Dorset's Winter Birds
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Meadows & hills
In February, see Dorset's wonderful winter birds. Poole Harbour and Arne RSPB reserve have huge numbers of wildfowl and waders in the winter. A variety of divers, grebes, and raptors are also present at this time. Arne is one of the best places in the country to see Dartford warblers. We’ll also visit Radipole Lake RSPB reserve where bitterns and bearded tits can be seen. Portland Bill can be good for sea-watching in the winter, and birds such as black redstarts and purple sandpipers are regularly seen here.
- Each day enjoy a leisurely walk with plenty of stops to see birds and wildlife
- Our expert leader will guide you round the best sites
- A relaxed and informative way of enjoying the great outdoors
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- A full programme of excursions and visits
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
- Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary
West Lulworth House has a wonderful elevated location just 200 yards from the sea. Its elevated location overlooking Lulworth Cove allows spectacular views from many of the rooms, the garden and the outdoor swimming pool. The house has undergone major investment with the completion of a new lounge and dining room
We have 20 newly refurbished bedrooms at West Lulworth House, many with wonderful views down to the sea.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Recently extended
• New lounge and dining room opening up onto a terrace with views over the cove
• Free WiFi is available in the public rooms
|• South-facing garden
• Outdoor swimming pool (Open in summer)
• Complimentary parking for guests is available in the public car park opposite the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). We invite everyone to afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
Each morning after a hearty breakfast, we get cracking and enjoy a full day absorbed in what we love doing best: birdwatching. Each day we’ll spend most of the day outdoors, enjoying walks of up to 6 miles (10km) with plenty of stops to listen to the birds and enjoy a tasty picnic lunch together. Later on we can enjoy the sociable activities on offer at the Country House or quietly relax in the bar or a cosy lounge.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Wildfowl & waders
Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world, and is an important wintering site for wildfowl and waders. We’ll visit a number of sites around the harbour. Arne RSPB reserve is situated in the harbour and is a stronghold for Dartford Warblers and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. It is also one of the best sites in Dorset to see wintering Spoonbills. Bliss for birdwatchers!
Some regular rarities
Radipole Lake and Lodmoor RSPB reserves attract a variety of wintering birds, as well as regular rarities. Lodmoor can be a good site for Scaup too.
Portland Bill is a nationally important migration watchpoint. We’ll visit the observatory for an update on recent sightings, and do some sea watching . We’ll then explore the area around Portland Harbour, Chesil Beach, and the Fleet (a good area for Firecrest in the winter).
Hunting for harriers
Holt Heath National Nature Reserve is a good site for seeing Hen Harriers and Merlin hunting. We’ll then continue to Christchurch Harbour, one of the best birdwatching sites in the county due to its variety of habitats. Although a relatively small area, it can hold large numbers of waterfowl in the winter. This promises to be a splendid day to round off our brilliant holiday!
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide (optional) - the new Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide
Lulworth Cove is a justifiably popular destination, with day-trippers and holiday-makers drawn by the stunning local scenery. The Cove itself is a near-perfect circle which has been carved by the waves into the soft rocks. A 20 minute walk along the cliff path will take you to Durdle Door, the area's other geological wonder. This impressive natural sea arch has been carved from the harder chalk rocks. The free Heritage Centre next to the public car park is well worth a visit during your stay.
Facilities in Lulworth Cove are limited to a selection of pubs, cafés and souvenir shops. The nearest towns are Wareham, Dorchester and Weymouth, which all have a good selection of banks, chemists and supermarkets.
