Almost there! One day to go until we complete the circumference of mainland Britain. Today we will continue along the north Devon coastline and into Somerset.
Photo of the day
White Lady in the Valley of Rocks near Lynton.
We made our first stop of the day at Westward Ho! Beach, still looking a little sleepy. 😉 The unusual village name came from the local author Charles Kingsley’s book Westward Ho!
We don’t normally photograph pebbles, but these were lovely pebbles…. if you can call pebbles ‘lovely’?!
Overlooking the River Toridge at Appledore. We briefly parked up on the Churchfields Slipway, but there was a parking attendant lurking around, so we moved on…
Fishing boats moored at Bideford.
The medieval Bideford Long Bridge reflecting in the calm River Torridge. The stone bridge is one of the longest of its age in the country.
More reflections, this time on the River Caen at Velator Quay near Braunton Burrows.
Skirting around the flat fields and marshlands of Braunton Great Fields. The area is Britian’s first Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO.
Jarno busy with a little more sand-graffiti at Saunton Sands.
There were plenty of surfers taking the day off from work….
…and as we left and drove around the headland to Croyde Bay we had a magnificent aerial view of all the surfers at Saunton Sands.
Around the headland Croyde Bay and views to Baggy Point. A lovely crisp and fresh November morning.
Yet more surfers in Croyde Bay, looking back from Baggy Point.
Looking through some house gates at Baggy Point, this was their driveway and view – pretty cool!
After several country lane diversions which lead us on a long journey inland, we finally ended up back at the coast on the north side of Baggy Point at Woolacombe. The beautiful wide open sands of Woolacombe Beach in Morte Bay. The beach is considered one of the best in the world, often winning prizes.
Then looking north from Woolacombe Beach, past Barricane Beach and Grunta Beach to Morte Point.
The unusual double conical design of Ilfracombe’s Landmark Theatre, also know by locals as Madonna’s Bra ; -)!
Ilfracombe was full of surprises, including Damien Hirst’s Verity bronze sculpture on the harbour front.
To be honest the picture doesn’t do justice to how huge and impressive the Verity statue really was. We loved that a small town had embraced art like this.
The more expected and traditional view of Ilfracombe Harbour.
Some dodgy looking character caught in Watermouth Castle’s stocks.
Yachts below the castle in Watermouth Harbour.
Coombe Martin Beach nestled in a narrow valley. Random fact of the day – the village holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest street party!
As we continued our journey east, we drove slightly inland stopping in the tiny village of Parracombe. Winding our way through some of the smallest village lanes on our road-trip we finally found St Petrock’s Church up a muddy dirt track.
The calm and quaint church originally dated back 13th century. In the late 19th century the poet John Ruskin helped save the church from demolition with a £10 donation.
As we arrived in Lynton we first made a little detour through the Valley of Rocks. Glorious views west from the Valley of Rocks past the White Lady towards Wringcliff Bay and Woody Bay….
…. and north across the Bristol Channel from the South West Coast Path.
The West Lyn River gushing through Glen Lyn Gorge. In 1890 Lynton & Lynmouth were one of the first places in the country to be powered by hydro-electric power (from the East Lyn River).
The local thatched-roofed pub built down Lynmouth’s steep hillside.
Foreland Point across from Lynmouth’s seafront.
Looking down on Foreland Point as we drove up Countisbury Hill.
Views south across the rolling green Exmoor National Park from the National Trust’s Foreland Point.
Crossing from Devon into Somerset, we took another detour from the main road. We winded down through the picturesque Porlock Manor Estate Toll Road overlooking Porlock Weir and Hurlstone Point.
Another thatched-roofed pub as we reached Porlock.
Horner Water tumbling through woodland to Bossington Beach.
Tall chimneyed cottages lining the narrow lane from Bossington to Allerford on the Holnicote Estate.
The warm glow of the late afternoon sun illuminated the All Saints’ Church in the tiny village of Selworthy.
Wow, this is how we imagined Somerset… and we were bang on. Selworthy’s cream thatched cottages on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate.
Selworthy Green, and so so quiet, again we were the only visitors as we wandered around.
If you say Minehead to us, we think of Butlins (for the non-Brits – a holiday camp), but the view at dusk from the harbour couldn’t be more different…
The sculpture on Minehead’s seafront by Sarah Ward, marking the end (or start!) of the 630-mile South West Coast Path.
The view across Blue Anchor Bay back to Minehead.
After passing Dunster Castle, we made our final stop of the day at Watchet, where we found the harbour car-park surround by interesting street-art murals. We then continued our journey via the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage (which was closed) to Bridgwater for the night. Just one day to go until we complete our 49-day British Coastal Road Trip!!!
It’s just three days to go before we complete our entire coastal road trip! Today we are finishing off north Cornwall, driving alongside its famous golden sandy beaches, before we re-enter Devon as we drive towards Bideford.
Photo of the day
The sun setting as we headed down to Hartland Quay.
Long shadows in the early morning sun. We made our first stop of the day looping back from Newquay to the National Trust’s Holywell Beach.
