It was a sunny day, so we prepared a picnic and drove along the south coast to Lyme Regis which is located on the West Dorset / East Devon border. Being a popular seaside town finding a parking place wasn’t easy. Just outside town there were signposts for Park and Ride but ignoring these, we pressed on and eventually found a parking space at the third car park we tried!
Still, we were only a few minutes from the centre of town, at the top of a very steep hill, so easy to walk down but not so great on our return. Wandering along the high street we admired the quaint old buildings, with bunting strung across the road adding to the cheerfulness of the resort. The town is an attractive maze of narrow, winding streets with lots of little shops, several of them specialising in fossils from the Jurassic Coast. The coastline here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, a distance of 96 miles. The town nestles in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is mid way along the Jurassic Coast.
From the town square we walked along Marine Parade towards the harbour. The beach here is in a natural bay and as the water is shallow, it’s perfect for young children and was certainly popular on the day we visited. All the benches were occupied so we perched on the sea wall to eat our sandwiches and enjoy the view.
Feeling nourished, we moved on towards the harbour wall which in Lyme Regis is known as The Cobb. The Cobb wall dates back to the 13th century and provides protection to the harbour. Some of you may have heard of The Cobb as it was made famous after Meryl Streep managed to battle her way to the end of it amid bad weather in the film ‘A French Lieutenant’s Woman’. The Cobb was also the location for Jane Austin’s ‘Persuasion’ where Louise Musgrove jumped off its steps, fell and suffered concussion, so we had been warned to take extra care!
We climbed some stone steps next to the RNLI Lifeboat Station to get up onto The Cobb’s outer wall. There are no barriers but it’s wide enough to be safe as long as you concentrate on where you are walking and it’s not too windy. We saw a child darting towards us on a scooter, certainly not to be recommended, he did indeed fall, but thankfully not off the wall. There were good views of working fishing boats as this is the deepest part of the harbour and from the far end of the quay we could see as far as Golden Cap and Charmouth further along the coast.
Stepping down from the harbour wall and onto Victoria Pier we noticed that one of the old buildings had been converted into an aquarium. Lobster pots and nets were strewn all around drying in the warm sunshine and children were leaning over the harbour wall with lines and plastic buckets hoping to catch a crab.
Returning along the promenade to the town square we took a right turn towards the Lyme Regis Museum which is built right into the sea wall. A wedding party were just leaving, it must be a delightful location for a marriage ceremony as the interior of the building has a splendid spiral staircase and balcony as well as being home to the town’s historical artefacts.
Continuing further my husband noticed a small signpost to The Town Mill so we decided to follow the little path along a stone walkway with a stream on either side. It was worth our detour as the mill is set in a secluded cobbled courtyard surrounded by restored mill buildings, nowadays used as artisan craft workshops, galleries and a charming cafe.
On one side of the small square we found the Lyme Regis Brewery and taking a look inside, we sampled some of the draught beers and local ciders and were also able to glance at the brewing process which was very interesting. It was then time to climb up the steep hill to return to our car after a lovely day out in Lyme Regis.
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