About the challenge
The Jurassic Coast is England’s first Natural World Heritage Site. Our trek starts at Durlston Head, just outside Swanage and we trek a total of 23 miles (36km) over two days along on the South West Coastal Path in an east to west direction. The diversity of the area is outstanding and the rugged coastline with serious climbs and descents will provide many a breathtaking view. We stay at a convenient camp site for the weekend with little frills in true Famous Five style!
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|09 May 2014||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£440||Or||£220||Book now|
|12 Sep 2014||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£440||£220||Book now|
|08 May 2015||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£460||£230||Book now|
|11 Sep 2015||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£460||£230||Book now|
Day 1: Meet Campsite
We meet at our campsite near Wool, Dorset in the early evening for dinner and an evening briefing. After a good meal we have an opportunity to get to know the rest of the group and then a good night’s sleep ready for the rest of the weekend. There will be transport arranged to pick you up from Wool railway station if required.
Day 2: Durlston Head – Kimmeridge
Trek approx 14 miles / 22km
After a good breakfast, we transfer to Durlston Head, a Country Park on the cliffs above Swanage, for the start of our hiking challenge. This headland juts south and it’s not unusual to see migrating dolphins passing by in early summer. Setting off, we can pause at the impressive Globe, an enormous limestone sphere measuring 3m in diameter, engraved with an 1880s world map. There are fabulous views from the Globe, and they will accompany us as we walk west for approx 8 hours along the hilly coastline. This area was long used for mining the famous Purbeck Marble and Portland Stone, and we see plenty of evidence of the activity as we pass old quarries and remains of huts along our way. The stone was often lowered by crane and taken away by boat, and you can still see ‘rut-ways’ cut into the rock-bed at spots like the beautiful Dancing Ledge, where there’s also a boat-sized hole cut into the lower ledge. Smuggling stories abound in this area and the rocky coastline had a large number of shipwrecks. We continue west, over slopes cut into distinctive lynchets, or terraces, dating from medieval times – this enabled the steep slopes to be farmed. Our route dips down to reveal small bays and ledges with access to the sea, before climbing sharply up again. Seagulls, cormorants and guillemots wheel overhead and either side of the path wild flowers grow in abundance. As we pass the large quarry at Winspit, we climb gradually to St Alban’s Head, with its tiny, atmospheric Norman chapel perched on the headland. From here we plunge steeply downhill, aided by steps cut into the turf, and enjoy great views of the beautiful turquoise-blue Chapman’s Pool below us. Climbing sharply up again, we can see in the distance our evening’s destination – Kimmeridge Bay. Our last section has some flatter sections, and we can enjoy the views as Kimmeridge, with its distinctive Clavell Tower, draws nearer. The bay is home to the most amazing rock-pool and, tide permitting, there will be time for a paddle or to look for fossils before we are transported to our campsite (approx. 20 mins).
Day 3: Kimmeridge – Durdle Door
Trek approx 9 miles / 14km
After breakfast we set out to rejoin the coastal path and continue walking west. It’s not long before we enter Lulworth Ranges – land used as Army firing ranges. Not always open, this region is abundant in flora and fauna that, despite the military presence, has been protected from the development of farming, building and roads. It’s also notable for its steep sections as we follow the contours of the cliffs, but the remarkable views over Worbarrow Bay are worth the effort! Time permitting, we can detour inland to the poignant village of Tyneham, deserted in the 1940s when the War Office commandeered the land. The church and schoolhouse are now museums, and many houses remain. The villagers were not permitted to return once the war had ended. Continuing, there are more steep sections before us, but we are approaching the famous Lulworth Cove, and our first view of this almost perfectly circular bay is breathtaking. The cove was formed by glacial waters melting on the way out to sea, and this area of the Jurassic Coast is a geologist’s dream. We have time to take in the amazing twisted rock layers around the cove before conquering our last steep uphill, over the white crumbling limestone cliffs that take us to Durdle Door, a clear arch in the rock cared out by the pounding waves. The sea is remarkably clear here, and it’s an outstandingly beautiful place to finish our tough weekend’s trek. After a group photograph at the finish point, we transfer back to our campsite to pack up and head for home after an exhausting but exhilarating weekend!
The cost includes all transfers, accommodation, meals and camping equipment except sleeping bag and sleeping mat. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and cooks.
It does not include personal travel insurance (optional), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items, or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Accommodation is in two-man, expedition-style tents, (meaning there is room to sleep only) at our campsite near Wool; you will share with someone else on the challenge.
All meals are included from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime. The food is very good, it will give you lots of energy and there is plenty of it!
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s leading the trek, looking after camp or making your lunch! At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Space in camp is limited and hard-sided luggage is not recommended, so we suggest your kit is packed in a soft rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
Preparing for the challenge
We trek mainly on the coastal path, which ranges from grassy or stony paths to wide dusty tracks; there are some tarmac road sections and gravel tracks. There are many steep inclines both up and down along the cliff tops – these are usually relatively short sections, but there is little flat. The environment we walk through needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please walk on the path surface rather than on the vegetation growing beside it, don’t remove stones from the paths and don’t take short-cuts. Please follow the Countryside Code. You will trek approximately 23 miles on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain, it’s impossible to give more accurate daily distances. It’s also more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for, and the type of terrain you will be trekking over!
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time. The information below gives you an idea of the climate, but be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly in the UK! We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Even in the summer months we can be exposed to rain, strong winds and storms. The cliff tops can be prone to mists too so be prepared for any weather! This may only be a weekend trek, but you still need appropriate, good quality footwear and clothing to cope with the weather conditions.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.