Saturday, 31 July 2021

Why has nobody told me about this place?

We came home on Saturday morning after 9 nights away. 2 at my sister's on the Somerset-Dorset border and 7 on the coast east of Bournemouth. Last year we'd had a few days based in central Bournemouth (London on Sea - and not the good bits) and cycled up to Mudeford Spit by Hengistbury head). But we didn't go up on the head itself. 

On late Friday afternoon the Margravina and I went for a stroll eastwards along the prom, and kept going, beyond where the prom ended. We'd originally intended to turn back at the end of the prom but decided on the spur to keep going. Initially it looked like it would rain, but we were in. 'what the heck mood'. And as ever with spontaneous walks, it turned into a belter. Here are some snaps taken along the way.

The weather had been overcast most of the week but visibility was the best on Friday. Looking west towards the Isle of Purbeck and Durlston Head (far left). Ironically I'd just read the Last Kingdom in which the Danish fleet was wrecked off the aforementioned headland.

Looking easst heading down the cliff at Southbourne

Looking east. Isle of Wight in the background. The Needles are the tiny 'bumps' to the right of the white cliff.


Looking across to Christchurch

Hengistbury Head


Just about visible, due south of Bournemouth, a 4-master



This had me fooled until I got close up. It's a 2 metre tall model of the  rock strata. Sadly there's no sign explaining what all the layers are.



Walking up the path to the top of the head.




Looking back west across the bay



Near the top of the head, looking east. The water in the middle ground is Christchurch Harbour, a tidal estuary with a very narrow mouth to the left of the sand spit (Mudeford Spit).



View towards Christchurch. Christchurch is at the meeting point of two rivers, the Avon and the Stour, both of which flow into the tidal harbour. Both rivers have multiple namesakes in the UK. Avon apparently derives from the Brythonic word for 'river' or 'water' (cognate with modern Welsh 'Afon') so River Avon is a Geographical Tautology.

View down to Mudeford Spit. Those structures are wooden beach huts (about 2m by 3m).




Quarry Pond. As its name suggests. Looks tempting.




Last year we discovered that one of these beach huts sold for £360,000.  Hold that thought for a minute. Many have electricity (a close up shows solar panels) but none have running water, and sleeping over night is forbidden although many have mezzanine floors so I'm sure it happens.



Another view towards Christchurch. I have no idea wha the hill is on the right. it looks like a site for a hill fort.

Looking back up Quarry Pond





Down the ridge to Christchurch Harbour.






Looks calm but we tried kayaking on this a couple of days before (to be fair in windier weather) and it was flipping hard work.





The rampart and ditch were clearly large, even after 2500 years. The wooden beam is  about 2 metres high.


Suffice to say, we were gobsmacked. Every direction that we looked was pleasing to say the least. And so close to London. I think we'll be going back.


20 comments:

  1. Oh, super photos and a perfect place for a long walk. Thanks for sharing a photo journal of your excursion.

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    1. You’re most welcome Jonathan. According to my wife’s watch it was a round trip of 10.5 km (6 miles?). Not too long but I had the wrong footwear.

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  2. Most interesting photos. I really enjoyed seeing them. I recall the Head from Bournemouth holidays as a boy. I haven’t been back since but it looks well worth a visit.

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    1. Last year was the first time that I’d been to Bournemouth properly. I’d been for a couple of football matches, a work meeting and passed through on the way to Sandbanks, but these were quick in and out trips.

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  3. Looks like a very nice part of the world and well worth a return trip. It's nice to make this type of discovery after decades of hearing the name of a place but never actually visiting!

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    1. It’s not bad considering it’s less than two hours away.

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  4. Great photos the place looks lovely.
    Regards,
    Paul.

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  5. Great looking and really interesting looking walk,good to know as I don't mind Bournemouth!
    Best Iain

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    1. My judgment was coloured a bit by all the idiots wandering around last Summer not looking where they we’re going, and people playing loud ‘music’ on the beach. I’m a proper paid up member of the Grumpy Old Man Club 😁

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  6. Spent many a happy time in Boscombe (slight difference to Bournemouth!), but it’s all too busy now. If you walk in the opposite direction to Christchurch it’s a lot nicer. I think it went downhill when they stopped painting the benches different colours.

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    1. You don’t have to walk far from Boscombe pier to lose the crowds. We were based in Southbourne which is on the Christchurch side of Boscombe. One day we walked to the pier area and went from seeing the odd small group on the beach and occasional joggers to busy seaside. Not as busy as Bournemouth though.

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  7. Benches and the Shell House. And Woolcos. And they filled in the paddling pool… STaB are a nice bunch, though! I went a couple of times when I lived in Amesbury, but it’s too far to travel now. Glad you had a nice time, though. I miss being an hour from the sea.

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  8. Thanks for the photos of some very nice coastal scenery. We're hoping to get to the coast for a day trip or two sometime this Summer, which will be good for the soul. Nice bit of info re: the meaning of the river Avon, which I never knew before:)

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    1. Ah yes, you’re Bristol way so you also have a River River nearby. You can imagine the conversation between the Britons and the Anglo-Saxon incomers.
      Hengist: I say Horsa old fruit, you have to say things slowly and very loudly to these Welsh Johnnies, they don’t talk English properly.
      Horsa: HEY THERE. YES YOU. WOULD YOU AWFULLY MIND TELLING ME WHAT THIS IS [pointing to river]
      Dafydd : what’s this idiot want Mffanwy?
      Mffanwy: I think he’s asking what the river is.
      Dafydd: well how should I know. It’s a river. [to Horsa in Brythonic]. Look see boyo, we’re not from rround here is it. That thing there is a river. RIV-ER!
      Horsa to Hengist: I haven’t a clue what this cove is saying it’s all gobbledygook, but I think he said “Avon”. This must be the river Avon.
      Hengist: Well it’s a dashed long river, old chap. That local said the one where we arrived near my new headland was called the Avon and it extends all the way up here near that place where the Romans used to take a Bath.

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  9. She's a 5 master... this one has been in the Solent over the last few weeks.. https://www.islandecho.co.uk/5-masted-cruise-ship-visits-cowes-for-the-first-time/

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    1. Ah, I didn’t have my ‘distance’ glasses on. Just my varifocals 😄.

      She’s certainly big!

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  10. The Geological column takes me back I did a lot of field work in Dorset as a student as the Geology department head was from Dorset. I could (once upon a time) have probably taken you through the sequence. All I remember now id the Purbeck and Portland limestones, the greater and inferior oolites (which sound like weird religious sects now I think about it) and the Kimmeridge clay!

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  11. The Oolites sect. 😆

    Wasn’t Kimmeridge Clay the Vice President in the 1900s?

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