Monday 9 July 2012

Portland, Dorset - day 1

Grove housing, Portland

Yes, Portland is an island! Well, kind of. It is tied to the mainland by one of the most famous tombolos in the world: Chesil Beach. Portland's only usable link to the mainland is via the A354 that runs across a short bridge over Portland Harbour.

Portland quarry

Portland is full of quarries, excavating Portland stone. Many are disused now, providing a haven for wildlife among the pits and canyons.

HM Young Offenders Institute

There's also a few prisons.

East coast of Portland, Dorset

It was a two hour drive (in traffic) from the New Forest, so we came down with Liz, Justin, baby Agnes and doggy Ruth for a picnic and walk. Unfortunately, the drive was too long for the picnic morsels to survive the trip.

Grove Cliffs

Much like the Isle of Wight, landslips are a feature of Portland. On Grove Cliffs, successive layers of paths take you from the cliff top to the sea. Each layer has its own character, with the lowest paths winding through boulder spills and thickets of dense shrubbery.

We only dropped down to the second tier – a good, clear track just below short cliffs cracked with fissures.

Portland Harbour breakwaters

Four huge breakwaters create Portland Harbour, two of which are included in our official OS island list.

HM Young Offenders Institute wall

We circled back, and after a tough climb through the undergrowth we emerged by the Young Offenders Institute once more.

Portland Bill

Not done yet, we drove down to Portland Bill and coughed up some coins for the parking. Still, I have to say the attractions are far better than those found at Land's End. The lighthouse itself can be visited but we were just too late.

Pulpit Rock, Dorset

Nearby is Pulpit Rock. A slab of rock, with gouged out foot holes, tipped against a bulky column of stone. It was a bit too high for any of us to give it a go.

The Lobster Pot

And of course there's a cafe, in this case The Lobster Pot, serving food and drink from a hatch as well as a restaurant.

We rounded off the day, with some close-up shots of the surrounding rusting industry.

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