Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Lyme Regis Walking Festival with a Janeite appeal, 9th February - 16thFebruary 2013

Approximately three hours to the south-west of Brighton and lying in the heart of the 95 mile long Jurassic coastline is the beautiful seaside town of Lyme Regis.  Next month the town will host its first ever Walking Festival where knowledgeable guides will provide local, literary, historical and geological information alongside walks and electric bike tours.  One of the planned walks will be of particular interest to Jane Austen fans and will cover where she stayed and locations of interest from her novel Persuasion. 

For fossil enthusiasts, there will be a walk organised by the Lyme Regis Museum with Geologist Paddy Howe and Marine Biologist Chris Andrew.  With the cliffs around Lyme Regis affording a constant supply of fossils from 180 million years ago there is always a chance of discovering fossilised remains. Look out for the likes of the giant ichthyosaur, bearing a resemblance to our modern-day dolphin but extending in length by approx 2-4 metres or the plesiosaur, ranging from 2 -15 metres in length, an underwater equivalent of a giraffe due to its long neck, as well as possibly finding belemnites, with its closest resemblance to a squid and ammonites with their spiral shells.

Taking place in February, the locals are keen to show how equally beautiful the Dorset landscape is under winter skies when tumultuous seas create a dramatic backdrop and skeletal trees dominate the countryside.

Lyme Regis Cobb, taken by Didi2695, Flickr

Since posting this blog, Natalie of Literary Lyme Walking Tours has contacted me with more details relating to the walks that she has organised.  All three walks sound really interesting and I’d love to go on all of them.  Below are the details she has sent to me:

Nature of the Lym Valley
On Sunday 10th Feb 2013 1.30pm, meet by the metal anchor, next to the Rock Point Inn.
Take a leisurely walk lasting around 1½-2 hours, walking up the river Lym, finding out about local wildlife and passing the mill featured in 'The Tale of Little Pig Robinson' by Beatrix Potter.  Described as a really picturesque walk it finishes with a trip to Uplyme village pub.
Costs £8
Architecture of the Undercliff
On Friday 15th Feb 2013 8am, meet at The Regent Cinema, Lyme Regis.
Lasting all day, this walk follows the south west coast path from Lyme Regis to Axmouth and Seaton.  Walking through 8 miles of woodland it goes through the largest nature reserve in the country, said to be the closest to a jungle in the UK.  Discover the literary locations and the history of long forgotten civilisations in this secret place.
Costs £20
History of the Cobb
On Saturday 16th Feb 2013 11am, meet at the lifeboat station, The Cobb.
The walk lasts 30-40 mins and includes tales of Smuggling, War, Trade and Jane Austen - the history of the Cobb - everything from its early structure to the ghosts said to haunt the ancient wall.
Costs £3.50
Book with Literary Lyme Walking Tours
Tel: 07763 974569 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            

For full details booklets of the guided walks and a list of traders sharing their knowledge and favourite walks will be available at the local Tourist Information Centre.  Click the Lyme Regis Walking Festival for more details.  

lyme regis, winter wonderland
Lyme Regis taken by Caroline Collett, Flickr
For Janeites and lovers of eighteenth century history, as well as those who are interested in staying somewhere really lovely, with fantastic views and charming staff, the Alexandra Hotel would make the perfect setting.

Until 20th January they are offering a complimentary three course dinner for two, worth £70 when guests book two consecutive nights. The offer is valid for bookings made before the 20th January for stays before the 17th February. (weekends not included).  Last year they won the Taste of the West, Silver Award 2012 for their local and seasonal food cooked by Head Chef Ian Grant and his team with their daily changing dinner menu.

Hotel Alexandra was built in 1735, for the Dowager Countess Poulett and later became the home of the Duc du Stackpoole, before it was turned into a boutique hotel in 1901.  Set in beautiful private gardens and overlooking the famous Cobb harbour, it has breathtaking views of the Jurassic Coast and has room rates starting at £85 (including breakfast) and rising to £295.

Hotel Alexandra, Lyme Regis

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