During your visit to Dorset you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum at Bovington, 20 minutes' drive north of Lulworth Cove, houses a particularly impressive collection of tanks from around the world. Trace the history from the tank's origins in the First World War to the present day. www.tankmuseum.org
Situated just a couple of miles inland from the cove, Lulworth Castle is a 17th century mock medieval castle that was once the heart of an extensive estate. Having been gutted by fire in 1929 it was derelict for many years, but has since been completely renovated. www.lulworth.com/castle
The iconic ruins of Corfe Castle stand guard over a natural gap in the Purbeck Hills, about 30 minutes' drive from Lulworth. Dating from the 11th century it is now maintained by the National Trust. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle
Ride on this lovingly restored branch line through the glorious Purbeck countryside. Steam hauled trains run throughout the year. You may want to leave your car in the Park & Ride at Norden, about 30 minutes' drive from Lulworth, and use the railway to visit the attractive seaside resort of Swanage. www.swanagerailway.co.uk
Located near Wool, 20 minutes' drive north of Lulworth Cove, Monkey World is a great family attraction. Orginally set up to rescue mistreated monkeys from overseas, it is now home to a huge collection of primates of all shapes and sizes. www.monkeyworld.org
Brownsea Island is located in the middle of Poole Harbour – boats depart from Poole Quay and Sandbanks, about 40 minutes' drive from Lulworth Cove. The island is now a nature reserve, managed by the National Trust and one of last remaining places to spot red squirrels in the UK. Brownsea is also famous as the location of the world's first scout camp in 1907. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island
Weymouth is a fine Regency seaside resort with an ever-popular beach and bustling harbour.
Thomas Hardy’s Cottage
The writer Thomas Hardy was one of Dorset’s most celebrated residents who used the local towns and villages around Dorchester as the setting for many of his novels. His birthplace near Dorchester is around 30 minutes' drive away and now owned by the National Trust. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardy-country
Athelhampton House & Gardens
Located near Dorchester, about 30 minutes' drive away, Athelhampton House is a fine Tudor building dating from 1485. The surrounding formal gardens are also impressive and were built between 1891 - 1899. www.athelhampton.co.uk
This fine country house and estate is located near Wimborne Minster, about 45 minutes' drive from Lulworth Cove. Dating from 1665, and now managed by the National Trust, it houses a fine collection of antiques, with many notable examples from the Middle East and Egypt. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy
Kingston Lacey image ©National Trust Images/Chris Lacey, Swanage Railway image © Brian Robert Marshall
Travel to Lulworth Cove
Our address is: West Lulworth House, Lulworth Cove, Dorset BH20 5RJ
The nearest railway station is at Wool. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 5 mile journey from Wool railway station takes approximately 10 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £13 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the West Lulworth House Manager.
The recommended route is via Bere Regis and Wool – although slightly longer this avoids the traffic through Bournemouth and Poole. From Bere Regis follow signs to Wool. At Wool cross the level crossing and turn left following signs to Lulworth Cove and West Lulworth. Continue for a further 4 miles to Lulworth Cove. As you enter Lulworth Cove Village, there is a slip road on your left to West Lulworth House. Park on the slip road if you would like to take advantage of our bag drop off service, which is available from 10am to 6.30pm, on arrival and departure days. You can then continue to the public car park at the end of the slip road to park your car. This car park is free for HF Holidays’ guests. Pick up a parking permit from West Lulworth House.
Travelling from overseas
If you're travelling from Europe the most convenient airport is at Southampton. From Southampton Airport Parkway station (adjacent to the airport terminal) there are direct trains every hour to Wool - journey time 1hr 20mins. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for details.
For most guests, travelling to either London Heathrow or London Gatwick airport is the best option. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for onward connections by train to Wool.
Steve has been leading for HF Holidays since 1985. He has led numerous holidays from our Worldwide selection including holidays in the Caribbean, New Zealand, Canada, South America, South Africa, Asia, and many of our European destinations.
Steve also regularly leads for our Leisure Activities department running holidays on wildlife, photography, geology, and astronomy. He has good knowledge of wildlife, especially birdlife.
His interest in astronomy often takes him to various parts of the world to see and photograph solar eclipses.
He lives in Lancaster where he manages a small local nature reserve.
Steve is leading our 10 January 2018 departure.