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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Post lockdown #thegreatescape to Dorset

Updated: May 3

Bolan, our campervan had been teasing us for what is seemed the best part of a year. As soon as we could escape we did. The family grabbed all the necessary essentials for travelling during Covid-19: face mask, sanitiser, lots of soap and water, portable toilet and shower and headed off for a weekend getaway. My husband and I needed a treat so I found a great pub stop that ticked all the boxes for a 2 night trip with the added bonus that we could get a decent meal cooked for us and a lovely pint of local beer.

We stayed at the New Inn at Church Knowle in Dorset, their set up felt very safe, sanitser stations, tables that seemed more than 2 metres apart and a hatch outside to order your food and drinks, fortunately for us the weather was beautiful all weekend.

Church Knowle is.a pretty village that sits on a lovely 5 mile walk from Corfe in a loop so that is what we did the very next day. The walk is not too strenuous, our 7 year old managed it with ease, and our 3 year old sat on daddy's shoulder for a third of the way. We took the steep path up Knowle Hill to see the fantastic views across the Purbeck coast all the way across to Poole, you felt you were in the heavens and could almost touch the fluffy clouds that were present that morning. The walk continues to Corfe Castle where we decided to sit and have our picnic across the road so we could take in the majestic view. Afterwards we continued to Corfe to get a well deserved ice-cream for the children and a cold beer for us adults. We then looped back back to our campsite for an evening, and sample the lovely fresh fish that was on the New Inn's menu.

The next day we packed up the van and headed to Kimmeridge Bay for some fossil hunting. I am still very cautious of not going anywhere that is packed so I figured a stony beach would not be as enticing to some, fortunately the gamble paid off. It costs £5 to park in the car pack (which shuts at 8pm) and you can pitch up on the cliff top before walking down to the beach. We got there at lunchtime so I got out the trusty ridgemonkey and knocked up some cheese and ham toasties.

After lunch we headed down to the beach, if you veer to the right there is a rock ledge that goes right out to the sea and the rock face spans underneath the sea so as to give a shallow ledge, which is most excellent for our 3 year old who cannot swim. My 7 year old and I embarked on some fossil hunting where we found our biggest haul of fossils to date, lots of them are found if you split the shale, it is utterly fascinating to see the layers in the cliff face built up over the millenia. Meanwhile our 3 year old is jumping from boulder to boulder on the shore enacting the floor is lava.

After a good four hours play we head back up to the van for tea. I whipped up a quick store cupboard Spaghetti Puttenesca on my Cadac Pro Chef. We sat eating our tasty pasta overlooking the sea feeling utterly at bliss, a feeling my family and I will not forget after 4 months of being in lockdown!

Corfe Castle in Dorset

boy fossil hunting in Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset

Finding a fossil in the Shale at Kimmeridge Bay

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