We’re recently back from nearly a week of camping in Dorset.
You might have read about our short break in a cottage in Pateley Bridge, but this was a slightly longer holiday (five nights) that was further away and – crucially – the baby’s first time in a tent.
I’ll write another post about how we managed camping with a three-month-old, but for now I’ll just fill you in about what we did while staying in this beautiful part of the south coast of England.
We camped at Golden Cap Holiday Park in Seatown near Chideock. Seatown is a hamlet with just the campsite, a good pub and a beach – all you need, some might say.
The campsite has a lot of static caravans (some for hire), camping pods and a good sized field for tents, caravans and motorhomes. There was no sea view from the camping field, but the pebble beach is a very short walk away along a bridleway. The site is right on the South West Coast Path, which was one of the reasons I chose it. Just three miles along the path from Seatown you can find West Bay, which is where the TV series Broadchurch was filmed.
The campsite shop sold pretty much everything you might need, including tasty ice cream and takeaway pizzas in case you get fed up of cooking at camp.
We ate at the pub – The Anchor Inn – on the first night and had really good fish and chips (£14). There are plenty of tables outside looking right onto the beach and sea. Unfortunately the weather didn’t allow us to sit outdoors and enjoy the view. Inside it’s cosy, but a bit too snug if, like us, you have a baby and a buggy.
// babywearing again :) and looking over Seatown and Golden Cap Holiday Park from the South West Coast Path //
Day 1 – Lyme Regis
I had low expectations of Lyme Regis (I think I was confusing it with the unfortunately-named Bognor Regis) but it’s actually a very attractive and pleasant town. It’s small enough to walk round in one go but has interesting buildings, walks and passageways that could keep you occupied for hours.
Lyme Regis has the historic Cobb and harbour, a lovely beach with pretty pastel beach huts and there seemed to be a lot of nice-looking places to eat. We chose to have lunch at The Good Food Store, a bakery, café and deli, where I had an excellent spinach and feta pie.
Day 2 – walk over Golden Cap to Charmouth
On our second full day the weather promised to improve and stay fine, so we decided to walk part of the South West Coast Path. It’s 630 miles of coastline in total, the longest national trail in the UK.
From Seatown we turned west to walk over Golden Cap – the highest point on the coast – and on to Charmouth. It’s a walk of around 4.5 miles, so we thought it might be possible to walk back too, but we found it a tougher walk than expected. The route is hilly – and we were carrying a 14lb baby. We arrived at our destination pretty exhausted and a little hot and bothered.
But the views getting there along the Jurassic Coast had been truly spectacular. Just when I thought what I was seeing couldn’t get better, I’d turn a corner and be blown away again.
At Charmouth beach we sat on the grass for a little while, watching body-boarders and eating salted caramel and fudge brownie ice cream. (It was Marshfield Farm ice cream, which is delicious and available around Dorset). Feeling refreshed, we took the bus back. I tried not to feel put out that we’d walked for hours over quite tough terrain, only to find that getting home by road took a mere 10 minutes. It’s about the journey not the destination, they say :)
Day 3 – rest!
We had more sunshine the next day, so we relaxed at camp allowing our bodies to rest and our legs to recover. I even read a few pages of a book – the first time I’ve done that in months!
Day 4 – Weymouth, Chesil Beach and Symondsbury
The following day the weather was poor again so we spent it driving to a few places of interest. We went to Weymouth which we found unappealing although it had a nice, sandy beach. We came back via the 18-mile long Chesil Beach, a World Heritage Site.
We also stopped off at Symondsbury, a family-owned estate village that has a few independent and antique shops and lovely café, Symondsbury Kitchen.
Though the weather could have been kinder, we had a great time exploring this lovely part of the world.
Have you been to Dorset? Where are your favourite spots?