George Burt a Swanage businessman and quarry owner established the Durlston Estate at Durlston on the crest of the hill just above Swanage Dorset and built his folly, Durlston Castle. This was built by W.M. Hardy in 1886-87 entirely of local Purbeck Limestone. The ‘castle’ intended as a restaurant for visitors to his estate. Around the estate are many engraved tablets of stone Including a Stone Globe with a 10ft diameter which weighs 40 ton engraved with a 1880s world map. The footpaths around the Castle and Globe are lined with cast iron London bollards which ended up in Swanage after being used as ballast by the ships transporting stone. Below the Castle one of the cliff quarries and cave tunnels was part of the Victorian attraction.




Paths take you along the cliffs to the cave complex “Tilly Whim Caves” I visited them in the 1970s you travelled down through the caves coming out on a ledge above the sea, but unfortunately due to rock falls they were closed to the public 1976, and are no longer open but are now a roost for a Bat colony.


cave2cave1caveview durlston

You can walk further along the coast to Anvil point which has a low lighthouse. The lighthouse is built of local stone and was completed in 1881. The light is positioned to give a waypoint for vessels passing along the English Channel.

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anvil point.jpg


Return to Dungeness.


We visited back in October to see the Lighthouses today we went for the beach. A promontory of shingle, Dungeness lies on a headland on the south part of Romney Marsh. A few fishing boats launch from the large shingle beach but evidence of a larger fleet in the form of rotting boats and disused rusting winches which once pulled them ashore remains. The coast here is surreal with once fisherman huts turn into luxury holiday homes many rebuilt in modern styles. The backdrop to this expanse of gravel is Dungeness Nuclear Power Station.


Above link to my October visit.



Standby for action.


Shoreham Fort, in West Sussex, is situated on a promontory at the mouth of the River Adur it was also known as Kingston or Shoreham Redoubt, completed in June 1857. It was last used as a gun battery in WW2 when a battery of six-inch guns was erected on the fort


We are lucky that a voluntary group has put much effort into maintaining and restoring the fort to ensure it is safe for the future.




There are good views from the form the fort of the harbour its small lighthouse and a fairly new RNLI lifeboat house.




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Today we visited Kents most southerly point an atmospheric spot where a mixture of old fishing huts many of which have become designer holiday homes. Many rusting winches remain to show that the small fleet of beach-launched fishing boats was a lot larger in the past.





There are 2 lighthouses the modern concrete lighthouse replaced the old lighthouse which became obsolete when the nuclear power station was built which dominates the area set on the shingle the area looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland.




However, Dungeness has been designated as a National Nature Reserve a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. It is said to be the home to 600 species of plants which is a third of all plants found in the UK.

There is a steam narrow gauge railway going to Dungeness which runs most days.