We try and visit the Jurassic coast in Dorset at least once a year and this year we stayed over in the height of summer in August. Last year we found a quaint traditional small bed & breakfast on the coast road from Weymouth to West Bay (you have to drive this road it hugs the sea) and we liked it that much we decided to stay again. There are only three guest rooms in this house so it is nice and intimate and the retired owners are so friendly, bringing breakfast out into the conservatory while we watch the birds feed and build nests in their garden. The owners also keep alpacas on their land which are lovely to see roaming the grounds and have a delightful viewing room offering 360 degrees of Dorset countryside and when we arrive we are always served home made cake and coffee...bliss.
A visit to the Lobster Pot at Portland Bill Lighthouse is always on the agenda for one of the best cream teas you will ever experience and with a view to match over the sea. We timed the visit well this year because the two day Weymouth Carnival was taking place and we had the Red Arrows display team performing in the bay. The Heights Hotel also offer food and drink on their garden terrace which overlooks Chesil Beach and Weymouth.
Chesil Beach is 18 miles long and stretches north-west from Portland to West Bay, for much of its length it is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called the Fleet Lagoon. There are nearly always one of these fishing boats moored up on the beach that make for great seascape photography especially if you manage to have a nice sunset which sets over the sea.
As you leave Chesil Beach and head west along the coast road you pass through Abbotsbury, this is the landscape of Thomas Hardy and several films of his books have included Abbotsbury, the most recent being the production of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ starring Carey Mulligan. Kt also home to the Swannery, the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.
We know Dorset very well but this time we came across another jewel in the county that we had never previously encountered - Sherborne. Without doubt one of the most beautiful towns in England let alone Dorset, with its abundance of medieval buildings, fabulous Abbey, that has developed from the Saxon times and a host of independent shops in the high street. We had intended to visit Shaftesbury to photograph the iconic 'Gold Hill' but on the day we drove up there, it was the day of the annual agricultural show which meant a detour due to the large volumes of traffic to Sherborne instead.
West Bay, on the mouth of the River Brit is now more closely associated with the location of the television series 'Broadchurch'. Located a mile and a half away from Bridport and part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coast everything here revolves around the pretty harbour with the pleasure crafts and fishing boats next to the breathtaking cliffs and pebbled beach. Again it's one of those locations that offers so much for a photographer, I have been the only person on the beach here at sunrise and it's quite magical.