Which Shoes to Choose?

Exploring England #6

The best way to enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Jurassic Coast is by walking, and there are hundreds of kilometres of paths and trails you can take.

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Some climb over high limestone cliffs,

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while others lead to small isolated beaches.

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One thing is certain – whichever path you decide to take, you need to think carefully about your choice of footwear.

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At Lulworth, there are several walking tracks suitable for those looking for spectacular photographic opportunities. The path to Durdle Door starts off easily, although the wind blowing off the English Channel is icy.

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Despite the chilly breeze and warnings of crumbling cliff edges, many walkers find places along the way to enjoy expansive views of the rugged coastline.

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To reach Durdle Door, a set of steps winds down from the cliff top to the beach below. The steep steps are hard going at the best of times, but after heavy rain they’re muddy, slippery and difficult to negotiate.

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By the time you’ve reached the bottom, you could be a few centimetres taller, with a new platform sole of mud on your shoes. If you’ve chosen real platform shoes, it’s a good time to discard them before setting out across the shingle beach.

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It’s worth the effort though. The hard Portland stone of Durdle Door contrasts with the softer chalk cliffs stretching away in the distance.

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The pebbly beach drops away steeply into the ocean, making it the perfect platform for special photos.

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Eventually, it’s time to retrace your steps and return the way you came – you just have to walk back up!

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Join Jo for more Monday Walks

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51 thoughts on “Which Shoes to Choose?

  1. This post as bought back a lot of memories. Many years ago I spent a week in my motorhome in the area. I placed a crystal in a crack on the arch of DD. I am pleased to see that the arch is still there. I also remember one night seeing a very bright glow worm in the grass near the path on top of the chalk cliff. πŸ™‚ ❀

    • I wonder if your crystal is still there, Ralph. I think it will be a long time before that arch collapses. It’s made of Portland stone so it’s much harder than the chalk. In 1999, we stayed in Beer, which is further along the coast, with our daughters and we went on a glow worm walk one night. It was magical.

  2. Wow! I would LOVE to walk on these many trails along the Jurassic Coast! Wonderful photos. Isn’t it funny how some people wear totally inappropriate footwear? I understand the bride wanting to wear her fancy shoes for the photos, but doesn’t it seem more logical to carry the heels in a bag and wear sneakers out to the beach? I used to see this in China all the time. Girls wearing impossibly high heels in rugged terrain just to get a picture! πŸ™‚

    • We would love to return and do more of these walks, Cathy. I would have worn sneakers for the walk down too, but she made it all the way to the bottom in those shoes. She must have put them back on to go up again too. They might not have realised how muddy it was on the steps. There was very heavy rain the previous day. If the steps had been dry it would have been completely different and much easier to go down. The area is part of a private estate and, considering the cost of car parking, I thought it was all quite poorly maintained.

      • I’m sure you would love to go back, Carol. I think if I lived near trails like these, I’d be very happy indeed. Too bad the steps were poorly maintained on this private estate. I guess it’s pretty expensive to maintain these private estates nowadays. Downton Abbey comes to mind. πŸ™‚

        • Yes, they must cost a fortune to maintain, but this area of England is one of the most visited in the country and the cost of parking was the highest of anywhere we went in five weeks. They would be collecting thousands of dollars every week over the summer so a bit of expenditure on fixing the steps wouldn’t go astray. I may not have felt so strongly about it, Cathy, if there hadn’t been signs everywhere dictating the costs and length of stay for parking in very abrupt and unwelcoming language.

          • I don’t blame you! I would have felt exactly the same. It’s so ridiculous for a place like that to have “abrupt and unwelcoming language.” It’s so off-putting, and uncalled-for. And you’re right; if they’re collecting so much money, the least they could do is to keep the stairs in good repair.

  3. We spent several holidays in Dorset when I was a child and Lulworth and Durdle Door were favourites, but I don’t recall any steps! Looking at them from your photos I think I’d struggle going down as there are no handrails, but might just manage back up. I guess if I revisit I shall have to remain at the top now. A really lovely and witty post – I hope that bride got out of there in one piece!

    • No handrails on the last part and with the mud and puddles they really weren’t safe. Many people just went down the hill instead of using the steps. We went back up that way. We didn’t see the bridal party go up. They were still taking photos when we left. I can’t imagine what state the hem of her dress would have been in by the end but I guess they got gorgeous photos. You really don’t need to go right down, you can see everything quite well from the top.

  4. What an amazing sight that must have been – knocking into a bride disguised as a swan on a steep and pebbly beach……. I so remember those crumbling limestone and chalk cliffs. It surprises me there is anything left of the UK really as it has been slowly falling off into the sea for decades πŸ™‚ And I think your photo of those discarded shoes would make a great prompt for the flash fiction guys!!

  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : A crisp day at Stockton Riverside | restlessjo

      • Absolutely. She was probably floating on cloud nine anyway. ❀️
        Carol, I’m in the process of writing a post on places I’d like to visit and Hawaii is on my list. Would you mind if I link to your posts and, with your permission, maybe use one of your photos (noting credit to you of course).

        • Yes, I don’t think she noticed the mud or the cold wind.
          Of course you may link to my posts and use a photo. I’d be honoured! It’s nearly a year since we were there and I was just day dreaming about our wonderful trip the other day. Marsha is coming to visit us after Christmas and we are spending a few days in Melbourne over New Year. So excited!

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