A glorious southern English morning to greet our first day on the SWC Path: bright, crisp and cool. We crossed from Sandbanks, a chunk of land to the south of Poole, on a clunking chain ferry to the start/finish line, marked by its snazzy sculpture.
The Isle of Purbeck, and Studland in particular, were pretty active during WWII. There are pillboxes and concrete shelters here and there, and D-Day practice sites along the coast. Exercise Smash used live ammunition and wasn’t for the faint-hearted it sounds like. We passed by and took a look in Fort Henry, one of the largest observation posts used.
At the end of The Foreland due east from Studland are Harry’s Rocks. Bright white, chalky stumps that stick out like giant chunks of green-topped cheese. Eroded arches and precipitous drops below. Even this far east the sea water is clear, clean, and a pleasing blue-green.
We stopped for lunch at Swanage, a busy, bustling seaside resort. Then to Durlston Head to swing a hard right west above the cliffs and old mining areas, before heading inland to the little village of (the excellently-named) Worth Matravers. 15+ miles in all.