At the end of our walk, we found a shaded tunnel of trees that passes through the clifftop wood at Durlston, and followed the path to the Country Park`s new centre at Durlston Castle.
The castle was once a Victorian folly built by a local stonemason and landowner but has now been converted into a wonderful centre for visitors. An educational area gives colourful and accessible information about the geology and natural history of this part of the Dorset Jurassic Coast. There is a restaurant with views across the bay. There is a shop and an art gallery displaying the work of local artists and sculptors.
From the Castle terrace, the sea views were stunning. Across the calm sea we could see Peveril Point in the foreground with the chalk cliffs of Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks in the middle distance. Far across Poole Bay to the east were the clifftops of Bournemouth and the coast stretching along to Hengistbury Head.
Here are distant and closer views across the Channel, to Tennyson Down and the chalk Needles on the the western tip of the Isle of Wight.
A wildflower garden by the terrace hummed with insects. White discs of yarrow mixed with daisies, grass and purple vetch against the bright summer blue of sky and sea.
Living in the beautiful New Forest, I am a married late-fifties woman, a recently retired teacher and the mother of grown up boys who have flown the nest. I share my days with cats, dogs, ponies and the wildlife all around us. Starting this blog is a chance to explore woods, fields, lanes and heath with my camera. A chance to share the simple pleasures of my country life.