Tipi Camping & Stargazing at Dancing Ledge

I never got round to sharing my birthday weekend from back in August. Now that autumn has well and truly overtaken in England, I’m really missing the long summer days that we had. That’s not to say that autumn here isn’t incredibly beautiful, but everyone likes the sunshine right?

There was no exotic destination for my birthday this year – but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any travel for me at all! Instead of just spending the weekend at home, Luke and I dug out my family’s tipi which hadn’t been used for years and headed just half hour away from the house to the Dorset coastline.

Charlie birthday - Luke and our tipi - Toms field Dancing Ledge Dorset 1000

I’d seen on a National Trust map that my mum had brought home, that there was a cliff side spot called Dancing Ledge where you can go stargazing because the view is so clear that if you use some of the best binoculars coming out these days, you can observe a few wonderful sky-events. There’s a walking route which goes straight through a campsite called Tom’s Field – where we pitched up our tipi – and joins the coastal path that eventually leads to Lulworth. So after reading a lot of survival backpack reviews and getting geared up , we were ready.

Climbing Dancing Ledge Dorset

Dancing Ledge is a flat area of rock which sits at the base of a cliff. The ledge is a former stone quarry which was used last during the 1930s. By day, there were lots of families paddling in the shallow pools of water that have formed on the ledge, so Luke and I walked along the coastal path, and came back round to the ledge at nightfall.

Dancing Ledge Dorset Sheep in Toms Field campsite

Dancing Ledge Dorset sunset

It didn’t get dark until quite late, past 9pm. We lay on the cliff side looking up at the stars while a couple of other adventurists walked by carrying their tents for a night of wild camping. Their flashlights lost power and needed assistance so I lent them an extra one we had, I always have extra flashlights packed for this exact reason. I am somewhat of a flashlight enthusiast, to give you an idea of how true this is, I had read about the top 10 tactical flashlights prior to coming here and I still don’t consider myself an expert. The temperature dropped pretty quickly on the hillside and Luke and I were soon forced to hurry back, teeth chattering to the warmth of our tipi.

Charlie birthday - tipi in the dark - Dancing Ledge Dorset

The next morning we woke up fresh and achy, and headed to Cafe Boscanova – one of my favourite veggie friendly places in Dorset – for a big bowl of warming stewed apple porridge. What better way to start the day?

Where’s the best stargazing spot you’ve ever been to?


Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

4 thoughts to “Tipi Camping & Stargazing at Dancing Ledge”

  1. Star gazing on a special occasion, how romantic. I’m getting to discover Dorset’s coastline myself and I am always amazed at what it has to offer, but I think that it’s fair to say, that wherever you are in world, it can be enjoyed even more when you’re with people you love!:) Thank you for sharing that part of England on your blog.

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