Walking past the sand dunes towards Carter’s Rocks (AKA Gull Rocks) off Penhale Point.
Shells and their shadows scattered across Holywell Beach.
The Gannel Estuary at Crantock Beach, beside Rushy Green.
So it was a morning full of beaches… next stop the famous Fistral Beach, a surfers paradise, but none out this morning – yet.
Views back across Newquay Bay from the cliffs above the curiously named Lusty Glaze Beach (The Times Beach of the Year 2017)…
…and the view north towards Bedruthan Steps and beyond to Trevose Head.
The wide open sands of Watergate Bay, as we headed along the scenic B3276 coastal road.
A small plane flying overhead into nearby Newquay Airport.
The River Menalhyl streaming down Mawgan Porth Beach.
Peering over the Carnewas cliffs at Bedruthan.
Dramatic views north past Pendarves Island, Queen Bess Rock, Diggory’s Island and Park Head. In the distance you can just about make-out Trevose Head Lighthouse.
Another beautiful empty beach west of Padstow at Treyarnon Bay.
The South West Coastal Path along Chair Cove, behind some rather expensive looking houses at Constantine Bay. Some locals walking a dog stopped to talk to us, and asked if we were bankers!?… it seemed many locals were!
We seemed to be the only people on Cornwall’s beaches this morning not walking a dog 😉
A little alley in Padstow, AKA ‘Padstein’ after its famous local celebrity chef – Rick Stein.
Small fishing boats lining the quay. Quiet at this time of year, but heaving with tourists in the summer.
The coastal village of Rock, beyond the sandbank in the River Camel. We will drive past Rock as we continue northeast, but as we had been last year, we won’t stop this time.
Looping all the way around the River Camel, we made a brief stop to watch the surfers on Polzeath’s Beach.
Driving past The Rumps we stopped at the cosy Port Quin inlet, taken care of by the National Trust.
Driving to Port Isaac we realised we were going to end up driving right through the tiny village. We had remembered the lanes were really narrow from our trip here last year, so re-routed to park at the top of the village and walk down.
The TV series Doc Martin is filmed in Port Isaac. To be honest we have never watched Doc Martin so weren’t as excited as some visitors….
Choppy waters at the mouth of Port Isaac looking towards Varley Head.
Port Isaac Bay, with views northeast to Treknow.
Catching another glimpse of Port Isaac Bay over the fields near St Teath.
Wow, what a perfect day to visit. Tintagel Castle is normally packed with tourists, today it was just us and a few seagulls. So if you want to avoid the crowds come on a Monday afternoon in November 😉
The remains of the 13th century castle perched on the jagged slate cliffs.
The castle had been built here by Earl Richard of Cornwall, believing it to be the birthplace of King Arthur.
Boscastle had been devastated by the flooding of the River Valency in 2002, but has since been lovingly restored.
Fishing cottages down the cobbled Valency Row in Boscastle.
Widemouth Beach, popular with surfers, with Dizzard Point in the distance.
The clouds were parting like a zip to reveal the blue sky above Widemouth Bay.
At last!…. beach huts again on Summerleaze Beach at Bude, we had been missing beach huts on this stretch of coast.
The entrance to the Bude Canal. Started in the 1820s with the idea to link the English and Bristol Channels… however it didn’t get very far with the arrival of the railway later in the 19th century.
Leaving Bude and heading along the Hartland Cornwall Heritage Coast towards Morwenstow, the view was dominated by the satellite dishes at GCHQ Bude.
Before leaving Cornwall we stopped at Morwenstow, Cornwall’s northernmost point. We had intended to walk to the Hawker’s Hut along the cliffs. But a very muddy field was slowing our progress, we weren’t exactly sure we were on the right track, and light was fading fast. So we made do with the Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist across the fields.
On the way to Bideford, we made our final stop of the day at Hartland Quay. As we drove down the coastal track the sunset reflected beautifully off the car bonnet. Originally we had planned to also stop further along the coast at Clovelly, but it seems it was probably closed, and it would have been dark by then anyway. Oh well, we will leave Clovelly for another trip!
Wow! The weather today was stunning for late October. The freshness of the bright blue sky over Devon reminded us of the time we spent living in California, though Devon was a little colder 😉
Photo of the day
Another early start as we watched the sunrise over Paignton Pier.
Taking a look under the 238 metre long pier.
Julian had many fond memories of Broadsands Beach, having spent many summers here as a kid.
As well as many working fishing boats, there was also an interesting replica of Sir Francis Drake’s The Golden Hind ship sitting in the harbour.
Brixham Marina. William Prince of Orange and his Dutch army landed at Brixham in 1688 (the marina was built much later!). Many locals still have Dutch surnames.
The lighthouse at the end of Brixham’s long breakwater, with Paignton Pier in the background. The breakwater was great for a brisk walk and for its panoramic views across Torbay.
Driving along typically narrow Devon lanes, we arrived at Berry Head. As it was a clear day, we had lovely views west past Sharkham Point and St Mary’s Bay.
