Durlston Country Park, Swanage

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This is a country park, quite different from the other English parks listed in this blog. It was part of the grounds around a ‘castle’ built here by George Burt in 1887. 

Durlston Country Park sits on the edge of the Isle of Purbeck and forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Inscriptions on the blocks of stone as you enter this park lead you back through time.

Inside the building is a small museum/display area showing the kind of fauna and floral which existed here in ancient times. It also has a wonderful cafe with the best chips ever!


We had come here, in part, for the view. But as you can see the hot weather system, currently baking everyone down on Swanage beach, produced a blanket of mist and the Isle of Wight failed to reveal itself. At times it looked like the ghostly yachts were drifting in the sky.

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George Burt must have been an educationalist, because he installed a 40-ton limestone globe with a map of the world of the 1800s. It was interesting to see how country names have changed since then.

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There are disused mines here (e.g., the Tilly Whim caves), but you cannot go in them. The stone blocks would have been hauled to the edge of the cliffs and onto the ledge (seen in the photo below right). Then a crane, known as a Whim, was used to lower the stone blocks on a boat below. This must have been incredibly hard work.

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Further along to path was the Anvil Point lighthouse, but  we opted not to walk that far.

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As we turned around to walk back to the castle, the mist lifted for a moment and we could look back towards Swanage Bay in the distance.

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The hedgerows along the path were full of flowers. There was a time when I knew the names of wild flowers, but it is all forgotten now. I do recall my Grandmother having framed pictures made of dried flowers, and the dead flower heads in the photo below right would have featured in these floral pictures.

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Nostalgia is overcoming me now, with memories of gathering blackberries from hedgerows and cooking them with apples for my Mum to make a delicious fruit pie to be eaten with hot custard.

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