A UK Coastal Trip –

Colwyn Bay

Colwyn Bay has been attracting visitors since the Victorian era. The seafront, a spacious stretch of sand, backed by a three-mile promenade to Rhos-on-Sea, has been transformed with the reconstruction of a whole new beach and the development at Porth Eirias with many sea and leisure facilities to attract locals and holiday-makers alike. It is hard to differentiate the modern sculptures on the front from a real person taking in the views out to sea.

Finding Colwyn Bay Pier proved to be a difficult task. I was unaware that it had fallen into disrepair to such an extent that it was decided to replace it. In 2019 it was dismantled and the ground prepared for a new, short pier. I found it eventually!

Towyn & Kinmel Bay

You enter Towyn and Kinmel Bay at your own risk or at least with an effective sat nat. They merge together to create acre upon acre of caravan park in a vast grid. In amongst the tall-fenced/walled lanes Mario would enjoy negotiating this maze in his computer game. Once through the zig-zag of right-angled blocks, the driver emerges at a rather shabby, pebble of a beach with a car park and a couple of huts, closed, advertising teas and ice creams.

Rhyl

Elegant terraces of Victorian buildings stand well back from the sea front. A large beach of soft sand is kept in place by groynes up and down the coast.

Sturdy sea defences protect the town forming a promenade beside the coast road, rides, attractions, the bowls club, the Marine Lake, the slide pool, the aquarium and the Pavilion Theatre. Great family fun all round.

Prestatyn

The beach continues along the coast from Rhyl in an almost seamless run of soft sands with rock or timber groynes to prevent coastal erosion. Originally a small fishing settlement, the railways bought Victorian    holidaymakers to the long beach, clean seas and promenade entertainers. The resort continued to develop when Fred Pontin opened his first holiday camp in 1946. The town still attracts families looking for seaside holidays and fun. Nature lovers looking for a quieter spot can explore the Gronant Dunes to the east

Talacre

The small village of Talacre with its few hundred souls is almost completely consumed by holiday homes and the Talacre Beach Resort. The beach is close by, along with a car park for day trippers, and is wonderful for family fun at the seaside & messing about in the large dunes, which also provide shelter when the winds get up. The lighthouse, 17th century, and off-shore wind turbines provide backdrop for squealing children and lazing adults. A good beach to visit.

So, that is it. This is the last coastal settlement in Wales before Deeside, The Wirral, ‘Ferry ‘cross the Mersey’, Liverpool and the rest of the English Coast in the north west. All of that I had hoped to be doing now ….but hey, will have to wait for another day, when I can get to travel more freely.

I will see you then.

A UK Coastal Trip – Llandudno

Llanfairfechan

This charming town lies off the North Wales Highway. Under the railway line, the wide, open promenade runs along the coast lined by picturesque Victorian houses.

Penmaenmaur

An old quarrying town, it is now noted for spectacular mountain & coastal walks. The old Edwardian promenade was lost in the process of building the A55 along the coast.

Llandudno

The white-painted terraces, ornate hotels & tea rooms glisten in the sun. Known as the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, this ever-popular seaside town is a rich hive of history and memories. A mining settlement turned thriving tourist hotspot, it is famous for its Victorian architecture and stunning scenery. The present pier opened in 1877.

Penrhyn Bay

This small farming community grew from the 1850s with the quarrying of local limestone. The town had its own  narrow gauge railway. This all closed in 1936 and the town expanded to become a desirable suburb of Llandudno.

 

Rhos-on-Sea (Llandrillo-yn-Rhos)

The long, flat seafront walkway to Colwyn Bay runs along the top of the sandy beach, taking in Rhos-on-Sea’s breakwater and pretty harbour. Equipment for kayaking, surfing & other seaside activities stands at the edge, ready for use.

A UK Coastal Trip – Beaumaris

Benllech

This is a popular holiday destination with its gently shelving clean, soft sand. A café guards the ramp. There are public houses & hotels, camping & caravan sites and several B&Bs.