The lighthouse at Berry Head, the shortest lighthouse in Great Britain (6 metres), but also one of the highest above sea level (58 metres).
Jarno checking directions on Berry Head’s Compass.
A short drive southwest took us to the River Dart, where we crossed from Kingswear to Dartmouth on the Higher Ferry. Great timing too, as the ferry was just boarding as we arrived, so we drove straight on.
Looking up the River Dart on the short ferry crossing.
The Britannia Royal Naval College sitting above Dartmouth.
Plenty of yachts moored in the Dart Marina.
Driving along more narrow lanes took us to Dartmouth Castle, with stunning views across the Dart to some fabulous looking houses over at Kingswear.
The 15th century Dartmouth Castle next to Saint Petrox Church, overlooking the mouth of the River Dart.
Looking down the steep cliffs to Castle Cove.
A clear view across Start Bay past Blackpool Sands and Slapton Sands. We could hardly believe this was Devon at the end of October.
Waves crashing on Blackpool Sands.
Looks can be deceptive, it was actually pretty chilly whilst taking a break at The Venus Cafe.
Looking back down on Blackpool Sands as we continued our coastal drive.
Driving to Strete we passed sheep enjoying the autumn sunshine in the fields above Forest Cove.
Strete Gate Beach at the north end of Slapton Sands, which is technically a bar (a coastal one, not one you go for a drink in).
At the southern end of Slapton Sands we reached Torcross, and the Sherman tank at the Exercise Tiger Memorial.
The views from Start Point across Freshwater Bay and Start Bay were breathtaking. We could see all the way back along the coast we had just driven along in the morning.
Hallsands perched on cliffs next to Start Point.
Walking along the South West Coastal Path to Start Point Lighthouse.
The Grade II listed Start Point Lighthouse.
As we walked back along Start Point’s ridge, we had super views looking west along the South West Coast Path towards Mattiscombe.
A lone paraglider above the Start Point cliffs.
More narrow coastal lanes as we drove to and from Start Point. There were not many passing places, but fortunately it was very quiet this Monday morning. However, we then attempted to drive to East Prawle, but the lanes got so narrow that both sides of the car were being scratched by the hedges! At the first opportunity we then tried to make it back to slightly larger lanes. One recommendation, best to come here in a small car, a car you don’t care about or a tractor.
A typical Devon village road winding its way between cottages at West Charleton.
The low autumn sun reflecting on Bowcombe Creek near Kingsbridge.
Views over Lincombe to the Kingsbridge Estuary, along the road to Malborough.
Looking across Batson Creek, from Salcombe to East Portlemouth.
Be careful where you drive! Union street ended abruptly at the lifeboat station. Salcombe really was a maze of tiny roads. Fortunately, as it was a quiet day out-of-season, we were really lucky to park on a street right down by the harbour.
The local pub squeezed into the waters edge by the ferry landing.
We wound our way up through more tiny lanes to Overbecks, a National Trust property overlooking Salcombe. Unfortunately it had closed for the season, so we peeped over the garden walls to take in the the views across Salcombe Harbour and the Kingsbridge Estuary.
The Outer Hope Beach at Hope Cope, and our first glimpse across Bigbury Bay to Burgh Island.
Lobster pots sitting along the sandy Inner Hope Harbour.
Boats tied up on the Inner Hope Beach.
On our way to Bigbury-on-Sea, we somehow ended up on a shortcut alongside the River Avon at Bridge End, near Aveton Gifford.
The aptly named Tidal Road had little protection from the River Avon. Anyway, we continued on our way and were fortunately fine.
We arrived at Burgh Island just as the sun started to go down.
The Island is most famous for its Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel. Agatha Christie wrote a few of her books whilst staying here. Julian was also lucky enough to stay here several years ago (in the Agatha Christie room), and loved it!
Newton Creek surrounded by Noss Mayo on the opposite side, and Newton Ferrers on our side.
Great, we made it to Wembury Beach, our final stop just before the daylight disappeared. There was a little stream running down the beach, which made a great end-shot for the day. That’s all for day forty-three. On Day forty-four we will continue our coastal road trip from Plymouth.
Today we will be driving 130 miles along the Dorset coast and into Devon. The distance is a little more than we had originally planned, as we decided to visit Portland Bill early this morning, rather than yesterday evening. The clocks also went back today, so we made an early start soon after sunrise.
Photo of the day
The cliffs at Sidmouth.
An early Sunday morning stop at Weymouth Beach, and someone was already going for a swim in the sea. Looks chilly.
Weymouth’s Drawbridge in the old town harbour.
We were the only people walking around the historic harbour on this very quiet Sunday morning.
We stopped next at Nothe Fort, but it hadn’t opened yet for the day, so we drove on to Sandsfoot Castle. The castle had been completed in 1541 by Henry VIII to defend against attacks from the French and Spanish.
Isle of Portland
After a quick stop at Portland Castle at the bottom of the hill, we continued on to The Olympic Rings Stone Sculpture. There were great views across Weymouth and Chesil Beach stretching west as far as the eye could see.
