The Jurassic Coast

No, the Jurassic Coast is not a theme park in which hundreds of dinosaurs come to life and terrorize Jeff Goldblum. It’s a 95-mile stretch of English Channel coastline, located in Dorset and East Devon.  It’s a World Heritage Site because coastal erosion has exposed millions of fossils from three geological periods, including the Jurassic …

Writers and Warships

Two of my favourite writers are Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.  I traded Julian a visit to their houses for a trip to the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth.  Two days, 3 ships, 2 museums and a boat-shed later, I think Julian got the better part of the deal. Austen’s house is located in Chawton, Hampshire. …

Chalk Figures

In south-west England, large swaths of chalkstone lie under the soil.  For millenia, people have cut out large figures by digging trenches to reveal the underlying chalk.  The chalk contrasts with the surrounding grass, which makes the figures stand out.  Because they’re cut into the hillsides, these figures are difficult to see from the ground, …

The Summer Solstice

Tonight is the summer solstice. Other years I might not have noticed, but this year we visited Avebury, a World Heritage Site that rivals Stonehenge for its standing stones.  What makes Avebury unique is that the standing stones are in a village.  For generations, farmers found them inconvenient.  They dug them up and broke them …

Norfolk Walks

We spent our first week in England in the county of Norfolk, which is on the south-east coast, bordering the North Sea.  Norfolk is a predominantly rural county, and our reason for coming here was to walk. At first, the weather wasn’t auspicious for walking.  When we stopped for lunch in the town of Ely …