No walk Tuesday –my body refused to do hills. Evidently Monday’s journey was too much too soon. Here are some photos of Lyme Regis instead, a wonderful Devonian seaside town that I’m surprised to discover is in a different county to my campsite up the hill in Uplyme (Dorset).
Lyme has a long departed history as an international harbour thanks in large to its protective sea wall. Today the promenade is serenaded by colourful beach huts that will presumably flower open in a couple of weeks when the school holidays begin.
For now the threat of rain is ever present and mist shrouds the hills that were so clear yesterday.
The Lyme Cob protects the harbour and it seems an entirely natural part of the landscape.
Most of the vessels here are for leisure and there are no fishing boats to be seen today.
It’s hard to imagine the resort packed to the gills with sun seekers on such an overcast day but there remains an evocative quality of light which presumably goes some way to explaining the number of art galleries in the town.
Up until now the days highlight had been an intense and moreish fish soup at the Bay Café and Restaurant but a chance left hand turn down an innocuous road blows that away when I stumble across the heavenly Town Mill Bakery. It’s one of those brilliantly simple concepts that plants a big smile on your face and has you questioning why there isn’t something similar back home.
The bakery is based in a open barn style space with plenty of natural light. In the back half you can see the baking going on. Then there’s a long wooden counter lined with fresh breads, buns, scones, etc. You grab a wooden board, pile on whatever you want, optionally request a fresh coffee and find a place at one of the three long trestle tables to east. You can cut as many slices of bread as you like and (optionally) toast them for £2 and there are huge bowls of butter and jam on the tables that your neighbours will pass if requested.
I go back for more toast and could quite happily spend the rest of the day there eating toast, drinking coffee and reading. The experience is informal and relaxing. When you leave you tell somebody what you had they just trust you and take the money.
A stones throw away I found a refurbished water mill complex with art galleries, a pottery and a (sadly closed) microbrewery.
During my ramblings the Mist has turned to mizzle and onto haze and I head beyond The Cob onto Monmouth beach in search of the fossils that have made this section of the Jurassic Coast world famous. I’m not disappointed – there are plenty of rocks infused with 200 million year old critters. You can judge the size of the shell below by my size 10 foot alongside it.
I can’t help feeling that if I were standing here around the time this thing was alive I would rapidly become afternoon tea for something with large teeth and scales. On a related point I popped my head into a couple of fossil shops and was disappointed to find many of the fossilised shells, fish and teeth for sale had been dug up anywhere in the world except the local area.
That’s a taste of Lyme for you anyway. There’s a lot here and much more history to unravel if you have the time. Holiday season is probably best avoided but I may return one off-peak weekend when I fancy a change.