Portland Bill’s current working lighthouse at the tip of the Isle.
The previous Old Higher Lighthouse, over a hedge and across fields at the top of Branscombe Hill…
…and its sister, the Old Lower Lighthouse.
Driving back to the mainland, we drove along the edge of Chesil Beach (AKA Chesil Bank), that we had seen from the Olympic Rings. The 18 mile long shingle beach is one of the largest in Britain.
Driving inland, almost parallel to Chesil Beach, through rolling green fields towards Abbotsbury Abbey.
Looking back-down to Chesil Beach, past cows enjoying the lush grass.
As we continued along the coastal road between Abbotsbury and Swyre, we had far-reaching views west along the Jurassic Coast.
The distinctively coloured East Cliffs, close to where one of West Bay’s original fishing harbour’s lay. The rich colour of the cliffs was caused by the oxidation of pyrite.
The remains of the old trainline and station, now a cafe.
A lone boat on Seatown’s pebble beach.
A busy lunchtime at Charmouth, as beach walkers enjoyed the views towards the Golden Cap.
Views from The Cobb across Sandy Beach. Lyme Regis was absolutely packed with tourists, we were really lucky to find a parking space.
Leaving Dorset behind, we continued into Devon. After driving through Seaton, we made our next stop at the quaint little fishing village of Beer. It was surprisingly quiet. Perhaps everyone had gone to Lyme Regis for the day?!
Fishing boats resting on their day-off under the white chalk cliffs.
The bright red Triassic cliffs of Sidmouth, glowing as the sun shone through a break in the clouds.
Collecting donations for the local lifeboat, but looking a little odd…
More luminous red cliffs surrounding Budleigh Salterton’s bay and pebble beach.
Looking into the sun across the River Exe to Dawlish Warren from Exmouth Beach.
We continued our journey by looping north to cross the River Exe near Exeter. We then drove back down the west side of the Exe before stopping briefly at Cockwood Harbour.
A giant pink elephant towering above one of the funfair rides at Dawlish Warren.
Exmouth beyond Dawlish Warren Beach and the River Exe.
The sun starting to set as we arrived at Teignmouth Pier and Beach.
Regatta boats neatly lined up on Shaldon Beach, with Teignmouth in the background on the other side of the River Teign.
Shaldon was a lovely little fishing village to potter around, with its cosy lanes and Georgian cottages.
Entering Torbay, we made our first stop at Thatcher Point, overlooking Thatcher Rock, and over to Brixham and Berry Head in the distance. Julian already knew Torbay well, as his parents and grandparents previously had homes there.
As the clocks had gone back today, the evening light faded early. So we made our final stop of the day in Torquay Harbour before driving to Paignton for the night.
On day forty-one we are continuing our road-trip along the Dorset coast from Highcliffe. We will then follow the beautiful Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site) from Studland Bay, as we continue to Weymouth.
Photo of the day
Our first stop of the day at Highcliffe Castle, considered one of the best remaining examples of Romantic and Picturesque style architecture in the country.
Early morning views looking east along Highcliffe Beach.
Looking past the Steamer Point Nature Reserve towards Avon Beach and its rows of colourful beach huts.
A tranquil Mudeford Quay. We had never seen it so quiet (tip – go 8am in the morning!). On the other side of the water, the tip of Hengistbury Head and its pricey beach huts.
Fisherman cottages at Mudeford Quay.
The local fishermen were busy getting ready for the day. Lobster Pots, buoys and fishing nets piled high on the quay.
The Norman House and Christchurch Priory alongside the River Avon flowing through Christchurch.
Looking east from Overcliff Drive above Boscombe Beach. In the distance you can just make out The Needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight.
A touch of Hollywood in Dorset… Boscombe Pier was recently used in the filming of Dame Joan Collins’ latest film ‘The Times of Their Lives’.
Bournemouth Pier with Studland Bay and the Isle of Purbeck in the background, where we will be heading in the afternoon.
Branksone Chine Beach
It had been a glorious morning until we arrived at lovely sandy Branksone Shine Beach, when suddenly grey clouds started forming above our heads.
We looped around Sandbanks to nosey at the flashy houses (one the most expensive areas of real-estate in the UK). Unimpressed, we had a quick stop at Sandbanks Beach, then continued around a rather grey Poole Harbour.
Stopping for lunch at Wareham’s Saturday Market by the river.
Corfe Castle in the middle of the Isle of Purbeck. It was a really busy day at the National Trust property. Lots of families were out enjoying the sunshine that had gratefully reappeared.
How cool is this! A Teddy Bear Zip Wire. Now we know why it was so busy at the castle 😉
Kids were queuing up to send their teddy bears (at quite some speed) down the line.
There were also traditional craft demonstrations, including this leather smith.
As Halloween was around the corner, the castle was suitably decorated.
Heading back to the sea at Studland Bay, there were great vistas back over Poole Harbour.
