Walking around Golden Cap on the Jurrasic coast

Morning on Charmouth beach looking east

A short ish break at Charmouth in some lovely weather allowed me to get a few more photographs than I have done in the past few months and so this is part one of the blog really and focusses on walking from Charmouth over Golden Cap mostly.  The image above is taken from Charmouth looking towards Golden Cap (the  highest point on the coast of southern England) in the early morning light.  Other than the artist painting on the beach few folk were around when we set off.

This is one of the sections of the South West Coast Path where there are a number of alternative routes.  Having walked this area before we decided to head towards Golden Cap on the direct route.  While the sun was out it was not too hot for walking and we made good time although the final climb up Golden Cap left us happy to take a break at the top!  The images above are the views from the top – sadly there was a haze around and the visibility was not as good as it might have been so we were unable to see Portland Bill for example.

Golden Cap from Seatown

The walk down from Golden Cap to Seatown is probably steeper than the climb as the distance travelled is quite a bit shorter.  There is little to see at Seatown however we stopped at the pub for a drink before heading down to the beach.  The view above is looking back at Golden Cap from the beach at Seatown.  The image shows why Golden Cap is so named as you can see the golden coloured strata near the summit quite well.  While we had not decided before we set off we were aware that it is possible to walk back to Charmouth along the beach.  I must stress this can only be done when the tide is out and it should not be attempted by those not familiar with the area as there are no easy ways to get off the beach if caught be the tide coming in.  Equally it is not easy walking on the rocks and beach, however it does have the benefit of being able to see an important area for fossils at close range and we decided to return this way.

Rockfall near Golden Cap

The Jurassic coast as a whole is a great place to explore however this area is particularly good for looking for fossils.  The above image is an example of a landslip which is very common indeed to this area and which frequently reveals fresh fossils.  These vary extensively from large dinosaur remains to far smaller items.

As can be seen above we did find fossils quite easily.  The above are both ammonites and are around 180 million years old.  It really is quite an odd feeling to have something in your hand that is that old.  The one embedded in the rock is one of many that can be seen in this part of the coast by those with a little time to spare.  We also found a number of belemnitida however that are not that photogenic!  Walking the beach slowly and looking carefully at rocks should mean that you see a few examples of some very ancient fossils.

Evening light at Charmouth

We got back to Charmouth by mid afternoon but we returned to the beach there as the sun was going down – it really was a lovely setting.  The next part of this blog in this area is here.