Wednesday, 21 July 2010


It's 5.30am on Thursday morning. The wind is blowing, and the rain is lashing the window. But still, there is a spring in my step (just), and a song in my heart, and so let me tell you about our day out to Kimmeridge last Sunday.
It was lovely and sunny, and the drive around the harbour took us through Wareham and Stoborough, before we headed of towards the army ranges of Lulworth and Kimmeridge.
It's an area where on certain specified days and times, tanks from the local armoured division carry out live firing practice, and subsequently the roads are at these times closed for obvious reasons, but not today! Just off to one side is Creech Grange, a large manor house built in 1540, that still retains a large group of glasshouses and beautifully open grounds.

Ten minutes later, and having paid the man in his hut at the top of the hill the princely sum of £4 for the use of the road and car park, we are parked up on the clifftop overlooking Kimmeridge Bay. The tide was in at this point, but when it's out, large flat beds of rock extend out towards the sea for several hundred feet, and its here that fossil hunters come in their droves for the dinosaur footprints, ammonites, and other collectibles. It's not possible to walk along the shoeline and not see a fossil or fifty! As it was, we stayed where we were today, and simply soaked up the good vibes, breeze and sunshine.

To the left is Clavell Tower, a folly built around 1830 by the Reverend John Richards, and once frequented by Thomas Hardy and his first love Eliza Nicholl, obviously a place where they could get plenty of privacy! Due to the danger of it collapsing during a cliff fall, which is common on the Dorset coast, the whole tower was painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt a few yards back in 2006.

Clavell Tower

Obviously, what with all of the camera use and looking from left to right, we were both now exhausted and in need of refreshment, and so a very short journey back into Kimmeridge village, and the aptly named Clavell Cafe & Farm Shop
Here we had the obligatory pot of Earll Grey and a latte.

This is me, as I ponder the tough decision of whether or not to go into the shop and buy some fruit wine and chutney......hmmmmmmmmm.................
Then a short walk, as the village is tiny, and a peek at some of the gardens, this one in particular caught our eye. Finally, a very leisurely drive back home, broken only by a stop in Wareham for a cold drink and a look at their summer fete.

Of course, having seen some gardens, we felt duty bound to do a bit in our own. Here I am about to start the laborious task of dead heading everything, whilst below can be seen A making a start on some pruning as it's getting to be a bit of a jungle in there!

All in all a pretty nice day.


  1. Dear Gary, How this posting has brought back memories of my childhood in the 1950s when, each summer, my parents took an old coastguard cottage at Swanage and we made not infrequent trips to Kimmeridge. I certainly recall the large flat areas of slate exposed when the tide was out.

    You do indeed seem to have had a near perfect day - plenty of coffee stops [always a good thing]- but I do think it very noble of you to have set to work in the garden on your return home. Still, I always find a little light deadheading therapeutic.

    And did you, I wonder, buy the fruit wine and chutney?

  2. Hi Edith,
    It was indeed a fabulous day, and yes, I did buy both, a bottle of cherry wine and some apricot and ginger chutney. I am having some crackers, cheese and the chutney right now for lunch......very yummy!

  3. Sounds like a perfect day! And the added bonus of the chutney a few days later makes it even more so!

  4. Gary, As with all your post I found this one both entertaining and informative. The Clavell Tower folly really sparked my interest. I have been a student of English Folly Design for many years and hope to build my own one day. Of course not to the scale and grandness as those in the UK. - G

  5. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the comment. We were so relaxed that we nearly stayed for good!

    Hi Gary,
    I would love to have a garden big enough for a folly, they can be so romantic. I look forward to seeing your one when youve built it.