Studland Beach was surprisingly busy with walkers. The beach stretched passed Knoll Beach, all the way around Studland Bay and Shell Bay, almost back to Sandbanks on the other side of the Poole Harbour entrance.
The Dragon’s Teeth behind Studland Beach were used as defences against possible enemy tanks.
Old Harry Rocks at the south end of Studland Bay.
Looking back across a calm Swanage Bay.
Waiting for a coffee and a cake at Durlston Castle, allowed us time to take in the great views back along the coast past Durlston Bay, Swanage Bay and the Old Harry Rocks.
The Great Globe, at Durlston National Nature Reserve. One of the largest stone spheres in the world. It was constructed in Greenwich from Portland stone in 1887 then shipped to Swanage.
Anvil Point Lighthouse right on the southern tip of the Durlston National Nature Reserve.
Rolling landscape driving down a small toll road through the Smedmore Estate to Kimmeridge Bay.
Clavell Tower above Kimmeridge Bay.
Bands of clay and bituminous shale crumbling down the Jurassic cliffs around the bay.
Canoe lessons in the sheltered bay, which is part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve.
The rather grand Creech Grange near Steeple on the way to Lulworth.
Cute holiday-let cottages in the touristy village of Lulworth Cove.
Parking in the village was expensive, everyone at the ticket machine was moaning and joking at the cost, which is a bit of shame when you feel ripped-off before you’ve even visited the place. We weren’t really impressed with the shops or information centre either. Shame the land isn’t managed by the National Trust. OK rant over… 😉
Anyway, the actual cove itself was stunning.
Amazing rock formations above Stair Hole.
Our final stop of the day at Durdle Door, before driving to Weymouth. More stunning coastal landscapes and views, looking down on Man O’War Beach and St Oswald’s Bay.
Walking down a steep coastal path and steps, we arrived at Durdle Door. Fortunately it wasn’t too busy, as it was the end of the day.
Back at the top of the cliff, even more stunning views to Bat’s Head.
On day forty we started the next of our mini four day Coastal Road Trips, this time from Worthing in West Sussex to Plymouth in Devon. Today we are heading as far as Highcliffe in Dorset, and the weather looks super for the end of October.
Photo of the day
Dappled sunlight along the coastal country lane between Buckler’s Hard and Lymington.
We tried to make Elmer, west of Worthing, our first stop of the day, but we couldn’t find a way to the beach (seemed private access only). So we continued passed the local Butlins to Bognor Regis Beach, with views west towards its pier.
Further along Bognor Regis Beach, and the view towards Pagham.
We then drove down the Manhood Peninsula towards Selsey Bill. Doesn’t the beach look familiar? To be honest many of the beaches along the West Sussex coastline seemed quite similar, nothing wrong with that, but just made the photos look quite similar too!
An interesting tower above what turned out to be a care-home, overlooking the most southerly point of Selsey’s Beach.
Catching our first glimpse of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower in the distance as we looked west along the coast from East Whitering’s Bracklesham Bay.
Dropping in for a quick coffee with Julian’s sister and brother-in-law in the county town of Chichester. We ended up with a bit of a family day as we stayed with Julian’s parents in the evening, and also popped into visit one of his brother’s and his family.
Hayling Island’s seafront, with the Funland Amusement Park just further down the beach.
Yay, more beach huts to add to our beach-hut-photo-collection 😉
Plenty of Seaguls at Eastney Beach.
A pair of legs enjoying the October sunshine!
The Yomper Statue outside the now closed Royal Marines Museum (which will be moving to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard).
Southsea Castle from the 16th century, and its lighthouse from the 1820s, overlooking the Solent.
The Portsmouth Naval Memorial on the front of Southsea Common as we entered Portsmouth.
The Solent and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour were bustling with activity, with all kinds of boats, ships, yachts, ferries…
… and hovercraft, sailing off in all directions.
Spitbank Fort sitting in the Solent, now a luxury hotel and venue. We checked the price for a night stay, it was a little on the high side…. but afternoon tea is a little more reasonable 😉
One of Portsmouth’s latest landmarks, the Spinnaker Tower that was opened in 2005. We then drove past Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. There seemed to be a lot to see and do, so we’ll be back when we have more time to explore properly.
We then skirted around the Southampton Water, past Hamble, Southampton and Hythe and back down to Calshot Castle at the end of a spit overlooking The Solent.
The views of Fawley Refinery, reminding us of Day 2’s view from Pembroke to Milford Haven.
Calshot Castle was a great vantage point for viewing the busy Solent.
Our next stop at the Lepe Country Park. The views across the Solent to Cowes on the Isle of Wight (and into the sun, hence the glow!).
Lepe Lighthouse (AKA Beaulieu River Millennium Beacon) sticking out above the trees, just after Lepe Country Park.
Crossing over the Beaulieu River, we stopped to take pictures across the Mill Dam at Beaulieu.
Buckler’s Hard on the west side of the Beaulieu River.
Continuing on the coastal road from Buckler’s Hard, there were beautiful views across the fields near St Leonards Grange.
