Fancy a walk?

I’d love to say I’m good at watching wildlife. The trouble is I’m not. It takes me at least four disappointing outings before I catch even my first glimpse of a new mammal or bird.

With that in mind, I wondered whether you’d like to come with me? Obviously you can’t actually come, (cos it was on Sunday!) but you might enjoy the “virtual” exercise.

Towards Kimmeridge Bay from the Ridge

Looking towards Kimmeridge Bay from the ridge top

Sunday was supposed to be a wash-out. Storms beating the coast and winds of 80mph. The TV even warned people to “stay indoors”. I ignored them. Rebel that I am! In reality it started as a beautiful sunny day. Windy yes, but the air was crystal clear.

Our walk starts about a mile outside of Kimmeridge, a small sleepy Dorset village on the south coast of the UK that forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. It’s truly stunning and believe me I know how lucky I am to live so close.

Towards Kimmeridge Bay from the Ridge

Kimmeridge Bay from further along the ridge

With camera, tripod, water and Eccles cake (don’t ask) safely in my rucksack and binoculars round my neck we can set off from the car park.

This is the ridge we are going to walk. With amazing views inland, as well as over the sea, you feel on top of the world once you are up there. Funny! it didn’t look so long or so high on the map.

Once up on the ridge you can look east and see Chesil Beach and Portland stretching along the horizon. A quick scan with the binoculars, but nothing in the fields.

Towards Portland and Weymouth

Looking towards Chesil Beach and Portland

Part way along the ridge is a small group of stunted trees. I’m not absolutely sure what they are, but they are gnarled, beautiful and weather-smooth from years of storms and wind. They are probably very old. Maybe ancient (bit like I feel!).

Kimmeridge Old Tree

A weather worn old tree on the ridge top

More scanning with binoculars. Still nothing. Dropping down from the ridge towards the cliff top you’ve got to “stay within the yellow markers”. Why? This is why and nasty things might happen to you if you wander off the path!

Army Sign

The cliffs are quite high here and drop down to Kimmeridge Bay, with it’s platform of smooth, glistening rock. Famous for it’s rare marine life the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve even has a snorkelling trail.

Still scanning, still nothing. Walking back towards Kimmeridge village along the cliff top, the gulls circling above and the sea crashed below, I’m starting to get tired.

Plonk myself down gratefully on the sheep-shorn grass, munch an Eccles cake, and stare inland … just stare. Grass, grass and more grass with the odd brown clump of soil. Soil? in a field of grazing sheep? Pass the binoculars….

I hope you can see it. Right in the middle of the picture. It’s what I’ve been looking for. Very small. Laying flat on the ground, brown fur blowing in the wind and ears glued flat to it’s back. A brown hare. Not just any hare, my first hare.

Scratching itself with it’s long back leg and then settling back down for an afternoon snooze. Frustratingly I can’t get nearer (remember the sign above!) but even so I’m happy and stupidly smug. Now I’ve seen one I will see them again.

We can go home now….

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25 thoughts on “Fancy a walk?

  1. That was a lovely walk Jane. I don’t think I’d have seen that hare at all – very short-sighted! – you did really well. I love the way it just scratched, like any old pet dog or cat, and settled again. Thanks for all that.

  2. Great post, Jane…really vivid – you really do take your readers with you on that walk! It reminded me of my school days in Dorset – such a lovely part of the British Isles.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way,

    Take care,

    Tanya (in Kenya)

    PS. I love the way you inject humour into your writing too.

  3. Hi Tanya. Thanks so much for visiting. I love your blog, and I’m so glad this walk brought back a few memories of your time in Dorset. A long way from Kenya! Jane

  4. Well… At work presently so I can’t see the vids, but LOVED the post. (I’ll check the videos when I get home).
    Weird – I had a message from my sister in Paris yesterday that she’d like to see a Hare or two (Mad March Hares and all that) on my blog.
    I DO know where I can find them – but I’ll be too busy with four parents at a “wedding summit” when I’m up where the hares are…
    Boooo.
    So – I’ll just tell ma sister to check out Urban Extension!
    Problem solved.
    Heh heh!

  5. Doug. I feel so used! Unfortunately the film of the hare is really poor, but I was just so glad to see one I thought I’d better film it. I’d love to see them boxing… maybe if I can find two hares I stand a better chance! Jane

  6. What a coincidence that we should have been up at Kimmeridge on Sunday as well, and didn’t see you. But lucky you for spotting the hare which we missed. Your tour certainly gives a good feel for Kimmeridge and the views. Chris

  7. Hi Sis. I know… spooky! I must have been walking right behind you. Lucky Jack didn’t see the hare… otherwise there might not have been a hare for me to spot! Jane x

  8. Ok.
    I’ve seen the videos now – GREAT STUFF – especially the hare scratching its ears!
    I am going to have to talk to Anna and get us to live in Dorset (if nothing else for the Badger beer (my favourite!)) or Hampshire… or Devon.
    Thanks for those vids Jane – wonderful, as usual!
    Doug

  9. Stunning Jane, I spent a week near Chesil Beach and Portland last year and its a lovely part of the country, I’m a big fan of the south coast and will be back again this year at some point.

  10. Doug. Thanks for your comments. Glad you like the vids. Badger beer is made in Blandford just 10 mins away from me (you can smell it in the air sometimes!) Did you know you can buy it direct? http://www.badgerdirect.com/

    You should come down to Dorset for a wildlife watching day when the weather warms up. It would be great to take you and Anna to all the good places! Jane

  11. Mike. It is a great bit of the country. Bit busy in the summer but some great “wildlife watching” right on my doorstep. I should have gone to fields next to the The Fleet near Chesil to watch hares. I’m told that’s the place to go! Jane

  12. Hi Jane, I stumbled across your site while reading Shirl’s. What a great idea to have a virtual walk, I don’t know that area well, even though I know each side of it. If you wish to see hares, great spot is the high chalk area north of Dorchester and around Bulbarrow Hills. Never guarenteed of course, but often when standing on the hill looking across the fields, they can be found, especially early in the morning.

  13. Hi Border Reiver. Thanks so much for the hare watching tip. That wouldn’t be too far for me to go first thing in the morning. I will certainly go and have a look… when the rain stops! I’ve just had a look at your blog and really loved it. I will going back for another read! Jane

  14. Cheers Jane!
    I’m going to get a barrel or two shipped up to Shrewsbury for the wedding!
    We’d love to come down for a day in “darzet”…!
    We’ll have to work something out…

  15. It would be great to meet up.

    Glad you like the Badger Direct link… Tanglefoot is what we used to drink… One pint and I was sloshed. Jane

  16. Thats my favourite! Has been since I went to university (rather a long time ago now!)
    I even went as far as collecting bottle tops a year or so ago – now I proudly don a Tanglefoot T shirt sometimes!!!

  17. Kimmeridge and surrounding area is one of my favourite places for photography, especially at low tide. I see you got up to Tyneham Cap (a good climb!) by your views of Gad Cliffs and Worbarrow bay. Well worth the effort.

    RB

  18. RB. Yes, quite a climb. You obviously know the coast well. Funny cos I went there today (for a first aid course) and one of the other guys went for a walk the other way and saw 7, yes 7… hares! typical! Jane

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