Taking advantage of the beautiful weather from last Sunday and after being away from home for the past 2 weeks, I decided that it would be a good idea to do some exercise and go hiking on the coast. I am lucky to live in a beautiful area of the UK which is the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coastline, stretching from East Devon to Dorset. Actually, one of my summer plans was to hike the entire coast in a weekend but unfortunately it didn’t materialize. But there’s always next year.
I woke up early and decided to take the 6:30 am bus towards Swanage. Even if there are only about 20 miles from Poole to Kingston, the village near where this hike starts, the bus still takes about an hour to get there. The best way to reach the coast is by taking the number 40 Breezer bus from Poole bus station (in summer it has an open top). The day ticket costs £8.50 and it’s much more economic than getting singles ones (£5.90 each) because it gives you unlimited trips all day long and you can also use it for buses to Bournemouth.
Before I left home I made sure to make myself a cup of Kineta organic matcha green tea to help me keep fit on the trail. Kineta matcha tea is sourced from a small family owned tea farm in the Kyoto region from Japan and it is 100% organic and natural. Making matcha tea the proper way requires a special bamboo whisk and tea spoon and a ceremonial bowl (mine broke on the way from Japan so I usually use a large mug to make it). The first time I watched a video on Youtube on how to make matcha tea I thought it was difficult but once I did it myself I found that it’s actually a lot of fun.
Matcha tea is a great metabolism booster, having 137 times more antioxidants than normal green tea and it releases the caffeine slowly into your body, keeping you awake and focused for longer. It is a great alternative for coffee.
I transferred my matcha tea into my travel mug so that I can drink it on the bus, packed a small pineapple cake for the road (In Japan, during the matcha tea ceremony, people have a small seasonal cake with it), prepared Mia and went towards the station to catch the bus.
It was still dark but by the time I arrived to the destination the sun has started to rise. The stop where you have to get off in order to get to the hike it’s a bit hard to spot as it it literally in the middle of a field. The best thing to do is to ask the driver to let you know when “Worth Lane” is and that’s where you have to get off. From there you have to follow to road towards Worth Matravers for about 1.5 miles until you reach the small village. If you do this hike in the afternoon or the other way around, I would recommend stopping at the Square and Compass, the local pub, and try one of their delicious homemade ciders (Kiss me Kate is my recommendation).
You can see the trail start on the lane right in front of the pub. Even if it looks like a massive field without any signs, that’s the way. A few meters down the lane, on the left, there is a gate that allows you to enter the field. Follow the trail at the bottom of the valley and soon you will reach the coast and the Winspit Quarry. Because is no longer in use, at Winspit Quarry you can actually go and spend the night in one of the caves. It is said to be warm inside and sheltered from the wind and all you need is a sleeping bag for the night. I bet it’s an amazing feeling waking up in the morning to the sound of the sea.
As it rained the night before, the path was muddy in some places and very slippery, especially when going down. It’s very important when doing a coastal hike to wear a good pair of boots as you never know what the terrain will be like. This particular hike is not difficult but there are a few steep hills where you can slip very easily if you are wearing the wrong type of shoes. Mia however was in her element and loved exploring the occasional bushes and chase the small birds.
Halfway through the hike you will find the Lancing Ledge, a flat area at the base of the cliffs, named like this because of the waves of the sea “dancing” on it. When I do this hike I always stop here to have a break for food and to just enjoy the quietness. Inside the ledge there is also a small natural pool in which you can swim, if you feel adventurous. The water is extremely cold but that doesn’t stop people from getting in it, even if just for photos. Descending to the Dancing Ledge is not difficult but it requires attention as in the past years the cliffs have started to collide. The National Trust doesn’t advise hikers to go down because of this reason.
From the Dancing Ledge to the Lighthouse from Durlston Country Park the weather changed and I could see a storm forming at the horizon. The sun was covered by clouds quite quickly, giving me some great opportunities for photos. The wind also intensified, even if above me the sky was still clear.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can see dolphins playing along the coast. If you are really lucky, in certain months, you can even spot whales. In Durlston there are special places where you can just sit and observe the sea.
Once I reached Durlston Country Park I stopped at the castle which has now been transformed into a restaurant for a well deserved break and a piece of cake. From here there are 2 more miles of easy walking through the forest and then down the hill towards the bus station in Swanage where you can catch a bus back to Poole or to Bournemouth.
The hike from Worth Matravers to Swanage is about 8 miles long, 5 of them being solely on the coast. The views are fantastic and it’s a great way of spending a day our in nature.
Disclaimer: Please note that I received Kineta Finest Organic Matcha Tea for free to review it. However, all comments and opinions in this article are my own.