In this, the second post in the Jurassic Coast series we move slightly along the coast past the wonderful seaside town of Swanage to Durlston Country Park.
Durlston Country Park was always a place I was fascinated with as a child mainly because of Tilly Whim Caves. The caves are actually man made and were formed due to the quarrying that happened here. My Dad used to tell me stories of how he played in the caves as a youngster unfortunately I was never able to as they have been closed to the public since 1976. Although I have been tempted on more than one occasion to be stupid and just climb inside and have a look around.
Durlston Country Park has been a designated park for around 30 years and is maintained by Dorset County Council. Recently, in 2011, Durlston Castle was transformed into a fantastic visitor centre along with a Jurassic Trail outside.
Durlston was originally built up by George Burt in Victorian times he left some amazing artefacts at the site including panels along the coastal path with poems, facts and points of interest. There are also some cast iron bollards from the city of London. The main feature however is the 40 ton great globe made from Portland limestone.
To anyone this is an incredible sight but to those who are passionate about travel it’s an amazing thing to study . It’s interesting to note that at the time the globe was built most of Africa was called Soudan and you also had Persia and Arabia. A great piece of travel history in a stunning setting.
Durlston Country Park is now a key gateway to the Jurassic Coast.
The new visitor centre gives a real insight into the importance of this area. The whole area is predominately limestone and the rocks are said to detail the entire cretaceous period. You can also view live cameras from the sea cliffs and listen to an underwater hydrophone.
Wildlife is also a huge draw for visitors to Durlston Country Park. You can spot dolphins from the cliff tops, watch over 250 species of bird that nest in the sea cliffs or hunt for the many different types of butterflies, moths and wildflowers.
On the cliff top there is also Anvil Point lighthouse which adds further interest to the area along with some great rock climbing routes on the sea cliffs.
For me though I just love the coastal walk and the views out to sea and often come here on a clear day with a packed lunch and enjoy watching the world go by.