Sun, sea and shingle

This is my favourite swimming beach in England.

Worbarrow is at the end of a stony track leading down from the village of Tyneham, deserted in 1943 so that the army could have a firing range.

There are much sandier beaches in Dorset at Studland (and ice cream kiosks and parking just a beach ball throw away). Ludlow Bay is much more accessible. Kimmeridge is even weirder for odd rocks. But it is the flinty pebbles and the walk that makes this place so wonderfully empty even on a mid-summer weekend. Stumble another 20 minutes down the shingle and you will have it all to yourself.

The water is clear with a hint of chalk. At one end is the army firing range while crumbling under-cliff rises above you to meet the sweeping skies.

Geological time here in Purbeck is ancient but it seems to pass more quickly than in other places. We hadn’t been for about five years and the beach-scape had been altered by this winter’s storms.  I am sure there were more big boulders lying around before. This is a place made special by the forces of human and natural conflict.

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