West Bay, Jurassic Coast

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A pleasantly hilly journey through a verdant swathe of Dorset brought us to West Bay; the tiny fishing community surrounding Bridport Harbour.

It hadn’t been my intention to come here, however my kayak caddy/TV enthusiast girlfriend was desperate to find the location of the television drama ‘Broadchurch’ and the forbidding cliffs, ‘where someone got murdered’.

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Much to my obvious disappointment, we didn’t meet David Tennant, or Doctor Whoever; we didn’t even sample the ‘Broadchurch Burger’ offered by a local eatery.

We did go to the beach though, which is spectacular. Dwarfed by sheer columns of sandstone like giant’s ankles, we rested on the toes for a while. I was a little concerned by the number of large boulders lying around, clearly thrown from the sky.

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To the west, the coast also feels quite temporary. Hardy plants cling to the rocks as waves thud the shore, the undertow sucking away the shingle with a hiss.

I came prepared with my stand up paddleboard and had planned some surfing or generally paddling about, however as low tide approached, the wind had increased to a force 4/5 and I felt it was wiser to stay on the beach, given my lack of experience in rough conditions.

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The West Dorset coast can be a hostile environment. The seabed shelves steeply into deep water and the surf is dumped on the sand with a quite frightening ferocity.

The hump-backed Isle of Portland rose like a whale from the shimmering sea, far away at the tail of Chesil Beach.

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