Red Wharf Bay

Red Wharf is bordered by salt marshes and sand dunes, a nature reserve attracting lots of bird life. The village, with its three restaurants, is virtually at the water’s edge.

Beaumaris

This is a gem of an historic walled town with narrow, cobbled streets and arched gateways through high walls. In 1295, Edward I, having conquered Wales, commissioned the building of Beaumaris Castle as part of a chain of fortifications around the North Wales coast and the town became the main commercial centre of Anglesey. The pier opened in 1846, a masonry jetty on wooden & concrete pilings and a busy base for yachts and pleasure vessels of all kinds. Backing onto the walls, elegant Victorian terraces face across the water to Snowdonia.

 

The Swellies

This is the stretch of the Menai Strait between the Britannia and Menai Bridges. Its shoals and rocks cause whirlpools and surges as a result of the tides washing around Anglesey.

Menai Bridge

Menai Bridge is a small town that overlooks the Menai Strait by the Menai Suspension Bridge, built in 1826 by Thomas Telford to take road traffic to/from the mainland.

Bangor

Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and one of the UK’s smallest. Its religious roots go back to the 6th century. It is a lively place with a good shopping scene, a university and lots of leisure facilities. Tourism grew with the building of the road that runs through the town to the bridge over the Strait, in 1826. The pier opened in 1896 for use by pleasure steamers from Liverpool.

A UK Coastal Trip – Amlwch Port

Cemaes

A picturesque village sits on two small bays where boats and fishing vessels moor in front of terraces of painted houses. The shack in the car park takes the parking fee and serves tea & bacon rolls.

Bull Bay

A low, grass-covered bump of cliff overlooks the small bay. A few houses with empty-looking windows gaze at the gently-lapping waters, unflustered by any human activity.

Amlwch Port

In the 18th century the port serves what used to be the world’s largest copper mine. In its day the metal was used for covering the bottom of ships and in the making of coins of the realm. At one point it was the second largest town in Wales. But industry declined and gradually tourism took its place. Now the inner harbour has a museum dedicated to mining and the outer one houses a modern fishing fleet.

Moetfre

A low outcrop with a few parking spaces and a café, looks over the small beach of this picturesque former fishing village, with old fishermen’s cottages fronting the bay.

Treath Bychan

This small rocky beach, at least at high tide, has a sitting audience of caravans on the land behind. A few houses, the sailing club and a toilet block are situated by the sands.

A UK Coastal Trip – Holyhead

Anglesea

Britannia Bridge is the southern crossing to the island of Anglesey across the Menai Strait. In 1845 work began on a tubular bridge of wrought iron, rectangular, box-section spans for carrying rail traffic to link London to Holyhead. Following a fire in 1970 the bridge was redesigned and two decks were built on the original piers to carry rail and road traffic.

Once across, the road cuts across emptying rivers and the south western corner of the island. Most human habitation is away from the shoreline, leaving large wild areas, such as the glorious beaches and woodlands of Newborough Warren & Ynys Llanddwyn.

Aberffraw

 

Rhosneigr

This is a largish village with caravan sites, camp sites, holiday homes and pubs, hotels and cafes. Out of season the place has its own atmosphere. The metal lines on the sailing boats drawn up on the beach, ring harmoniously in the tugging wind. Out at sea, wind & kite surfers snap their sails before soaring off over the spilling waves, taking control of the elements to get that full adrenaline rush.

Four Mile Bridge to Holy Island

Off Anglesey’s western edge, with an area of just 15 square miles, is Holy Island, with its own coastline, notched with tiny coves, sweeping bays and dramatic headlands. Four Mile Bridge dates from 1530 and takes a small lane over the narrow Cymyran Strait which, at either end, opens up into the Irish Sea. A few houses cluster around the crossing. Real excitement is caused by the activities of the Police Diving Team, who are practicing procedures in the shallow waters at the shore’s edge, watched by a single local with a whimsical expression on his face.

