PLACES TO VISIT
Norburton Hall is well placed for both the coast and the countryside. So when you get the urge to explore, you can leave the car behind. The village of Burton Bradstock, right on the doorstep has many historical landmarks including old mills and an old ‘Smithy as well as charming traditional, thatched cottages and St Mary’s Church with Arts and Crafts windows by E S Prior and if you know where to look a pair of false teeth incorporated into the fabric of the building.
Burton Bradstock has two pubs, The Anchor Inn and the Three Horseshoes both offering local food and drink.
Just beyond the village, is Burton Beach with the popular Hive Beach Café just a 20 minute walk from Norburton Hall and are located on the Jurassic Coast. In this part of rural Dorset we are surrounded by countryside with many interesting walks and cycle routes in all directions.
Nestling in the idyllic Bride Valley, where the River Bride wends its way to the sea, Burton Bradstock sits on the Dorset coast at the western end of the great Chesil Bank.
The river flows through old mill races which tell of Burton Bradstock’s long association with rope making and cottage industry, before going under the bridge on the village street on its way to Chesil Beach and the sea. But to find the ancient centre of this picture postcard village, head for the other side of the main street, behind the Three Horseshoes Inn and the thatched cottages which once belonged to fishermen. There, you’ll find a labyrinth of narrow streets with 17th and 18th century picture postcard cottages built in the local stone, together with some brick fronted Georgian houses. The Church of St Mary is earlier still, dating in part from the late 14th century with later notable additions such as Arts and Crafts style windows by E S Prior.
Today Burton Bradstock is well served with a Post Office, Library, garage with a village shop and a children’s playground. The nearby West Bay Golf Course on the outskirts of Burton Bradstock welcomes guests and outside the peak summer holiday period Freshwater Holiday Park opens its sauna, steam room, swimming pool and ten pin bowling lanes to all guests.
For those who enjoy walking, it’s easy to follow the Jurassic Coast by joining the South West Coast Path where it drops to the beach at Burton Bradstock. To the north-west, the Coast Path climbs again alongside the golf course, before a sudden decline to West Bay. Beyond is Seatown, rising steeply to the famous landmark of Golden Cap (the highest point on the south coast) before reaching Stonebarrow and Charmouth. To the south-east, it follows the coast down towards Abbotsbury and its world famous Swannery and Sub-tropical Gardens and then on to Portland. (For places to visit click here).
Away from the coastline, public footpaths and bridleways crisscross the countryside that surrounds Burton Bradstock. Guests can borrow copies of the local Ordnance Survey map from Norburton Hall.
Burton Bradstock has an interesting history. There are many photos and interviews describing a bygone era on www.burtonbradstock.org.uk
Plan a journey of a lifetime – or even two million lifetimes. The Jurassic Coast is the best place in the world to see how life on earth has evolved since the Triassic Period (250 million years ago).
England’s first natural World Heritage site stretching for 95 miles, covers 185 million years of the earth’s history with its rich geology - not only Jurassic but also older Triassic and younger Cretaceous rocks (65 million).
Track the changes in the landscape from the red cliffs of East Devon which tell the story of vast deserts that once covered the area through to the dark clay cliffs in West Dorset when tropical seas flooded those deserts during the Jurassic Period then onto to the fossilised forests and lagoons of the Cretaceous Period flooded by a tropical sea 65 million years ago.
There are many remnants of early life to be discovered with fossils of newly discovered species appearing as a result of coastal erosion. To find the best fossils visit during the winter months when ammonites, belemnites and even bones from reptiles like ichthyosaurs are frequently uncovered during rough weather particularly on the beaches of Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
Many amateur fossil hunters have made significant finds which are now in important collections such as those held by the Natural History Museum. Imagine finding the 155 million years old jaws of a pliosaur, a marine reptile, with the ‘world’s biggest bite’. A local man did just that and his find from Weymouth Bay can now be seen in Dorchester at the Dorset County Museum after being unveiled to the public in 2011 by David Attenborough.
For more interactive information visit www.jurassiccoast.com for the Jurassic Coast website with details of the many ways you can enjoy the coast including fossilling, wonderful boat journeys from nearby harbours such as West Bay and Lyme Regis or gain spectacular views of the coastline from the top deck of the Jurassic Coast bus (X53) which conveniently stops in Burton Bradstock and can take you to the best locations for walks spanning millions of years.