Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Rocking around Studland

Taking advantage of the Indian summer yesterday, we headed off from Studland on a circular walk which took in some of the more prominent features of the area.

First stop was Agglestone Rock on Godlingston Heath, which was an impressive sight.  From a distance it looks like the rock has just fallen out of the sky to land in the middle of the heath, but it is in fact a relic of tertiary sandstone, the Agglestone Grit, which has been left exposed by the denudation of the soil around it.  Or, if you prefer the more romantic version...legend has it that the Devil threw the rock from the Isle of Wight intending to hit Corfe Castle!

The rock weighs about 400 tonnes and is 17ft high.  It was previously an anvil-shaped pedestal rock, but it has since toppled over.

The heathland around Studland is the largest surviving area of unspoilt heathland in Dorset, a fragment of the 'Great Heath' that once covered much of the eastern part of the county.

Leaving the heathland behind, we made our way up onto Ballard Down which is a chalk ridge that separates the Isle of Purbeck from Dorset's eastern heathlands.  You get great views from here of Swanage on one side and the bays of Poole and Bournemouth on the other.

Our last stop before returning to Studland was the chalk stacks of Old Harry and the stump of Old Harry's Wife. 

The name Old Harry is a synonym for the Devil and the gap between the land and the stack is called St Lucas's Leap.  The original Old Harry's Wife crumbled into the waves in 1896. 

The land around the foreshore of this area is called "Old Nick's Ground", so not a good place for Halloween night!

The stacks are formed by the action of the sea eroding the soft chalk; caves are formed which widen and eventually collapse leaving an isolated stack of chalk.