Now that we are allowed to travel farther afield, we have been busy exploring some new parts of our home county of Dorset.
Isaac is currently studying rocks in Geography in school and asked us if we could visit a quarry, so we took home to Tout Quarry which is set on Portland, near Weymouth.
Tout Quarry Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park is an abandoned stone quarry which has been turned into a stone sculpture park. I have to admit that we have only ever driven past before, but it is a great place to visit with kids.
Not only are there 60 hidden sculptures to find in the quarry, but stunning views over Chesil Beach and Portland Harbour and it is all completely free.
The first set of sculptures are easy to find, just a short walk from the car park.
Some of the sculptures have stories attached to them, like The Roy Dog – a mythical beast as high as a man, with large fiery eyes, one green and one red, which was said to live at Cave Hole on the south-east side of the island, and would drag any traveller passing by into its watery lair.
What you have at the quarry is the ultimate kids (and big kids) playground, with rocks to climb, nooks and crannies to explore and the challenge of finding all the sculptures.
The kids absolutely loved it and raced around, making up stories and really getting their imaginations fired up.
There are a number of paths that criss-cross the site, allowing you to find the hidden sculptures that are worked into the rocks – some even require you to climb them to see the whole design.
In addition to being a sculpture park, the area is also a designated nature reserve, the stone left to regenerate naturally with a host of uncommon plants, such as rock stonecrop and Portland spurge.
The site has plenty of wide paths, suitable for buggy’s, however the ground is quite stony and loose under foot, so don’t expect a smooth ride.
The kids also love the stone temple, pretending it was a Jedi meditation temple from Star Wars.
Just across the road from this temple is the sculpture of the Olympic ring, made of Portland stone, which also offers fabulous views over Chesil Beach.
We spent a good couple of hours exploring the quarry and to make a full day of it, we then headed to the southernmost tip of Portland, to Portland Bill lighthouse.
The lighthouse is currently closed to visitors, but should be re-opening when restrictions lift in May. Check out our previous visit to Portland Bill lighthouse and the pirate graveyard by clicking the link.
One thing to note is that there is no shelter in either of these places and we saw snow, rain and wind on our day out, so wear sensible shoes and clothing – luckily we made it back to the car before the heaven’s really opened!
Have you visited Portland before?