Sunday roast at Lulworth Cove Inn lrMonkeys at Monkeyworld lr

L-R: Sunday roast at Lulworth Cove Inn and monkeys at Monkey World


By Tim Saunders

I have fond memories of visiting Lulworth Cove and Wareham as a child. During the warm summer days my mother, sister and I would enjoy walking to the beach and when we were feeling adventurous enough we would make our way up the cove itself. This is the backdrop to the historic fishing village, which featured in blockbuster Hollywood film World War Z starring Brad Pitt as well as Doctor Who.

Having moved to Hampshire some years ago East Dorset is a part of the world that I have not visited for at least a decade. And so when the opportunity arises to revisit I jump at the chance. Very little has changed, which is so encouraging. There is a selection of historic, well maintained properties lining either side of the road that leads to the pebble beach. Sitting by a large window inside Lulworth Cove Inn the view can be savoured whatever the weather. In fact when we visit, the sunshine quickly disappears to be replaced by lashing, driving rain and in the distance the violent waves smash against the cliffs. It was the Victorians that really ignited interest in this area primarily for its beach and since then countless generations have continued to visit.

Inside the cosy inn the walls are freshly decorated in a combination of wood and warming turquoise. We indulge in a roast beef Sunday lunch (mine is accompanied by a pint of Badger First Call, brewed by Hall & Woodhouse). You have to take your hat off to a family business like Blandford based Hall & Woodhouse, which owns this pub because it has been trading since 1777. Imagine the recessions and economic difficulties that this business must have experienced. And yet it remains a family owned company; its experience standing it in good stead. In fact today it owns and operates 195 pubs. Hall & Woodhouse has owned Lulworth Cove Inn since 2006 and employs 20 staff there. As we tuck into our roast it is clear to see that the beef is good quality and succulent. We all really enjoy this meal.

Monkey World is only five miles or so away from here near Wool, Wareham. Jim Cronin opened the 65-acre centre in 1987 and it is now home to 250 rescued apes of more than 20 species. This includes 59 chimpanzees. Born in Africa they are taken from their family groups as youngsters, which results in their parents being killed when trying to stop the poachers. The youngsters are then smuggled around the world. The chimps at Monkey World come from as far away as Dubai, Mexico and Taiwan as well as Europe. In Spain they are dressed in clothes and work by entertaining tourists in resorts.

Monkey World is an educational experience for visitors and no matter how old or young you cannot help to be interested in the variety of different primates. Heidi (2) and Harriett (4) particularly enjoy looking through the glass at Erico’s capuchin monkeys, which seem especially happy and playful. Some of these were rescued from a bio-medical laboratory in Chile in 2008. Monkey World plays a hugely important role in looking after the world’s monkeys. It assists governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild.

This is just a snapshot of what this part of Dorset has to offer in terms of hospitality and entertainment but both of these businesses play a vital role.

Watch Monkey Life, series 8 on Pick, Freeview.

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