Rhoscolyn

A narrow, wiggle of a lane ends at a wide, beach of lovely, soft sand. Building activity is taking place with a lot of work going on renovating/constructing some smart homes.

Treddur

A popular holiday spot, the local waters are good for sea fishing, scuba diving, sailing and some of the best kayaking in the world. It has two golf courses and a couple of hotels.

Holyhead

Holyhead has a character all of its own. Everyone seems to pass through the town on their way elsewhere. Millions of passengers and thousands of vehicles pass through the ferry port each year, across the Irish Sea to Ireland. A port of some kind has been here since Roman times due to its position on the western extremity of the UK. In 1845, an Act of Parliament was passed to enable the construction of a new port. A railway station was opened in 1851 with a direct link to London.

The town centre is built around St. Cybi’s Church, which is built inside the three-walled Roman fort. In a rather shabby high street, £1 shops rub shoulders with pubs offering karaoke nights and fast food outlets. There seems little renovation going on or any effort to revitalise the shopping opportunities in the middle of town. The port and ferry services, with associated shipping businesses, provide most employment opportunities.

Cruise ships do visit. The old jetty, originally used to unload alumina for the now defunct processing plant, is wide enough for coaches to travel down to collect and deliver passengers to the town and on local tours.

A UK Coastal Trip – Caernarfon

Pwllheli

Pwllheli has a long association with the sea. Wines from the continent were landed here and the coast was a haven for smugglers and pirates. It used to be one of the main fishing and ship-building centres in North Wales with nearly 30 ships in production at any one time. With the arrival of the railways it developed into a tourist centre with a sandy beach beside the harbour and a shingle one along the promenade.

Llanbedrog

At the end of narrow lanes lies a large National Trust car park. It is a short walk through shady woods to this popular beach. A smart NT café/restaurant marks your arrival at the soft sands that spread down to the sea. A line of beach huts on one side and a couple of old fishermen’s cottages on the other, stand back in the shade provided by tall trees, unwilling to go out into the full glare of the sun.

Abersoch

Originally a fishing port, Abersoch is now a popular, and rather fashionable,  resort and sailing & water sports’ centre, with fine beaches and a sheltered harbour. This is a bustling village with a good selection of bars, cafes, restaurants and a busy bistro life plus a choice of accommodation and attractions including pony trekking, boat trips and a crafts centre. Lanes lead from the centre to the peaceful harbour and around to the beach of lovely, soft sand, backed by grass-tufted dunes and a line of beach huts.

Aberdaron

Formerly a fishing village, it developed into a shipbuilding centre and a port for exporting limestone, lead, jasper & manganese from the local mines and quarries. The mining collapsed after WWII and the village developed into a holiday resort. Situated on the seashore, St Hywyn’s Church has served this once small community for centuries. Now it sits amongst white-washed properties on the edge of the village.

Porthdinllaen & Morfa Nefyn

These two settlements share the beach, facing each other along the crescent of sand. Porthinllaen is an old fishing village, owned by the National Trust, with a popular pub and the lifeboat station. Morfa Nefyn is quite a lot larger. A single-track road leads through suburban housing, down to beach properties and a manned, beach-warden’s hut.

Dinas Dinlle

Dinas Dinlle is a popular beach. The coast road runs along its upper shore of small pebbles which soon gives way to a vast expanse of firm, golden sand. A café, a large car park and a cluster of houses pin one end. Two slipways provide easy access to the sea. Iron Age remains can be found here. Ornithologists are attracted by its bird populations and anglers by its exceptional bass fishing.

