The resort and surrounding countryside of Dorset and Devon can only be truly appreciated on walking tours in any weather, look at the maps. Begin by exploring the network of narrow back streets where there’s a different view or something new around every corner. Even if time, ability or little ones limit your scope, the traffic free, south facing Marine Parade and the Cobb are lovely for a gentle stroll with plenty of places to stop for a rest, gaze out across the bay or watch the comings and goings of fishing boats and pleasure craft.
To the west of the town is the Undercliff National Nature Reserve (see location on the maps), one of the wildest and most unspoilt areas of the coast, accessible only to walkers (It was a few miles along this stretch of coastline that the famous landslip of 1840 occurred when around twenty acres slipped down towards the sea!).
If you’ve the stamina for a hike through quite a rough terrain, you’ll be rewarded by the rare flora and fauna – there are hundreds of different wild flowers including many species of orchids and ferns. You may be lucky enough to hear a Nightingale or glimpse a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. (Keep to the paths and trails).
For the more adventurous the Heritage Coast footpaths stretch for over twenty miles to the east and west of here, ideal for walking vacations in any weather – official recognition of the area’s beauty, rarity and need for protection.
Our neighbouring town of Charmouth has a Heritage Coast Information Centre where you can see interesting displays, handle artefacts or talk to someone who knows and loves this stretch of coastline – as no doubt you will too.