This morning I make an effort and refuse to open my book until it’s almost seven. We reserved a breakfast slot at eight fifteen, there is time to kill and I browse through the online documentation about the New Forest, trying to find the best walk to do this morning. In the end we follow the advice of the B&B owner and drive to Bolderwood. There is an extraordinary amount of cyclists on the local roads and we find out why at the Bolderwood car park: it seems there is some kind of event. The walk is a bit shorter than we were informed, but it’s not worth it to drive to another starting point, so we set off along the Radnor Trail (see track on Wikiloc here). We’re not the only ones out walking, but most people stay closer to the car park. It’s sunny and warm, the birds are making an unholy ruckus and we see a bunch of grey squirrels hopping around. The walk goes up and down through wooded landscapes and at one point we see some of the local free ranging horses by the trail up ahead.
Back at the car we decide to escape the cyclists and drive on to Corfe Castle, we should make it by noon and can have lunch there, but it takes us ages to get there. We drive about 60 km at an average speed of 30 km/h, the length and slowness of the queues before each roundabout are just frustrating.
Arrived at Corfe Castle we are shunted to a car park that seems a little distant from the ruins we can see on the hilltop, it seems that there is a train connecting the two, going further on to Swanage. We completely missed the lunch window so we must be content with a nut bar and some water. Loads of tourists are taking the train, so we pick the mile long walk along the railroad. We’re a bit surprised when it’s an actual steam train and wonder why there are so many people with camera’s waiting by the track.. We hike up to the castle via the wildlife track, pay the 11£ pp entrance fee and climb up the hill to visit the towering ruins, picking up some of the history from the educational panels left and right. We were just starting to understand the timeline of the Roman invasion and are now confronted with William the Conquerer, the Magna Carta and English Civil War.
On the way back to the car I succumb to curiosity and ask one of the many photographers what’s so interesting about this train, that everybody is waiting around to see it pass and take pictures of it. Turns out there is a steam train gala going on: three days of visiting steam locomotives going back and forth between the P+R and Swanage, some of them from so far away as Scotland, of types only seldom seen here on the south coast. Their enthousiasm is catching, so we too wait around for the next train to pass and do some train spotting.
Onwards to Lulworth: the castle is closed for winter and will open tomorrow, so we park at Lulworth cove. There is a huge grass parking lot just outside the miniscule village, apparently this is a popular destination. We hike up one of the cliffs to see Durdle Door and even though the air is very hazy we have great views of Lulworth cove and the cliffs westward, though we don’t bother walking all the way to the view point that shows the actual arch.
Arrival in Dorchester around five, bath/shower and then a tasty Japanese dinner. Early to bed, it seems that there will be a switch to summer time this night and we’ll have one hour less sleep. I think this means that we’ll be back on Brussels time, though they of course are switching as well, it’s all getting very confusing.