Thursday, May 18th, 2023 – Burton Bradstock to Chickerell
Approximately 15 miles – Moderate
When planning today’s walk I found I had two reasonable destinations where I could easily get transport after the walk. The first was a short walk (around 8 miles) to Abbotsbury; the second to continue on to Chickerell (a total of about 15 miles). The overall route being quite flat, I fancied that I could make it to Chickerell today. Also, doing so would leave tomorrow free for a nice rest. I plotted it as two separate routes and set out to see how I felt at the ‘halfway’ point.
The walk from Burton Bradstock started with a small climb before descending to Hive Beach. From here, the walk was along a shingle beach which made the walking very difficult. So I was pleased to see that the route turned inland slightly at Burton Mere. However, I soon regretted the split from the beach. After almost a mile, the ground became very swampy and it didn’t improve – quite the reverse! Now I’ve not a problem with a few wet patches – even ankle deep maybe. But as I tried to progress on I could see that the whole region was flooded – right through all the fields too. I used my walking poles to determine that much of the swamp was almost knee deep and with unsteady ground, I wasn’t able to continue. So – back to the beginning of Burton Mere to take on the shingle beach instead.
The next stretch was an arduous trek on a very long shingle beach. It continues for about 4 miles with only one realistic break-out point. The walking on shingle is very hard and the terrain very dull and uninteresting. Even though the weather was fine and the route was flat, I have to consider that this was the least enjoyable stretch of the whole path. I’m often going on about the highlights and my ‘favourites’ and there are many that I would love to do again. But if I ever venture to walk the SWCP in entirety again, I would probably choose the old route which picks up the South Dorset Ridgeway at West Bexington and bypasses Weymouth, Portland and re-joins the path at Osmington.
Regardless of the comments above, I soldiered on reaching Abbots bury by early afternoon. The morning’s walk had been two miles longer than planned because of the need to back-track and with it being hard walking I could easily have stopped there. I was quite tempted to stop and wander around Abbotsbury instead but the desire to progress got the better of my and I pressed on. Perhaps the appeal of a ‘day off’ tomorrow helped.
The route goes inland at Abbotsbury and then stays in for quite a while. It continued over rolling hills to enjoy views of Chesil Beach and Fleet Lagoon. It was such a remarkably different walk to that of this morning. We eventually got back to sea level near Langton Herring. From there we walk along the edge of Fleet Lagoon until I got to Chickerell in the very late afternoon.
As you probably know, this year I’m walking for charity and raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and Cancer Research. These have both touched my family severely over the years so I’d be so grateful if you’d be willing to support my fundraising efforts.
To donate to Alzheimer’s Society, please visit my Alzheimer’s Giving Page
To donate to Cancer Research please visit my Cancer Research Giving Page
You can find the highlights and more information on this route on The South West Coast Path website
Here are the photo’s from today’s walk.