Chapmans Pool in Dorset is a spectacular, secluded, and almost circular bay on the Jurassic Coast. It is less frequently visited than nearby Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge Bay because parking facilities are a little distance away and access requires a degree of agility. The picture above was taken looking down from the footpath which leads from West Hill, near Renscombe Farm on the edge of Worth Matravers, to the fishermen’s boat houses on the south-east side of the bay. The entrance to Chapmans Pool faces south-west. The bay is encircled by grey crumbling cliffs.
From the boat houses you can look back to the head of the bay which is roughly due north. This is marked by a steep-sided valley leading to Hill Bottom. It provides an alternative route to the beach but involves a great deal of scrambling over a sometimes muddy and treacherous area just before you reach the shore. A stream flows from this valley down a short cascade to the beach.
This is just one of the boat houses – they are in active use. A couple are stone-built but the others are constructed from timber. I almost get the feeling that the scene has been stage managed as it is so picturesque. The black wooden structure in the foreground is a capstan which is one of the ways used to winch the boats up from the water.
Above is a photograph looking back across the Pool from the seashore at the foot of Houns Tout towards the boat houses on the south-east side. These buildings are dwarfed by Emmetts Hill that runs north to south and terminates at St Adhelms Head. Emmetts Hill is capped by a massively impressive rock escarpment.
Below is the view looking north-west from the boat house towards the hill called Houns Tout. The South West Coastal Path takes walkers up one side and down the other of this steep incline – a test for the calf muscles even though there are steps some of the way. Do you think someone placed that great old anchor there for the sole benefit of photographers?
I will talk some more about the geology, fossils, seaweeds, strandlines, flotsam, and boat houses in following posts.
Revision of a post first published 25 June 2009
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