PURBECK, A PORTRAIT IN COLOUR by David Burnett
These days, the Isle of Purbeck is famous for forming part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, and it is easy to see why. Purbeck’s beauty is unrivalled. The dramatic silhouette of Corfe Castle may be its best known landmark, but from Old Harry’s chalk stack to the arched rock of Durdle Door every bend in the cliffs brings a new surprise. Purbeck’s gateway is Wareham, once a river port whose Saxon ramparts were built by King Alfred to keep out the Vikings. The heathland tucked into this corner of Purbeck supports a wealth of plants and animals, as well as the creeks and mud flats lining Poole Harbour. Corfe’s summer crowds and the cheerful whistle of the steam engines on the Swanage Railway give way to ancient trackways, lovely limestone manor houses, and Swanage’s half-moon of sand. Then comes stone country, raw and wild, whose origins date back 140 million years to the age of the dinosaurs. Old quarry workings abound, specially along the cliff path that makes for some of the finest coastal walking in Britain.
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