Caernarfon

This walled town with the magnificent Caernarfon Castle, overlooks a small, neat harbour and the Menai Strait. Begun in 1283 by Edward I, Caernarfon was constructed not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of    government and a royal palace. It was designed to echo the walls of Constantinople, the imperial power of Rome and the dream castle of Welsh myth and legend. Standing at the mouth of the River Seiont, the fortress, with its unique polygonal towers, intimidating battlements and colour banded masonry, dominates the walled town, also founded by the English king. Three centuries later, the ascent of the Tudors to the English throne eased hostilities between the English and the Welsh, resulting in Caernarfon Castle falling into a state of disrepair.

Despite this, the town has flourished, leading to its status as a   major tourist centre and seat of Gwynedd Council, with a thriving harbour and marina. It is home, both within the medieval walls and in the wider suburban areas outside, to numerous guest houses, inns and pubs, hotels, restaurants and shops, making it a popular destination for tourists, holidaymakers and water-sports enthusiasts.

A UK Coastal Trip – Criccieth

Tywyn

A long crescent of beach is divided by a series of regular groynes spread in front of hard sea defences, all constructed to protect bungalows, cafes and blocks of low apartments from the ravages of the weather and erosion.. At the far end is a caravan park.

Fairbourne

This strip of low houses at the mouth of the River Mawddach is losing its battle with the sea. As sea levels rise, it has been identified for locals as an area for ‘managed retreat’.

The crossing point for vehicular traffic is further up the estuary than the rail crossing.

Barmouth

On the other bank of the River Mawddach lies Barmouth. Now a resort town, it grew up around shipbuilding, evidence of which can be seen around the harbour. On the far side of the headland, hotels and guesthouses have grown up fronting onto the sandy beach along with a car park and a collection of seaside amusements with a small funfair.

Llanaber

Just out of the small village the road climbs to open fields, revealing a magnificent view along the coast, even though it is dominated by a carpet of caravans.

Llandanwg

Narrow lanes head over the railway, past caravans and bungalows to soft sands. Harlech Castle overseas a similar route across the golf club, along a wooden walkway through dunes to the beach.

 Portmadog

Situated at the top of a wide channel where two rivers join the sea, this resort town was a vital, busy shipping port for the international slate trade, brought down from Blaenau Ffestiniog on the narrow railway that still operates today. With accommodation, craft shops and restaurants it is an excellent centre from which to explore inland and the coast.

Black Rock Sands

Criccieth

The town developed into an attractive seaside resort from 1868. Its beach has a tranquil atmosphere, lacking an abundance of amusements or arcades. It is perfect for peaceful walks or messing about in the water around the jetty. The castle, prominent on the headland, was taken by Welsh forces in 1404, its walls torn down and set alight, leaving the ruins you see today.

A UK Coastal Trip – Aberystwyth

New Quay

The town was once important for fishing and shipbuilding, with wooden boats being built on the local beaches. The miles of secluded coves around New Quay provided ideal hiding places in the less salubrious, but probably more profitable, trade of smuggling spirits and tobacco. The Pier was built after 1834 and, in 1839, a small stone lighthouse, 30 feet high, was built at its end. A severe storm in 1859 damaged the pier and washed the lighthouse away.

Towards the end of the century, as shipbuilding died out, tourism gradually filled the void with visitors arriving by steamer from Liverpool and Bristol. The earliest motorised bus system was set up by Great Western Railways who established a line from Aberystwyth to Carmarthen in 1860. The buses served to connect local communities to the railway and horse-drawn versions brought visitors from the stations at Aberystwyth and Llandysul in the 1890’s. In the summer, New Quay becomes a bustling and vibrant holiday resort aided by the growth of the caravan industry in areas around the town. The hillside to the north of the town is covered with lines of brightly-painted houses in the shape of a cruise liner.

