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  • Writer's pictureGary Holpin

Six of the best photography spots on route 2 of the SW660

In this blog we look at a quick overview of some of my favourite photo locations. You may (or may not!) know that I am the resident photographer for South West 660, a road trip around the coast of south west England (you may recognise some of the photos on their website!). The route is split into 12 routes, and I was recently asked to write a blog about my favourite photo locations along route 2, from Weymouth to Lyme Regis, so I thought I would share it with you.

1. Portland Bill

Just west of Weymouth is Portland Bill, with its distinctive and iconic red and white striped lighthouse on the end, rugged coastline scarred by centuries of mining of Portland stone, and exposed to the worst weather that the stormy English Channel can throw at it.

Best conditions: Sunrise, sunset, stormy conditions or dark starry nights

Best shots: The lighthouse or stormy seas around Pulpit Rock or the old boat winch.

2. Around Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury is a scenic picture postcard village at the western end of Chesil Beach, and well worth a visit in its own right. It is also surrounded by beautiful Dorset countryside with a number of elevated viewpoints for photos of the Jurassic Coast and Chesil beach below. There are great views from St Catherine’s Chapel to the west of the village, and even better views from the ridge high above the north of the town (from where these photos were taken, looking east towards Chesil Beach and Portland). 

Best conditions: Clear sunrises or sunsets when the landscape is lit by golden hour light

Best shots: Photos of the chapel or views of Chesil and Portland from the South Dorset Ridgeway above the village.

3. Hive Beach (Burton Bradstock)

Hive Beach is a popular National Trust shingle beach near to Burton Bradstock, on a particularly scenic stretch of the Jurassic Coast. The iconic yellow sandstone cliffs between Hive Beach and West Bay provide great interest for photos, although they are also very unstable so be careful when you are near them! Hive is great for winter sunsets when the sun sets over the sea to the west and you can get both the golden cliffs and the setting sun in the same shot.

Best conditions: Clear winter sunsets.

Best shots: Waves, beach, sea, and golden cliffs make great subjects, especially when lit up by the setting sun!

4. West Bay

At the western end of the golden cliffs seen at Hive Beach is the small harbour town of West Bay. Famous both for its golden limestone cliffs, as well as being the setting for the hit TV series, Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman, West Bay is worth a visit in its own right, but also a great landscape photo location.

Best conditions: Winter sunrises and sunsets when the sun rises and sets out to sea, lighting up the golden cliffs.

Best shots:  Shots from the harbour east along the beach with the cliffs beyond, or from the beach itself to make more of those amazing cliffs (but be careful as they are very unstable!)

5. Colmer's Hill

We’re moving slightly inland for this next location, with the iconic Colmer’s Hill, just inland from the main A35 between Bridport and Chideock. Easy to miss as you drive past, a trip to Colmer’s Hill is definitely worth it for fabulous views over the Dorset countryside and Jurassic coast beyond. Some of the best views can be seen from climbing up Quarry Hill to the west or Eype Down to the south.

Best conditions: Winter mornings with fog in the valley

Best shots: Everyone wants the iconic shot of sunrise over the valley, which is filled with fog and just the top of Colmer’s Hill visible above it!

6. Lyme Regis

Finally on our look at photo locations on route 2 is Lyme Regis. It’s a fabulous town, with even a sandy beach (although the sand is shipped in from elsewhere!) but does get very busy peak season, so the best time to visit with your camera is off season. The most iconic photo view has got to be the famous Cobb.

Best conditions: Winter sunrises when the sun rises over the sea, or stormy conditions for waves breaking over The Cobb.

Best shots: Either shots (from a distance) of waves breaking over the Cobb and the harbour, or shots taken from the sea wall with the sun rising beyond.

Want to jump-start your learning?

Don't forget that if you want some direct help with your photography, I offer a range of 1-2-1 photography courses for Devon based folks. If you're not nearby then I also  offer residential weekends for beginners or intermediate photographers.

A student learning photography on a Devon beach, with Devon Photographer Gary Holpin Photography

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