneo from the 1840’s up through the 1930’s, I came across a reference to a certain Victorian naturalist, one Alfred Wallace:"Occasionally, distinguished visitors came to stay with him [the Rajah]. Alfred Wallace, the famous naturalist, was in Borneo for more than a year, spending many months as his guest. Wallace was then elaborating the theory of evolution which was simultaneously being elaborated by Charles Darwin. He...Read More