Wanderings in Wessex eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 332 pages of information about Wanderings in Wessex.

The “Tout” forms the eastern extremity of Worbarrow Bay; this boldly placed and precipitous little hill forms a sort of miniature Gibraltar and is one of the outstanding features of this bewilderingly intricate shore.  On the farther or western side of the bay is the exquisite Arish Mel Gap,[1] that, taking all points into consideration, particularly that of colouring, is probably the finest scene of its kind on the English coast.  Picturesquely placed at the head of the miniature valley is Lulworth Castle, grey and stern, and making an ideal finish to the unforgettable picture.  A spring in the recesses of the dell sends a small and sparkling stream down to the gap, the sides of which in spring and early summer are a blaze of white and gold, challenging the cliffs in their display of colour.  A path climbs gradually by an old wind-torn wood up the landward side of Bindon Hill, with gorgeous rearward views across the fields of Monastery Farm to the northern escarpment of the Purbeck Hills.  The path very soon reaches the top of Bindon that seems to drop directly to Mupe Bay and its jagged surf-covered rocks.  In two miles from Arish Mel the path ends directly above the delectable Lulworth Cove, and of all ways of reaching that unique and lovely little place this is the most charming.  Care must be taken on the steep side of Bindon.  Several accidents have taken place here.  One of them is perpetuated by an inscription on a board placed upon the hillside.  The path must be followed until it drops into the road leading to the landward village.

[1] Correctly—­Arish Mel.  “Gap” and “Mel” are synonyms in Dorset.


Lulworth bids fair, or ill, to become a “resort” apart from the descents from Bournemouth or Weymouth, which are only of a few hours’ duration.  Before the Great War there was an extension of West Lulworth round the foot of Bindon Hill, but the railway at Wool is still a good five miles away and the great majority of seaside visitors seem to fight shy of any place that has not a station on the beach.

Lulworth has been described and photographed so many times that a description seems needless.  It would want an inspired pen to do any portion of this coast full justice.  Suffice it to say that the cove is almost circular, 500 yards across, and that the entrance is so narrow as to make it almost invisible from the open sea.  The contortions of the cliff face within the cove would alone render the place famous.

More often sketched than Lulworth; perhaps because it is easier to draw, is Durdle Door or Barn Door, the romantic natural arch that juts out at the end of Barndoor Cove.  The outline has all the appearance of stage scenery of the goblin cavern sort.  So lofty is the opening that a sailing boat can pass through with ease.  Behind it is the soaring Swyre Head, 670 feet high, and the third of that name in Dorset.  Between this point and Nelson Fort on the west of Lulworth Cove is Stair Hole, a gloomy roofless cavern into which the tide pours with a terrifying sound, especially when a strong sou-wester is blowing.

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Wanderings in Wessex from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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