Author: Katie Burden

Alex aged 9 on Golden Cap

Alex aged 9 on Golden Cap

#lovethejurassiccoast… Let me count the ways.

It’s the view of Lyme Bay from the A35, once the tummy twisting vista of a holiday about to start, now the wonderful signal of arriving home.

It’s the smell of the slippery grey clays leaching from the cliffs at Seatown.

It’s the look on a child’s face when they pick up a rock on the beach and they believe that it really could be a dinosaur bone…

It’s the layer upon layer of time and history stacked up in a golden cliff.

It’s blue of the sea and the white of the chalk and the fragile strength of the sea stack.

It’s the strange language of cherts and oolite, slips and crumples.

It’s magic pebbles that appear out of cliffs or arrange themselves neatly like a child’s sorting puzzle.

It’s dinosaurs marching in the minds of children, roaring across Purbeck, stomping through the Undercliff.

It’s the honour of saying, laughing but serious, that my local cliffs are as globally important as the Taj Mahal, puffing with pride as we picnic on a beach that gives the Grand Canyon a run for its money.

It’s the way that I feel when I run along the coast path, so palpably, physically in and of the moment, and yet so free and ephemeral, absorbed into the perspective of millions of years.

It’s because this is bold, ancient, powerful landscape that demands my attention but has no need of it… a greensand capped cliff creates starstruck wonder no matter how many times I scale it, a lifelong passion, tantalisingly unrequited.

It’s the cyclists and swimmers, sailors and walkers, the glint of fool’s gold and the soft yielding treasures of Kimmeridge clay.

It’s the people that gather here, that see what I see and feel what I feel, and who bring such talents and passions to bear, breathing life into rocks, creating the stories of these stones.

It’s the way I feel when I talk to a fellow enthusiast – we talk over each other, smiling, we can’t speak fast enough. Hands gesturing, fingers pointing, peppering each other with “yes exactly” and “that’s just what I thought”. A union over rocks. A relationship built upon the fracturing seam between land and sea.

Alex's son James, aged 1, on Seatown beach

Alex’s son James, aged 1, on Seatown beach

It’s the certainty of knowing that this is my place. It’s the sound of my feet. It’s the depth of my breath. It’s the relaxing of my jaw. It’s the wind in my hair. It’s the intensity of a lifetime within a moment. A million years within a millimetre. It’s my children stepping through time to walk in my own childish footsteps.

These things and more.


Alex O’Dwyer

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