79a – Kimmeridge

The Type 25 Pillbox at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset is a tiny defensive structure, with an internal diameter of only 6 feet.  I cannot imagine how it must have felt to climb through the tiny door into the tiny structure and stare out of the tiny window on a dark and quiet night in search of a massive invasion fleet on the horizon.  The people who had to stand guard in this pillbox must have been very relieved that invasion didn’t come.

The pillbox today is said to be making its way slowly, slowly down the beach, towards its watery grave.  I doubt they’ll let it get that far; it’s something of a local landmark.

Type 25 Pillbox at Kimmeridge BayKimmeridge is an oil-rich community!  Everyone has heard of North Sea Oil, but what about Kimmeridge Oil?  Oil has been extracted here for hundreds of years.  The oil-permeated shale here was mined as long ago as the Neolithic period (that’s around 4,500 to 6,000 years ago), but by 1858 attention had turned specifically to the oil and gas in the rock.  In 1858 Kimmeridge oil was being extracted at a rate of 50 tonnes a month and its gas was being used to light the streets of Paris.  Today, a sole nodding donkey continues to extract 80 barrels (that’s 12,720 litres) of oil a day.

8 - Kimmeridge Wellsite Nodding DonkeyJust beyond the Kimmeridge Wellsite we found ourselves at the entrance to the Lulworth Range Walks.  This is Ministry of Defence land and is closed off most weekdays, although open most weekends and holidays.  We had to time our trip down here to coincide with the opening hours; to find the Range Walks closed and to circumnavigate would have taken us on an inland detour of about 10 miles.  No thanks!

Entering the Lulworth Range WalksApart from all of the unexploded ordnance lying around the Range Walks there were other, larger, smellier dangers to be wary of.  And they were right in our path.

Cows just inside the Lulworth Range WalksWe have had our fair share of experiences with cows whilst walking the coast of Britain.  Some have ignored us with apathetic disdain.  Others have taken individual (or worse, collective) action against us.  On a couple of occasions we have found ourselves being herded out of a field like…well…cattle.

We saw these cows had calves with them.  Would this make them more aggreesive in their defence of their young?  They eyed us and we eyed them.  They didn’t move, but rather dared us to cross the cattle-gate and make our approach.  We had little choice but to submit to the situation.  We made our way across and skirted around the edge of the path, keeping our distance, ready for evasive action if required.  The cows turned out to be the disdainful type and roundly ignored us.

Some walkers behind us decided not to cross the cattle-gate, but rather wait the cows out.  Some half mile later I looked back.  The cows hadn’t moved.  Nor had the walkers.

Once through the cows the wildlife became altogether more appealing and fluffy.  Aww, look!

Sheep in the Lulworth Range WalksIt is surprising that something as fluffy and lovely as that can live in the middle of this:

Danger Sign in the Lulworth Range WalksI wonder if the unexploded debris had anything to do with this, which we found a few minutes later?

Carcass by CrowProbably not, but you never know…

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

  • Type 25 Pill Box:  N 50° 36.701 W 002° 07.881
  • Kimmeridge Wellsite:  N 50° 36.790 W 002° 08.170
  • Entrance to Lulworth Range Walks:  N 50° 36.769 W 002° 08.226
  • Disdainful Cows:  N 50° 36.672 W 002° 08.363

Walk #79 Statistics (of which this post forms the first part):

Map

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One Response to 79a – Kimmeridge

  1. I’m guessing here, but maybe the sheep can’t read that very explicit notice and so are unaware of the dangers (and how odd – you weren’t very far away from Wool!). RH

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