Thursday, 27 July 2017


Purbeck is also known as the 'Isle of Purbeck', and there is a definite sense of other in the place. Standing on the high ridge of hills which stretch from coast to coast, and looking across the Great Heath, across the expansive harbour to the creeping metropolis whose nucleus is Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch, though now spreads well beyond, inching into the countryside, you feel you're on an island, the difference so striking. And, even more striking is when you stand on Purbeck's rough grassland coast with views over the rugged limestone cliffs where land abruptly meets sea. Magnificently wild and exposed, a foreign land, and yet so close to the south coast's biggest conurbation. The older houses too are rugged, telling of hard lives lived and worked in this hard landscape, on the land, on the sea and underground in the warren of shafts, galleries and quarries providing dressed stone of quality for high status buildings around the world. That industry, though still going, is on a considerably smaller scale than its hay-day, all that's left of that now are scars in the form of abandoned and decaying workings. It's a landscape worked and shaped by man for millennia, though through it all its wild spirit remains unbroken. 

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