Holiday Activities on the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset – South West England

The unique and beautiful Lyme Bay traverses West Dorset and East Devon in south west England, a part of the coastline known as The Jurassic Coast. Declared by UNESCO as England’s first natural World Heritage Site The Jurassic Coast is up there with the world’s most famous attractions such as the Grand Canyon in the USA and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles of truly stunning coastline from West Dorset to East Devon and the landscape records 185 million years of the Earth’s history. World Heritage status was achieved because of the site’s unique insight into our geological history as it clearly depicts a ‘walk through time’ spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Earth’s development.

Charmouth beach in West Dorset is one of the best places along the Jurassic Coast to search for fossils. Experts lead guided fossil walks and they are organised from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, situated just by the beach – the walks take place throughout the year and help to bring to life the area’s geological history.

The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is a mine of information regarding the geology of the Jurassic Coast, the fossils and the local wildlife – the centre’s wardens are on hand to answer your questions about the area. The Heritage Centre promotes the sustainable collection of fossils and it’s worth checking out the advice on fossil collecting at the centre before setting out on your own fossil hunting expedition.

One of the most wonderful ways of exploring The Jurassic Coast is to take a ride on The Jurassic Coast Bus Service (the X53). This bus travels along what must be one of the most beautiful and scenic routes in the country and connects Exeter, Sidford, Beer, Seaton, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Bridport, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, Wool, Wareham and Poole (summer service). An Explorer Ticket offers unlimited travel along the route for a day. The ticket costs just £6.00 for an adult, £4.50 for a child or £13.00 for a family ticket (up to four people with no more than two adults).

You can sit back and enjoy the views from the top deck while somebody else drives but you can also get off the bus and explore the towns, villages and attractions along the route. The bus service is also ideal for walkers who want to walk along a section of the coast path as they have the option of either travelling out or back by bus.

The low floor buses run every two hours and tickets offer unlimited travel for a day. So why not hop aboard and let the bus take the strain as you explore this stunning coastline.

There is something almost magical about this area and it is certainly a wonderful place to take a break. Take some time to come and explore the heritage coastline, the historic towns and hideaway villages in an area of truly stunning natural beauty.

The Jurassic coast is a wonderful place to visit all year round and is an ideal place for family seaside holidays, romantic short breaks for two or winter weekend breaks. One of the most flexible ways to visit the area is to book a self-catering holiday cottage.

Bristol Attractions

Bristol Attractions

The city of Bristol offers many different diverse attractions. Due to its growth and development, many tourists choose Bristol as their desired destination for a week or weekend break. The Victoria Square Hotel situated in the heart of Clifton village, offers ideal accommodation whilst exploring the numerous attractions available in Bristol.

Bristol zoo

Among one of the many attractions that Bristol has to offer is Bristol Zoo Gardens. Having been awarded “Zoo of the Year 2004”, the 12-acre site in Clifton is an ideal day out for anyone enjoying a weekend break in Bristol. The zoo its self is ran by the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society Ltd and has a continuous reputation for excellence, innovation, and dedication to conservation. Excluding the London, Bristol Zoo is the fifth oldest zoo in the world. Why not add this major tourist attraction to your “to do list” when staying in Bristol.

Architecture

An eclectic combination of architectural styles can be found in and around Bristol, the largest city in South West England. From Medieval to 20th century brutalism, a wide range of styles are present along with buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom. Large Tudor mansions can be found outside Bristols historical city centre. The construction of the floating harbour has been a pivotal point for industrial development and growth. Some of the structural highlights include the Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed Clifton Suspension Bridge and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

Shopping

When it comes to shopping, you really are spoilt for choice in Bristol. Just outside Bristol City Centre is The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. Consisting of 135 top name stores and 7000 free parking spaces, The Mall is a dynamic, easily accessible shopping venue. If you have chosen a centrally located Bristol Hotel then the newly developed Cabot Circus is idea for browsing the retail stores. After recently being awarded the retail and leisure industry`s BCSC (British Council of Shopping Centres) Supreme Gold Award, Cabots Circus has gone from strength to strength also landing the joint gold for best “In Town Retail Scheme of more than 30000 square feet”. Facilities include over 120 stores, cafes, restaurants and a deluxe cinema.

Despite the recession, the economy in Bristol is sustaining it growth and development. Bristol accommodation and hotels are thriving on tourists looking for weekend breaks in Bristol and professionals looking for business accommodation. This is due to the cities diverse flexibility offering a historic feel along with a developing social and economic scene.

AOD May Decimate the Oak Population

Woodland Heritage, a coalition of 10 conservation and business groups, are seeking £10 million over the next five years to find a cure for Acute Oak Decline (AOD), a disease with the potential to change the British landscape even more than Dutch elm disease managed 30-years ago. Both of Britain’s native oak species, pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) and sessile oak (Q. petraea) are affected.

AOD is thought to be caused by a previously unknown bacteria that causes trees to “bleed” black fluid, killing them within five years.

At the moment the disease is spreading to North Wales and is also threatening oaks in the West of England, and is even beginning to attack ancient oaks, some of which have lived for more than 400-years.

AOD is not the only disease that British oaks need help in fighting. Another disease, Sudden Oak Death (SOD), caused by a relative of potato blight, has already been recorded at dozens of locations across the UK and, despite its name, affects more than 100 species of plants and trees. SOD is also killing oak and other species of tree and has had devastating effects on the oak populations in California and Oregon.

But early analysis suggests AOD is far more dangerous, causing multiple oozing lesions in the bark of a tree, before gradually destroying leaf growth and leading to death. It attacks oaks which have lived for 50-years or more.

Scientists at Forest Research, the research arm of the Forestry Commission, the government department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain’s forests and woodlands, have identified three types of bacteria believed to be the cause of the infection, but the precise mechanism of the disease is not understood, hampering attempts to control its spread.

Oaks are by far the most common deciduous trees in England, accounting for 16 per cent of all woodland – double that of the next most common species, beeches and sycamores.

However, there is no need to panic and put off ideas about building a conservatory or orangery for your home in oak. Many conservatory builders in the UK source their oak from sustainable sources in Eastern Europe, so you have the reassurance that you will not be removing oaks from the UK landscape to have a conservatory built.