"A Day Out To Dorset" Top 5 Page for this destination Lyme Regis by johngayton

Lyme Regis Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 95 photos

This is a place which has long been overdue a revisit. I last passed through many years ago, whilst walking this section of the Southwest Coastal Path, and nothing seems to have changed.

The town is situated on its eponymous bay on the south coast of Dorset, almost on the Devon border. In its heyday, between the 16th and 18th centuries, Lyme was a major port and shipbuilding centre, trading with France and building both merchant and naval vessels. Even though its importance as a port has since declined its main landmark is still its Cobb, the breakwater which loops round the harbour.

The Cobb

Not even the official website can suggest why this harbour wall became known as The Cobb but it has been in existence since the early 1300's and most of the present-day structure dates back to 1824.

The Cobb plays roles in Jane Austin's novel "Persuasion" and in John Fowlers' "The French Lieutenant's Woman", the latter being made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. The image of the haunted heroine standing at the Cobb's end, wrapped in a hooded cloak looking out to sea, whilst the stormy waves crash over it, remains one of my most vivid cinematic memories.

Fossils and The Jurassic Coast

The town's other main attraction is its location on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the so-called Jurassic Coast - the stunning 95 mile stretch of coastline between Exmouth and Swanage. The rocky cliffs date back up to 250 million years (which is in fact Triassic) and the area adjacent to Lyme Regis is mainly Jurrasic (about 140 to 200 million years old). Because the cliffs here are relatively soft limestone they are liable to erosion and landslips and so fossilised remains of the flora and fauna of that period are commonly found on the local beaches and on the undercliff.

If you are lucky you can make your own finds just by wandering, but if not then you can take part in fossil-hunting expeditions or even buy them at several local specialist shops.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Plenty Of Old Fossils (In The Pubs!).
  • Cons:It can get very busy in the summer.
  • In a nutshell:Go out of season and the place is pretty timeless!
  • Last visit to Lyme Regis: Mar 2010
  • Intro Updated Apr 3, 2010
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Reviews (11)

Comments (3)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    This month's bookclub choice was "Remarkable Creatures" - your page here a nice little appendix to that. A good fish pie - yum!

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo
    Apr 25, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Nicely done page. Brings back a few memories from a trip to this coast a while back .

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    Years ago I was in Lyme Regis for a daily trip from Weymouth. Your page brought my memories back. Thanks.

johngayton

“The slow lane often gets you there faster”

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