Thursday, 24 March 2016

Walking Dorset's Coast: Sandbanks to Middle Beach

Over the summer we will be walking the c.100 miles of Dorset coast in training for our 4 day hike in Peru. Keep track and find inspiration in our Walking Dorset's Coast series, covering routes, handy pubs and fuss-free camping.

Mark and I have both run the 7 miles of Bournemouth and Poole's sea front countless times, so we're giving these miles a miss in favour of more challenging spots, and after braving Hengistbury Head a few weeks ago we took on the sandy shores of Studland.

Parking in Sandbanks and taking the ferry (£1 per person from Sandbanks to Studland, free on the return journey) across the mouth of Poole Harbour to Studland, we walked 3 miles to Middle Beach; the end of the sandy road. From here the South West Coastal Path continues up along the Jurassic Coast.

Studland is famous for it's nudist beach, but I think you'd have to be pretty ballsy to brave the sea on any March day, let along in the nuddy! The craziest thing we saw was a handful of ultra runners competing in the Jurassic Coast Challenge. They were in the last few miles of a marathon, having done 2 marathons in the two days before. I was glad we were spreading our challenge out this time! Being able to walk at a conversational pace, hand in hand with Mark makes such a difference from the strain of running, where we're often miles apart.

With the 3 mile walk back and a chilly wind in our minds, we re-fuelled at the National Trust Knoll Beach Cafe with hot tea and sumptuous slices of cake whilst warming our nipped fingers and dusting the sand from our boots.

On the return leg, the tide started to come and I spotted these little jelly droplets in the sea floor's ripples. If anyone has any idea what they are please share!

By the end of the walk I was ready to put my feet up (6 miles on sand will do that) but felt the sun's effects on my cheeks and am already looking forward to tackling more challenging walks over the coming months. 

Sandbanks to Middle Beach Walking Route Map

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Family Fun at Moors Valley Country Park

With the return of the British spring weather, we spent a sunny Saturday in March with our family at Moors Valley Country Park, in Dorset.

Moors Valley has been home to countless picnics, muddy boots and steam train rides over the years for us, and today we got to re-live some of our childhood memories with the next generation.

Set in the beautiful woodlands of Ringwood Forest, Moors Valley is a great day out for all ages, with a nature trail speckled with huts, animals and climbing frames to get kids moving. Sure, there will be muddy knees and perhaps a few bumped heads, but all are soon forgotten as you move from stop to stop.

I can still remember the old home video's of me on the climbing frames, a little to short and relying on a helping hand from an adult to complete the courses, but there's nothing like taking a plunge and testing your limits. Year's later I still love watching those moments, even if I can't quite remember them myself!

Our nieces, Millie 6, Abigale 3, Hollie 1 and Isabel 0.4 had a great time playing in the parks and exploring in the woods and we made a short video with out GoPro Hero4 Session of our day.

The on site cafe serves hot drinks, Dorset Tea, cake and lunches but you're also welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy by the duck pond.

Find out more about Moors Valley and plan your trip online at