One of the best things about being lucky enough to live in Dorset is that I get the place to myself when the summer ends. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hustle and bustle of the tourism season in Dorset – people laughing, children playing, queuing for 5 hours to get anywhere, no parking, but there’s something to be said for a grey blustery day exporing the beautifully deserted cliffs of Old Harry Rocks in Studland.
So you can imagine my delight when I heard of an ‘Instameet’ at this, one of my favourite places in Dorset organised by top local Instagrammer Adam Partridge – one of my favourite Instagram feeds in Dorset! Now, for those of you who don’t know what an ‘Instameet’ is (and I suspect there are a few), it is a day where a group of people who use photo app Instagram get together to meet new people with a similar interest, take photos and generally have a wonderful time – and that we did!
In my opinion, Old Harry Rocks in Studland, Dorset is one of the most dramatically beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK. It’s the most Easterly point of the Jurassic Coast, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and around a 40 minute drive from Poole / Bournemouth either using the chain ferry from Sandbanks to Studland (double check it’s operating first!) or driving round the bay via Wareham and magnificent Corfe Castle.
As well as stunning scenery and beautiful cliff walks, it is also just a short drive away from Studland beach – one of the best beaches in the world if you ask me (although be careful how far along you walk, it turns into a nudist beach part way along, which I can assure you is a shock if you’re out for a quiet Sunday stroll with the parents!
If you need to warm up or cool down after your walk – or simply require a stiff drink get over the shock of stumbling across an 80 year old naked man, the Bankes Arms is incredibly cosy in the winter and has a huge beer garden with the best view if the coastline for summer, plus it does traditional pub grub (and one of the best Ploughmans in Dorset). If you fancy something a little more upmarket The Pig on the Beach has just opened – you’ll be hearing more about that after my visit this weekend! This beautiful area is also not too far from Corfe Castle and Swanage – which you can read about in A Love Affair with Swanage.
During the drive I became increasingly nervous about the fact I was meeting a bunch of strangers / possible nutters. However I needn’t have worried at all, they were the loveliest bunch of people from both near and far….one had even come from Hong Kong especially, now that’s my kind of nutter!
We took a walk along the coastline which gentle sloped up towards the cliffs and there were squeals of delight when we finally emerged onto the stunning cliff tops.
The sheer scale and beauty never fails to take my breath away.
So do people who stand too close to the edge! (Made for a fab photo opp though!).
After exploring the delights of Old Harry we had time for a bonus trip to Corfe Castle, around a 10 minute drive away. As well as the impressive castle ruins themselves, Corfe is a beautifully quaint village in which time has stood still, with wonderful Olde Worlde pubs, tea rooms and sweet shops. It’s well worth a visit and my top tip is to go on a sunny winters day when you will be able to swing a camera without knocking over 10 tourists.
We also paid a visit to the cute little train station.
And were lucky enough to catch the steam train coming through!
All in all it was a fabulous day with wonderful people and new friendships were made. I would recommend anyone using Instagram to attend a meet – they happen all over the world. And hey, even if you’re not on Instagram, join a walking club, a photography club to exploring where you live, seize the day and have some fun!
I’d love to hear from anyone else who has taken a leap of faith, done something different in spite of their nerves and had a great experience because of it – do comment below!