LEJOG Virtual Challenge: Mileage Marker 185.7 Somewhere in Dorset

It has been quite the week or so since I last posted as cities across the United States, including Chicago, protested the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The area where I live was in the heart of the first night of protests and the ensuing riots. I could spend all day on that topic but it really boils down to three words. Black Lives Matter. Period. It was great to see solidarity from all over the world as well, especially from the U.K.!

So I’ve been virtually sitting somewhere in Dorset for a few days. The real time mileage that got me here was a combination of hikes at local nature preserves (I’ve taken up birding! See my Around Chicago and Illinois posts…soon to be updated) and bike commuting to work. I want to do more of the latter on a regular basis, but for a couple of days cycling was the only way I could get out of the downtown area where I live as the bridges crossing the river were up and the public transit wasn’t running downtown!

Bridges up over the Chicago River in the days following the protest downtown.
My current virtual location.

Normally after I’ve moved my little head along the map I receive a postcard from the virtual challenge team of interesting sites I would have passed along the way. Apparently there was nothing that stood out along this part of the route. I find that hard to believe so I did some digging of my own. Staying true to the human powered transport, I am virtually peddling the thirty miles or so towards Exeter, which looks like a lovely spot for a brief visit to the cathedral and the Cathedral Close, which has been the center of Exeter since Roman times. A church was built in the 1200’s and walled off with the creation of seven gates leading to the courtyard, or close. Don’t forget the obligatory picture of Mol’s Coffee House, which dates back to the 16th century and was purportedly where Sir Francis Drake discussed his plans for defeating the Spanish Armada.

After our brief excursion in Exeter, it’s back to National Cycle Route 2 which runs along the river Exe, to the village of Exmouth. We will send the bike ahead as we prepare for the 40 mile walk along the East Devon Way which goes through the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (I’m guessing that is a designation similar to our National Monuments status…not quite a National Park but close.)

East Devon Way and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

The EDW begins at Exmouth and diverges from our old friend, the South West Coast Path and heads inland for a bit before rejoining the SWCP at the village of Lyme Regis. The Jurassic Coast also begins in Exmouth and is England’s only natural World Heritage site. It extends for 95 miles into Dorset and was made a World Heritage site because of it’s outstanding rocks, fossils and geographical formations. So seems I should have received at least one postcard from the virtual challenge planners one would think! Seems to be plenty of picturesque thatched roofed cottages and tea rooms along the route!

Entering the village of Branscombe. See, thatched roofs! Copyright Martin Bodman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

We would probably want to take at least 2 days to walk the route but 3 days seems more my speed. Looks to be plenty of quaint b&b’s along the route to rest our weary head and feet. My little virtual head puts me seven miles further on in the hamlet of Seatown where the Anchor Inn looks like the perfect place for me!

File:Seatown and Golden Cap - geograph.org.uk - 521914.jpg ...
Chris Downer / Seatown and Golden Cap / CC BY-SA 2.0

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