Loved the soft sun-rays, and the dappled light on the country lane as we continued to Lymington.
As we continued into the New Forest, we arrived at the major yachting harbour and marinas at Lymington, home to several world famous sailing regattas.
The cobbled Quay Street.
We stopped by Keyhaven near Milford on Sea, as we were curious if we could see Hurst Castle in the distance (we couldn’t). The ferry to Hurst Castle leaves from Keyhaven, but we had missed the last one of the day.
Milford on Sea
Jarno filming from the top of the cliffs at Milford on Sea, towards Hengistbury Head and Swanage.
Barton on Sea
As the sun set, we made our final stop of the day at Barton on Sea, before continuing to Highcliffe for the night.
Today we are driving from historic Rye in East Sussex along the coast to Worthing in West Sussex. Storm Ophelia was approaching the UK today. As the day progressed we started to see a very unusual dark and orange looking sky, caused by the storm pushing Sahara sand and Iberian wildfire smoke our way.
Photo of the day
Seaford Beach, with Storm Ophelia on its way.
Our first stop of the day in Rye, the small ancient town was so quaint with its cobbled streets.
St Mary Church’s turret clock is the oldest working clock of its type in the country.
Tudor houses fronting on to the churchyard.
The 13th century Ypres Tower town defences. In 1377 the church and town had been looted, set on fire and destroyed by French invaders!
The steep cobbled Mermaid Street. Although it was an early Monday morning there were already a few other tourists pottering around. Glad we hadn’t been here on a busy summer weekend.
The town is now 2 miles inland as a result of the River Rother starting to silt up 500 years ago. So we drove down to the coast to view Rye Harbour.
Winchelsea Beach. The town, a bit further inland, dates back to the 13th century. It was Britain’s first properly planned ‘new’ town.
The view from The Stade at Hastings back to Rock-a-Nore Beach and East Hill.
The Stade Beach in front of Hastings Old Town.
The tall black wooden Net Shops on the beach front at Hastings. They were used to dry fishing nets.
The recently restored Hastings Miniature Railway.
Looking up All Saints Street in The Old Town.
We had just walked past The Crown Pub, which had just been voted the best place to have a pint in the UK. Unfortunately we only read that after leaving Hastings….
More colourful beach huts on Bulverhythe Beach, just a few miles west of Hastings.
The elegant Bexhill-on-Sea Promenade.
The De La Warr Pavilion on the sea front at Bexhill, now a local centre for contemporary art. Bob Marley had his first ever UK performance there too.
Driving past some rather large houses we reached Cooden Beach.
Yet more colour-coordinated beach huts along Eastbourne Beach.
The view along Eastbourne Beach to the pier. By now we were starting to see the weird coloured pre-Storm Ophelia sky.
Caterpillar trucks were shifting around shingle on the beach, to restore the sea defences in preparation for winter storms.
Really dramatic views over the chalk cliffs at Beachy Head to the Lighthouse.
Don’t look down….. you could walk right up to the cliff edge!
Belle Tout Lighthouse, now a private residence. In 1999 it had to be moved 17 meters back from the cliff edge to save it falling off due to coastal erosion. It was featured in the BBC’s ‘The Life and Loves of a She-Devil’ and James Bond’s ‘The Living Daylights’.
Parts of the original building and foundations, right on the cliff edge. In the distance you can see the cliffs of the Seven Sisters past Birling Gap.
The bright white Seven Sisters chalk cliffs viewed from the National Trust managed Birling Gap.
It felt like the end of the world. The lighting was totally surreal. Such a dark sky in the distance over Newhaven, contrasting against the bright blue-green sea, and the warm colours of the pebble beach. Storm Ophelia was on its way.
Another palette of candy coloured beach huts on Seaford Beach.
The lighthouse at the end of the breakwater at Newhaven, we had also seen it in the distance from Seaford.
The path down to Newhaven Fort, with Seaford Bay in the background. The fort was the largest defence built on the Sussex coastline.
As we know Brighton well, having had our UK base and home there for the last few years, we just stopped briefly to take photos of the famous Brighton Pier (AKA Brighton Palace Pier).
The Brighton Pier is now the only surviving pier at Brighton, the Royal Suspension Chain Pier was its predecessor, but you can still see remains of the West Pier opposite the British Airways i360 tower.
The long promenade at Hove, Brighton’s coastal neighbour.
Actually we didn’t stop at Southwick, but we got stuck in a traffic jam along the River Adur, so managed this picture of a fishing boat from the car window.
Lancing beach was really busy with kite-surfers, unfortunately the photos were pretty terrible (I blame the weird pre-storm lighting), but we caught them on video, check below.
Looking west towards Worthing Pier in the distance.
Worthing, our final stop on this four day part of our Coastal Road Trip. The original pier dates back to 1862 though through fire and storm damage it has been rebuilt and updated many times over the years.
On day thirty-eight we will be covering most of the Kent coastline, so a long day of travel, and the weather is absolutely fantastic for mid-October!
