The Dorset and East Devon Coast is popularly known as the ‘Jurassic Coast’
The Jurassic Coast runs along the English Channel from the red cliffs of Exmouth in the west up to the limestone of the Purbeck peninsula near the town of Poole in the east. It owes its iconic name partially to a popular film but primarily to the fact that the coast of Dorset and East Devon is a geological and archaeological timeline of the history of the earth, spanning the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous periods. Normally these time periods would have been layered on top of each other, but on this coastline they are formed as a continuous sequence which means that you can literally walk through time – from one period to the next – covering 185 million years in 155 km.
In addition to being important for the study of earth sciences, the Jurassic Coast is also a living coastal landscape and a recreational area popular among other things for hiking. A walk on the well kept Coast Path is highly recommended and possibly the best way to really experience this beautiful and varied coastline, its towns and villages, the undulating landscape, the characteristic coves and the stunning cliffs hovering over pebble beaches. Among the many highlights and visual treats along the coast is the impressive rock formation – the Durdle Door (see photo below).
Read more about the Jurassic Coast…
Stonehenge as it stands today is the ruins of a construction that began around 2500 BC. By then the largest stones, the sarsens weighing up to 35 tonnes, and the inner horseshoe shaped circles of smaller bluestones had been transported here from Wiltshire 30 km away and from Preseli Hills in Wales, 240 km away.
Exactly how these massive stones were transported over long distances and subsequently erected is still an unresolved part of the larger Stonehenge puzzle but it is generally believed that they were brought here using water transport for the smallest stone from Wales, then dragged over land on wooden sledges of some kind. On the last stretch, they were possibly floated on the river Avon that flows nearby. It would take an estimated 12 days to transport a sarsen stone from Wiltshire to Stonehenge (30 km).
Stonehenge including Avebury and Associated Sites were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1986. Avebury, situated 30 km north of Stonehenge, contain the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world, and Silbury Hill, the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Together they demonstrate outstanding creative and technological achievements in prehistoric times. (Source: UNESCO)
Read more about the Stonehenge Stones…
The City of Bath in South West England was founded by the Romans in the first century AD by the hot spring there, later to become a thermal bath and temple, now the city’s main attraction – the Roman Baths.
In the 18th century urban Bath underwent a total renewal set in motion by architects who’s vision it was to create one of the most beautiful cities in England – and Europe – a place where architecture and landscape blend harmoniously. The dominant building style in Bath is usually referred to as Georgian after the kings that ruled back then. This neoclassical architectural style typically consist of modernized elements largely inspired by the classic Greek monuments. The golden limestone buildings, many of which were inspired by the renown Italian architect Palladio give Bath a stylistically uniform and rather elegant look and feel, picturesquely situated in a pleasant garden-landscape by the River Avon.
Next to the Roman Bath stands the Abbey Church, an English Gothic-style cathedral alone worth a visit to Bath. Not to be missed are also the grandiose Royal Crescent and the Circus residential complexes, the Ponte Vecchio-inspired Pultney Bridge, a stroll in the park or a boat trip on the river, and perhaps an evening at the spa.
More about the City of Bath…