East Lulworth

A  One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC Network



The natural history review, Volume 6

By Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, Cork Cuvierian Society, Natural History Society of Dublin

Lulworth Cove, in Dorsetshire, is the locality at which P. IToffmanseggii was obtained by me. It is a most attractive spot for natural scenery, and well known to English naturalists and geologists. There are two ways of reaching it—by railway and by steamer. The South Western line has a station at Wool—a little village about three miles distant; and those who like the walk, and desire to catch the " marbled white" butterfly, which is to be had on the road to the sea, cannot do better than go by rail. But the favourite way of reaching Lulworth Cove is by sea from Weymouth; it is only an hour's sail; and all the summer through, a steamer plies, morning and evening, every Wednesday. The vessel is generally crowded with excursionists of the ordinary unscientific class; but, fortunately, they nearly all, immediately on landing, hurry off towards Lulworth Castle, which is between two and three miles away; so that the neighbourhood of the Cove is left undisturbed to those who would prefer the sight of Pamphila AcUeon or Platyarthru s Hoffmanscggii to that of the finest painting the Castle or its Roman Catholic chapel can boast.

The sail across Weymouth Bay is beautiful. A fine view is obtained of the towering Isle of Portland, with its long artificial breakwater on one side, and natural sea-dyke, the Chesil Bank, on the other. The steamer makes almost straight for the " Burning Cliff" (which has of late years ceased to burn), and then, passing for some distance in front of a commanding chalk headland, reaches some outcropping rocks, forming part of the Purbeck Beds. These latter break into several curious archways and inlets for the sea, and at length open wide enough to admit vessels into the lovely little bay, called Lulworth Cove.

In shape this natural harbour forms nearly a circle, about half a mile in diameter. Right opposite the entrance, a fine chalk cliff rises to the height of several hundred feet; its sides sloping, and covered with that short bright-green herbage so characteristic of the Downs in the south of England. On the loft is the little hamlet of West Lulworth, through which the road leads to the Castle and East Lulworth. It is worthy of a visit, too, from any one who admires really picturesque cottages, tastefully ornamented and cleanly kept. A few fishing-boats are generally lying at anchor at the west side of the Cove, and a little crowd gathers on the shore to see the steamer enter with her gay-looking cargo, while she boldly advances tiB the forepart of her keel is firmly fixed among the large chalk pebbles of the beach. After having anchored in this primitive manner, a landing is easily effected by means of a gangway lowered from the prow, and the aid of boats quite dispensed with.

Once on shore, the naturalist and the sight-seer take divergent paths, and if the former wishes to secure P. Hoffmanseggii, he wiB turn to the right and follow the path at the foot of the groat chalk cliff, until, having passed through a little wooden gate, he ascends the cliff which shelters the Cove at the eastern side. The highly contorted strata of this cliff cannot fail to have struck him on entering the bay; and it is well to attend to this difference in the geological formations here, because it is possible that the presence of the new Oniscoid may depend upon, or at least be connected with it.