I had a wonderful few days visiting Dartmouth and Dawlish where I stayed a night with my friend Knocker and saw the famous Dawlish black swans and met the team of orange railwaymen who have restored the line that was so devastated in February by the storms that hit the south coast. Massive sea defences were being put in place in case it ever happens again.
I looked in at Exmouth at teatime where beyond a vast shingle beach people come to windsurf after work, and from Budleigh Salterton to Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast. Cheyenne and her husband, wardens at the Pooh Cottage Campsite at Budleigh Salterton, had a wonderful trip, travelling around the coast of Britain like me but taking two years to do it. She recommended that I should see the quarry at Beer, where stone was quarried from Roman times until the 1920s. The enchanting village of Beer is on my list of ‘places I’d like to go back to for a weekend’.
The Jurassic Coast is an incredible 95-mile stretch of 180 million years of geology that starts near Exmouth and ends at Swanage. I visited Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and plan to visit again, maybe in February when they won’t be so crowded. Golden Cap near Charmouth is the highest point along the south coast and well worth the climb for the views, and maybe the best view I had of Chesil Beach was from the top of the Isle of Portland. The Swannery at Abbotsbury is another must, and I was there to take a full part in teatime (feeding time is at 12 noon and 4pm) which I loved.
This entire stretch of coastline is such a
wonder and, after all its wild geology, I thought Poole Harbour sounded a bit
tame, somewhere I would ‘tick off’. I headed for the quay and saw the glitziest
array of gin palaces bobbing in the water. They must be a rich lot in Poole, I
thought, until I realized I was looking at the parking lot for Sunseeker which
has its HQ here. I got on a more modest vessel for a tour of the harbour and to
see Brownsea Island which is run by the National Trust and was another
delightful surprise. Lord Baden-Powell brought his first ever band of Scouts to
camp here and it is home to a rare colony of red squirrels.
|Feeding time at The Swannery|
The boat came back past Sandbanks and the helpful skipper, giving his commentary, said: “The middle one of those houses over there belongs to Harry Rednap. He doesn’t much like us pointing that out! And the one next to it has just been sold for £9million.” And when he said ‘next to it', they really are close together. I would expect something more secluded for my £9million!