Monday 29 May 2017

Durlaston Head

Heading west from Swanage is Durlsaton Head, fortunately now preserved as a country park and nature reserve, it has an easy pathway giving amazing views across Christchurch Bay to the Isle of Wight in the east and northward up to Poole.

Above the closer ledge is Peveril Point on the outskirts of Swanage, home to the lifeboat station and some very lively overfalls when the tide is  is running.

The second headland is Old Harry, three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point which were separated from the main cliffs between 10 and 20,000 years ago.

The cliffs at Durlaston are part of the Jurassic Coast between Swanage and St Alban's head. We never sail very close, preferring to go offshore to avoid the tidal race, which can be very rough in spring tides. The sheer cliffs are home to colonies of sea birds who nest pretty much undisturbed.

It's a short walk to the lighthouse at St Alban's head (which is a corruption of St Adhelm's Head). Many's the time we've been very glad to see the light shining out across the dark sea at night giving us a reassuring landmark.

The rock of Durlaston head is fine quality Portland stone, used extensively in the building of Victorian London. Seen above are the Tilly Whim caves, where the stone was mined and loaded directly onto boats down the cliff face.

Alongside the lighthouse are former coastguard cottages. which are now available as holiday lets. It's a wonderful and unique location.

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