Aberaeron

The pretty town of Aberaeron developed from a small fishing village in the 1800’s. The Rev Alban Gwynne designed the harbour to hold back the River Aeron, creating calm waters, today used mostly by recreational craft. At the time there was also a thriving shipbuilding industry when dockyards built both sail and steam vessels. Many of the houses that we see today stem from this time and were built in the Regency style. Many occupants, being seafaring men who travelled the world during the Victorian age, often named their houses after far-off exotic places. it is a popular resort with numerous hotels and restaurants for visiting tourists along with many other attractions. A wooden pedestrian bridge crosses the estuary upstream.

Llanrhystud & Llanon

 

Aberystwyth

The working part of town is to the south where a terrace of brightly-coloured fisherman’s houses line the pebble beach with the harbour behind the end of the promenade. A blunt, rocky headland is the site of the castle which has been here since 1277. It was razed to the ground by Parliamentary troops in 1649 but three ruined towers still remain to wander around and feel its history.

The bluff divides the town’s two beaches. It marks the end of the north beach where much of the seaside activities take place. A visit to Aberystwyth is impossible without a walk or jog along the mile-long Victorian promenade. The seafront boasts the oldest pier in Wales, built in 1864, which offers the second-best vantage point of the town.  The best vantage point is at the end of north beach at the top of Constitution Hill, 150 metres in height, accessible via the longest cliff railway in Britain. At the top, the world’s largest Camera Obscura provides a bird’s eye view of more than 1000 square miles, in a 360 degree sweep around Aberystwyth. with superb views of the town itself. The promenade is also famous for the sighting of starling murmurations.

Brynowen & Borth

From the hill above the bungalows and Brynowen Holiday Park, the wide, pebble beach can be seen stretching through the village of Borth.

Sand is exposed at low tide as is an ancient, submerged forest where stumps of oak , pine, birch, willow and hazel can be seen. A closer look at this strip settlement shows a line of low housing, bunkered down for protection behind the tall sea defences.

Ynyslas

The extensive sand dunes of Ynylas mask the caravans and chalets that line the coast side of a narrow peninsula. At the end, where it meets the meanders of the River Dovey, is a vast area of flat sand that acts as a car park,looking over to the village of Aberdyfi on the far bank.

Aberdyfi

Aberdyfi was founded around the harbour and shipbuilding, but is now a popular seaside with a family-friendly beach. The centre of the village is on the river and seafront, around the original wharfs and jetty and stretching back from the coast and up the steep hillside.

A UK Coastal Trip – Llangrannog

Abercastle

A small village, cottages are mostly rented as holiday lets. There is a path up the cliff through a slate-stacked lime kiln on one side of the cove and an ivy-clad, ruined building on the other. This long, narrow, picturesque inlet, sheltered from the prevailing winds, makes it a perfect anchorage and an excellent launching platform for boats and kayaks. There is a small car park and some toilets. The nearest facilities can be found in Trefin & St Davids. Here you will find a selection of cafes, B&Bs, camp sites, caravan parks, self-catering accommodation and, in the latter place, a selection of hotels.

Fishguard

The two parts of Fishguard are separated by a rocky promontory. Goodwick is the modern town, built around the port from where ferries takes vehicles across the Irish Sea. The Lower Town is the original hamlet. Fishermen’s cottages, now mostly holiday rentals, line the quay. The ruined fort was completed on the headland in 1781, to protect the harbour.

Parrog

The beach and harbour at Parrog are situated down from the pretty village of Newport on the main road, with its craft shops & tea-rooms. The bends of the River Nevern meet the sea here. At low tide it meanders through the sticky mudflats with lazy boats flopped at different angles, awaiting rescue by the incoming tide.

Poppit Sands & Gwbert

From its position on the cliffs, the hamlet of Gwbert overlooks the wide beach of Poppit Sands. The long, flat, family-friendly beach at the mouth of the River Teifi, is popular throughout the year for bathing, family games, beach combing or just strolling. At the far end, by the car park, is the Lifeboat Station and an excellent café.

