Dorset and Devon

Dorset and Devon

April 17, 2023photo story6 min read

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to spend a few days travelling around the southwest of England. I’d been awaiting this trip for quite some time, as it was the first getaway for this season.

Trying to use the 4 days of the long weekend around Easter break, I put up a rough plan with a few places to visit. I also tried to keep our itinerary flexible as I didn’t really know how much we will be able to see. I left a lot of space to adapt and adjust.

We made our way out of the city late in the morning. The weather couldn’t have been better, with blue skies and the warmth of the sun on our faces. The full-blown spring wasn’t there yet, but its early signs were promising.

Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset, UK
Durdle Door, Dorset, UK

Our first destination was a place in Dorset. Google Maps shows it’s about 3h Drive from London, but I think it took us around 4 hours due to increased road traffic.

As we arrived at the parking near Durdle Door, it was obvious that its quite busy out there - I’d be naive to think we were the only one taking advantage of the bank holiday and great weather.

We left the car at the designated parking and went for a stroll along the coast towards Lulworth Cove and back.

A signpost on a coast path around Durdle Door, Dorset, UK
A signpost on a coast path around Durdle Door, Dorset, UK

The Man of War Cove is a must-see stop for anyone visiting Dorset Jurassic Coast.

Man o' War Cove, Dorset, UK
Man o' War Cove, Dorset, UK

The beach, nestled between towering cliffs, looks amazing from above, creating a sense of seclusion and wonder.

Man o' War Cove beach, Dorset, UK
Man o' War Cove beach, Dorset, UK

The iconic Durdle Door and its beach also offered some great views, although the beach was at least 10x more crowded with visitors. Hard to deny, it’s probably one of the most beautiful places around.

Durdle Door, Dorset, UK
Durdle Door, Dorset, UK

We spent quite some time walking along the shore, listening to the sound of the waves and catching the warm rays of the afternoon sun.

Weymouth

For the night, we made our way to the charming seaside town of Weymouth. I couldn’t have been happier with the choice of accommodation. It was a simple hotel, but the beachfront window offered great views.

Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Weymouth, Dorset, UK

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the sea took on a mesmerizing array of colours, providing the perfect backdrop for a tranquil evening.

Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Weymouth, Dorset, UK

In the morning, I was even more surprised, by the bright light of the sun streaming through our window. The calm sea and the squeaks of seagulls created this special atmosphere for a great start to the day.

Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Weymouth, Dorset, UK

Isle of Portland

Our second day began with a visit to the Isle of Portland which is a tied island - an island that is connected to the mainland by a thin narrow piece of land (also known as Tombolo). You’ll see it in one of the next photos.

We took a leisure walk around Portland Bill Lighthouse. Standing tall and proud with its red and white painting walls the lighthouse is a remarkable focal point in this area.

Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Weymouth, Dorset, UK

I also enjoyed the short stop at the Olympic Rings Stone Sculpture, a location that offers a spectacular viewing point. From there, you can admire the breathtaking views of the town and the beach lying at the feet of the hill.

Isle of Portland, Dorset, UK
Isle of Portland, Dorset, UK

Half an hour later, we stopped at Chesil Beach, a stunning pebble beach that stretches for miles. We took some time to sit, enjoy the sun, listening to the soothing sound of the waves.

Chesil Beach, Weymouth and Portland Borough, Dorset, UK
Chesil Beach, Weymouth and Portland Borough, Dorset, UK

I was amazed by the smooth shape of the pebbles. They must have been created from thousands of years of constant motion and friction caused by the waves!

Pebbles at Chesil Beach, Weymouth and Portland Borough, Dorset, UK
Pebbles at Chesil Beach, Weymouth and Portland Borough, Dorset, UK

Even though the signs prohibited “unauthorised removal of the pebbles from the beach”, I took a few with me to remember this place. Surely nobody will miss a few tiny stones, while the beach has billions of them!

After the beach, we headed back to Weymouth for a lunch at one of the local eateries. With our stomachs full, we continued the journey west along the shore.

The Golden Cap

After about an hour’s drive, we arrived at the National Trust’s Golden Cap and went for a brisk walk around the highest point on the south coast.

Great views from Golden Cap, Dorset, UK
Great views from Golden Cap, Dorset, UK

There were some clouds and a bit of wind, but the short hike was still great offering spectacular views of the sea from the towering cliffs.

Great views from Golden Cap, Dorset, UK
Great views from Golden Cap, Dorset, UK

We also visited the ruins of St Gabriel’s Chapel, an abandoned relic of times past.

As the day came to an end we made our way to our Airbnb stay on a farm near Totnes. The place turned out to be perfect. Hidden in the countryside, between hills and fields, offered calm refuge, inviting us to rest and recharge before another day of exploration.

Devon and Dartmoor National Park

On Sunday, we treated ourselves to an extended lie-in, enjoying the comfort of our cosy bedroom. It was a very quiet and peaceful place. Only in the afternoon, we finally set out to explore the captivating Dartmoor National Park, starting with a Sunday Roast meal at the local inn.

As we travelled through the moorlands, we hunted for a spot to stop and admire their rugged beauty.

Views from Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Views from Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

I took advantage of the open space by flying a drone over the moors, capturing the stunning landscapes from above.

Views from Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Views from Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

I was also thrilled to spot horses peacefully grazing somewhere in the wild.

Wistman’s Wood

Our day’s highlight, however, was a visit to the enchanting Wistman’s Wood. From a small parking lot nearby, a 30-minute hike led us along a winding path to the edge of this magical woodland.

Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

The forest wasn’t big, if you look at the surrounding. Just a small patch of pubic hair. It was, however, a great experience. The tangled web of old, twisted trees and collapsed trunks, all seemingly frozen in time.

Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

The ground was strewn with moss-covered rocks and lichens, adding to the magical aura of the place. It is quite like you’d step into a fairy tale.

Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

It took maybe an hour to cover the path around it. The weather had turned grey and overcast by this point. Few drops of rain and the upcoming evening propelled us to return.

Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK
Wistman's Wood at Dartmoor National Park, Devon, UK

However, the moody skies only served to enhance the magic of Wistman’s Wood and its memories that imprinted on us as we made our way back to the car.

On Monday, the next day, we bid farewell to the stunning countryside and embarked on our journey back to London. We knew that our road trip coming to an end. Instead of feeling sad, however, we felt grateful for the incredible memories we’d collected along the way.

The drive back to the city was a long one, as we navigated through the inevitable traffic that comes with the end of a long weekend.

I’m grateful for memories of the places we’ve visited and the time we spent there. Dartmoor is definitely a place we promise to return to again.

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