Durdle Door via Scratchy Bottom.

Start. Lulworth Cove.

Route. Lulworth Cove - Hambury Farm - Durdle Door Holiday Park - Newlands Farm - Scratchy Bottom - South West Coast Path - Durdle Door - Lulworth Cove.

Notes. This was a walk along a classic stretch of the Jurassic Coast, the path between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door gets trod by over 200,000 pairs of boots a year, that's an awful lot of footfall. When you stride out over the well worn surface it's easy to understand it's popularity, the geological phenomenon of Durdle Door and picturesque Lulworth Cove are just curtain raisers to breath-taking coastal scenery, precipitous chalk cliffs backed by wonderful silvery seascapes. Our guide book claimed if you stand on the cliffs at Stair Hole you're bound to hear a geology lecture, so we did, and sure enough we did, most interesting.

Our day started with our backs to the sea, our route was the quiet, avoiding the crowds ascending the south west coastal path. We wandered up the tarmac lane we'd just drove in on, after around two hundred yards a finger-post on our left invited us to Durdle Door, we obliged crossing a field before a steep ascent through bracken, gorse and various berry bushes, we emerged on a lovely grassy track traversing the northern slopes of Hambury Tout, an easy ascent to Dundle Door Holiday Park followed. We entered the holiday park, with tarmac under foot we wandered passed the reception and site shop before ascending to Newlands Farm, we turned left to wander between the farm buildings, then left again along a stoney lane. On reaching the first field arrows on the gate post indicated our route down the field, we left the lane to descend into the beautiful smooth sided valley of Scratchy Bottom, this delightful valley funnelled us to the coastal path where we stopped for a brew, it was quiet here just out of sight over the next hill stood Durdle Door and the unavoidable crowds.

Our brew over we ascended the chalk path to be greeted with our first unforgettable view of Durdle Door, you just have to descend to the beach to soak up the atmosphere, we did and also enjoyed the views east over Man o' War Cove, our appetites quenched we ascended to the coastal path, another two pairs of boots to add to this years total. The walk back to Lulworth Cove although very busy was a sheer delight with stunning views over the cove and west along the cliff tops. And finally if you don't like the crowds take a deep breath and just stare out to sea, imagine your the only person striding over these stunning chalk cliff tops.

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Lulworth Cove at the start of today's ramble, almost perfectly round, formed when the sea punched a hole in the soft limestone cliff scouring out the soft sand and shale from behind.

Lulworth seen from near Hambury Farm.

Looking east from near Durdle Door Holiday Park, on the far horizon hills walked yesterday, Rings Hill and Whiteway Hill.

Descending to Scratchy Bottom with views over Durdle Door Holiday Park.

The wonderful smooth sided cliff top valley of Scratchy Bottom, it's name is thought to refer to rough hollow.

Recognise it, you may, the opening scene of the 1976 film Far from the Madding Crowd was shot here, the scene where Gabriel Oak's sheep are driven over the cliff by his sheepdog. talking of the madding crowd, over the hill to the left is Durdle Door.

Sue soaks up the views from the cliff edge, as in so many walks this week Portland dominates the horizon.

The impressive cliffs of Swyre Head plunge to the beach below, marking the edge of the next cove Bat's Head.

A friend of mine said when he first looked down on Durdle Door it brought a tear to his eyes, well I wouldn't go that far but it's certainly impressive.

Viewing Bat's Head with Bat's Hole visible to the left of Butter Rock.

A Wonderful view to Durdle Door with sunlight dancing across the waters of the English Channel.

Man o' War Cove named for the shape of it's offshore rocks.

Another view of Durdle Door this time from the shingle beach, formed in much the same way as Lulworth Cove as was Man o' War Cove.

Stunning views along Dorset's equally stunning coast, Swyre Head and the slightly lower Bat's Head.

On a blue/grey horizon to the left above The Bull (rock) is Portland, to the right the hills above Weymouth.

Sue hunts for the remnants of prehistoric life in the chalk cliff behind Durdle Door.

One of the most photographed landmarks on the Jurassic Coast.

Above St Oswald's Bay with stunning views as far as the massive ark of Weymouth Bay.

On the South West Coast Path, (the busiest stretch by far) viewing picturesque Lulworth Cove.

Lulworth seen from near the car park, there's more to see yet.

Lulworth Cove as seen from near Stair Hole.

Stair Hole a cove in the making, the sea has punched through the softer limestone forming arches, this allows the soft sands and shale's to be eroded on the landward side, in a few hundred thousand years forming a cove to match Lulworth.

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