Photo of the day
Isle of Sheppey
As we have a lot of ground to cover today, we made an early Sunday morning start driving over The Swale to the Isle of Sheppey.
After a quick stop at Sheerness on the northwest corner of the Isle of Sheppey, we headed over to Leysdown-on-Sea’s beach on the east of the isle, with views across the empty Thames Estuary.
Smart beach huts lined up on the front at Leysdown Coastal Park.
My Whippy on early morning duty at Whitstable’s Harbour.
More colourful beach huts along Whitstable’s Tankerton Slopes. If you look carefully you can see the remains of Herne Bay Pier Head out at sea.
An MOD scooter meet-up in front of Herne Bay’s Clock Tower on the Central Parade. A great day for a bike ride.
The Pier at Herne Bay….
…. and out at sea the remains of the pier head, which got separated from the rest of Herne Bay Pier in a storm back in 1978.
A jet-skier making the most of the October heatwave.
Then looking east, views along Herne Bay Beach and Saxon Shore towards Reculver Towers in the distance.
The medieval Reculver Towers, the remains of the church of St Mary, looking stunning against the blue sky.
Reculver has suffered major coastal erosion over the years, and now the Reculver Towers are perched right on the edge of the sea cliff.
A panorama of Margate Bay.
The lighthouse at the end of Margate Harbour Arm breakwater.
On Fulsam Rock by the Margate foreshore, the Turner Contemporary was exhibiting the lone figure ‘Another Time’ by Antony Gormley. A nice reminder of day 7 of our Coastal Road Trip, where we had seen the complete version of Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculptures submerged in Crosby Beach.
North Foreland Lighthouse
On the way to Broadstairs, the North Foreland Lighthouse sitting above fields leading down to Joss Bay.
Broadstair’s Viking Bay with its steep cliffs down to the beach.
Whilst stopping on the Victoria Parade above Ramsgate’s Beach, we realised we had parked in-front of this funny pirate themed camper-van….
… please do not disturb! 😉
Views down to the east and west piers at the mouth of Ramsgate’s harbour and marina.
Ramsgate’s Yacht Marina looking almost Mediterranean with the bright blue sky and waters.
The 16th century Deal Castle. If you Google aerial photos of it, you will see it actually looks somewhat like a flower from above.
Wooden fishing boats resting on Deal Beach.
The Pier at Deal is better seen from a distance. It was pretty brutal looking close-up!
Finally we have made it to the famous White Cliffs of Dover. It had been on our to-do list for quite some time. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea to visit on this sunny Sunday afternoon as it was pretty busy. Fortunately the land is managed by the National Trust so we parked for free, which made up for the pricey coffee and cake!
Thumbs-up from Jarno….
… and a wave from Julian’s shadow.
Looking down through the sea mist to Dover’s bustling ferry port.
Dover Castle silhouetted against the bright but hazy evening skyline.
Banksy’s Brexit street art just off a roundabout, as we drove through Dover. Not the best welcome for our European neighbours as they arrive off the Dover ferry onto mainland Britain.
The lone pilot sculpture by Harry Gray at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone.
The sun starting to set over the Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 Replica US-X planes at the Battle of Britain Memorial.
We were struggling what to take a photo of as we drove through Folkestone, until we past a row of handsome hotels above the cliffs on the Leas Promenade. Agatha Christie, wrote Murder on the Orient Express whilst staying here at The Grand.
The long seafront and esplanade at Sandgate, just west of Folketone.
Our final stop of the day at the surreal Dungeness. The area was a weird mix of beach, barren marshland, artist community, pub, gift shop, train station, lighthouses and a nuclear power station. What a mix!
The Old Lighthouse and its neighbor, the nuclear power station….
…and closer to the headland the current lighthouse. Not your traditional lighthouse, but pretty sleek, and looked great lit-up in the clear evening sky.
We are travelling 104 miles today as we drive first along the north side of the River Thames and estuary, then back along the south side. One of our busiest days for traffic too as we skirt around the edge of London. However, there was a mid-October heatwave, so at least we are lucky with the weather!
Photo of the day
Pocahontas statue (yes, you read that right!) in a graveyard in Gravesend.
We started off with a short detour east from Southend-on-Sea to Shoeburyness at the mouth of the River Thames Estuary. Views northeast from Gunners Park towards Shoebury East Beach.
Interesting welcome signs at the entrance to the Thames. It is a shame that the war defences were covered in graffiti, but at least it brought some colour to the concrete.
Shoeburyness was a pleasant surprise, with smart military avenues and squares, mixed with newer developments. We also tried to continue further north past the St Nicolas Church at Great Wakering, but found ourselves heading into a Ministry of Defence area, so did a quick u-turn.
Heading back into Southend-on-Sea, we made a short stop at the beach by the Ness Road Slipway with views towards Southend-on-Sea.
The longest pleasure pier in the world at Southend-on-Sea, stretching into the hazy sunshine.
It is so long (1.34 miles) that you can take a train to the end!
