78c – St Aldhelm’s Head to Chapman’s Pool

Chapman’s Pool in Dorset is renowned for its fossils.  They tumble out of the cliffs and land at your feet – quite literally!  It is impossible not to find fossils there.  It is a small cove, nestled into the cliffs to the north west of St Aldhelm’s Head.  Reaching it requires a bit of a walk, but it’s worth it.  Unfortunately for us, the walk from St Aldhelm’s Head is the more undulating of the routes in.  As we rounded the head and turned north we suddenly found ourselves facing a large descent, down into the depths of a valley.

Descent from St Aldhelm's HeadAnd of course when you are crossing a valley and have gone down one side, you then have to go up the other.  It is thanks to geological features such as this that when walking the South West Coast Path it is said you climb the equivalent of three Mount Everests.

And Ascent Back Up AgainThe walk back up crests at Emmetts Hill, where there is a memorial garden to fallen Royal Marines.  It was designed after the IRA set off a bomb on 22 September 1989 at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, Kent, killing eleven and injuring a further 21.  The memorial was later expanded to include marines killed in all conflicts from 1945.  Enclosed by a dry stone wall, the memorial garden includes a stone table and benches to afford rest to the weary traveller.

Royal Marines Association Memorial Garden“Rest a while and reflect,” reads the memorial inscription, “that we who are living can enjoy the beauty of the sea and countryside”.  We followed this advice: it was a beautifully tranquil place.

View from Emmetts HillAnd then, all of a sudden, there it was:  Chapman’s Pool.  Time to go fossil hunting!

Chapmans Pool

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • St Aldhelm’s Head:  N 50° 34.900 W 002° 03.100
  • Steep Valley Bottom:  N 50° 34.975 W 002° 03.550
  • Royal Marines Association Memorial Garden:  N 50° 35.469 W 002° 03.565
  • Chapman’s Pool:  N 50° 35.575 W 002° 03.850

Walk #78 Statistics (of which this post forms the third part):


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4 Responses to 78c – St Aldhelm’s Head to Chapman’s Pool

  1. jcombe says:

    Glad you got to see it without too much mist. One of my favourite beaches. I think its nearly as impressive as Lulworth Cove but with the lack of nearby parking and the difficult access means it avoids the tourists and is never crowded. Only 1 path to the beach is open now. I hope you picked the open one!

  2. I love the atmosphere created by all the mist in your photos. I very nearly walked this way yesterday… But, one day after a 15-20 mile coastal walk in the opposite direction; I’m quite relieved I didn’t! 😉 When I did a walk past Lulworth Cove a year ago, I was suddenly surrounded by cloud and mist pouring in over the cliffs and from the sea. It was quite a refreshing end to a sweltering day though.

  3. brazejoiner says:

    Exhilarating photos and great description..Love the article.

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