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Church Ope Cove and Penn's Weare

Location

Dorset Map

OS Ref: SY 695 712

Last Visited: 2005


A splendidly varied walk, albeit one with a couple of short steep climbs, of about 2.7 km (1.7 mls) in length. It starts off in woodland, passes a ruined church, and then makes its way along the edge of the cliffs to an old stone quay.

From here it is a stiff climb up to an old railway line, under the remains of an old castle, and back past some elegant houses. Continued ...

Church Ope Cove and St Andrew's Church

St Andrew's Church sits halfway down the cliff-side above Church Ope Cove and overshadowed by the Rufus Castle, but despite its strange position, it was the parish church of the island until the mid-18th century. According to the recently vandalised plaque, it was built in stages between 1150 and 1470 when the tower was added.

The Southwell Landslip, just to the church, in 1675 caused considerable damage, and the combination of this and its remoteness led to it being closed and demolished in 1756. Much of the stone was used to build St George's Church at Reforne which replaced it.

Rufus and Pennsylvania Castles

Looking back over your shoulder as you walk along the cliff edge, it is possible to make out two so called castles. The older of the two, the Rufus or Bow and Arrow Castle, is little more than a blockhouse. It was built between 1432 and 1460 by Richard, Duke of York.

The more recent is Pennsylvania Castle, built around 1800 by John Penn, grandson of the founder of the State of Pennsylvania. Both castles are in private ownership and neither is open to the public.

Durdle Pier

Durdle Pier sits, almost abandoned, surrounded by a few dilapidated huts and only used by the occasional fisherman. The old Whim is still in a remarkable state of preservation, however, considering its isolated and exposed position.

The winding gear is badly rusted and pieces of it are scattered around the site, but the main timbers are as sound as the day they were installed. Remarkable stuff oak.