The entrance to Southend Pier flanked by roller-coasters at Adventure Island.
Abandoned boats in the marshes on the edge of the Thames Estuary at Leigh-on-Sea.
Driving through Canvey Island (basically a large housing estate) we arrived at Canvey Point and the nearby Smallgains Marina.
More Thames defences at Coalhouse Fort. The original fortifications date back to the 15th century. More recently it has been used for a variety of purposes, including being featured at the start of the ‘Batman Begins’ film. It is now a pleasant park overlooking the Thames, where today families were enjoying the sunny afternoon.
The Worlds End Pub on the way to Tilbury Fort. Aren’t British pub names great?! This pub was haunted too!
Guns at Tilbury Fort. The first fort was built here by Henry VIII in the 16th century, and continued in use until after World War II.
Looking west up the Thames from Tilbury Fort to the cruise terminal and a wind farm project.
The Thames was busy with yachts, making the most of the lovely weather.
Heading south over the Queen Elizabeth II Darford Crossing Bridge.
Probably the biggest surprise of the day, finding a statue of Pocahontas in the graveyard of St George’s Church in Gravesend. Pocahontas had died on a ship on the River Thames close to Gravesend, and her remains are thought to be buried somewhere close to St George’s Church.
Heading across the Hoo Peninsula, we decided to stop at the quiet RSPB Northward Hill nature reserve. Along the track there were lovely views over apple orchards turning autumn red, quite a contrast to the shipping port at Stanford-le-Hope across the Thames.
A quaint cobbled lane leading down through Upper Upnor to the River Medway.
Upnor Castle had just closed for the day, so we took in the views across the marshes on the edge of the River Medway.
Another selfie moment at Rochester Castle, its orgins dating back to the 12th century.
The castle towering an impressive 113 feet high.
Red roofs of Rochester. Rochester was a well preserved historical town, and we learnt it had actually been inspiration for many of Charles Dickens’ novels.
The Norman Rochester Cathedral. Apparently Jools Holland is a big fan of the acoustics. We then made our way along the Medway to Chatham Historic Dockyard for dinner, before heading to Sittingbourne for the night.
After a few weeks break from our coastal road trip, we are now continuing our journey, this time over four days from Ipswich in Suffolk to Worthing in West Sussex. Hence the sunny weather in the Ipswich picture (September), then a bit gloomy as we continued into Essex (October).
Photo of the day
A helter-skelter on Clacton-on-Sea’s pier.
Our last photo as we finished the first 5 weeks of our Coastal Road Trip at Ipswich Waterfront. Feeling quite pleased with ourselves!
Working our way down the south side of the River Stour we made the first stop of the day at Mistley Towers in Essex, the remains of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.
The wooden Ha’penny Pier at Harwich, named after the original toll charge for the Victorian pier. The Port of Felixtowe in the gloomy background.
The Lightvessel LV18 moored off the Ha’penny Pier, the last surviving example of a manned Trinty House light vessel, now a museum.
Harwich High Lighthouse that was used in combination with the Low Lighthouse as a leading light for Harwich Harbour.
And the Low Lighthouse on the promenade, now the local Maritime Museum.
Then just a few minutes further along the coast we reached the two matching iron towered Dovercourt Low and High Lighthouses.
Walton on the Naze
The navigational Naze Tower north of Walton on the Naze. With a beacon at the top, it was used as an early form of lighthouse to guide ships through the Goldmer Gap.
Walton on the Naze Beach… and the sun trying to make an appearance. Yay!
Walton on the Naze Pier. To be honest we had seen better looking piers, though the brightly painted beach huts attempted to brighten-up the area.
Frinton On Sea
A rather elaborate looking clock tower shelter on the Frinton Beach Esplanade.
More beach huts adding some colour to Holland Haven near Holland-on-Sea.
Stopping for some lunch at Clacton Pier.
The helter-skelter looking a bit spooky on the deserted pier.
Just proving we were there 😉
Some rather scary looking steps down to the sea from the pier.
Clearly we were out of season with the empty entertainment noticeboards.
If it’s not lighthouses it’s beach huts today!
A rather unloved looking boat at West Mersea….
… and the houseboats looking like they are in the middle of a field.
Another Trinity Lightship, also with the illusion of being moored in a field.
The picturesque lock at Heybridge Basin, joining the Blackwater estuary and the canal to Chelmsford.
Old Thames barges moored at Maldon’s Hythe Quay.
The barges had been beautifully restored, several are still in use as charters.
As walked down a long farm track to the remote St Peter’s Chapel we came across this funny sign. Something was ‘coming soon’, not sure what…
St Peter’s Chapel on the headland near Sales Point, one of the oldest Chistian churches in England, dating from the 7th century. Around a thousand years later, in the 17th century it was in use as a barn. You can still see where the barn doors were placed on the side.
We were surprised that the church door was open, so we had a quick look inside. Pretty good condition for 1,400 years old!
The Yacht Harbour at Burnham-on-Crouch, our final stop of the day before heading to Southend-on-Sea for the night.