Aberporth

This unremarkable, large village comes alive in the summer with holiday-makers and visitors. A narrow ridge of rocks separates two family-friendly beaches. There is a car park on top, with spaces adjacent to a flourishing fish & chip stall/tea bar. Once important for herring fishing, mostly crab & lobster are landed today and it is a popular spot for sea fishing and sailing.

Tresaith

A steep, narrow lane leads down to a small bay, lined  by a few houses and a largish tea-rooms. There are a handful of parking spaces & a very useful turning area.

Llangrannog

Small cottages and grander buildings line a gushing stream that runs down the valley. The village centre, boasting a shop, a café and two pubs, clusters around the beach. The coastal path climbs away on both sides.

 

A UK Coastal Trip – Tenby

Tenby

Now, I love Tenby. This delightful, walled harbour town is a real gem. Built in Norman Times, its narrow streets, historic houses, independent shops, and unique atmosphere became a fashionable destination for Victorian holidaymakers. It remains so today. Tall, coloured terraces stare down with empty eyes from their line of clifftop perches onto the steps, alleys and lanes of the old town. Either side of town, soft, sandy beaches attract holidaying families and groups of all ages. Parties of guys and dolls, celebrating some kind of life-changing event, enjoy the range of pubs and clubs in this small town. A drunken sailor or two would not be out of place, if we could just decide what to do with him.

Manorbier

Manorbier Castle was built by the Normans on this site overlooking the bay. The Norman knight Odo de Barri was granted lands in the last decade of the 11th century, and built a wooden hall here, surrounding it with earthworks. It was his son that began building the stone Manorbier Castle we see today. A great square tower was constructed, together with a fine hall block, enclosed by two high stone curtain walls with towers and a strong gatehouse. Behind is the village itself, made up of white-painted bungalows amongst the low foliage of bushes and shrubs. A Norman church shares the skyline.

The waterway that is Milford Haven cuts inland, providing access to the oil terminal of the same name and the docks at Pembroke. Back on the coast, impressive crags & cliffs separate crescents of soft sand. Settlements congregate on cliff tops around these bays. They attract walkers to their windy cliff walks up and down the shoreline, windsurfers to their Atlantic swells and weather-laded winds and families & couples to their beaches and cafes. At low tide it is possible to walk along the sands past headlands and clawing lines of rocks to individual bays and beaches. But beware – it is easy to get cut off by an incoming tide with no way to climb the cliffs.

Little Haven

Broad Haven

Holton Haven

Newgale

The road descends to a two-mile beach of large rounded pebbles and stones. This was thrown up by huge storms in 1859. It is a mixed blessing. Although it is exposed and magnifies any wind, however slight, it does offer some protection to the houses that nestle in its lee. Kite surfing and surfing are popular here. At low tide at both ends, it is possible to walk along the sand to reach sheltered bays.

St Justinians lifeboat stations

The village of Solva, comprising Lower Solva and Upper Solva, straddles its oen natural inlet. Further up the coast, set on the cliffs above a small harbour and a private residence a mile or so out of St Davids, the old lifeboat station, built in 1869, stands in front of its modern counterpart which was built in 2016.

Abereiddy

A rather lonely handful of fisherman’s houses huddle around this peaceful spot where a brook trickles over the small beach to reach the sea. Today, many are rented out as holiday homes.

Porthgain

Porthgain means ‘Chisel Port’ in English with the chisel representing the quarrying that once took place here. From around 1850, slate, then brick, and then granite were shipped from the harbour. The crushed, granite road stone was dispensed from the massive brick-built hoppers, constructed at the beginning of the 20th century, directly into small ships moored alongside. These hoppers, and earlier slate quarrying related structures including the lime kiln, the harbour itself and the pilot’s house, can still be seen. Slate was also quarried at Abereiddi and transported along the tram road to Porthgain for export. Mining finally stopped here in the 1930s. Now it is a very popular tourist centre thanks to a great pub, a super café/restaurant and excellent galleries displaying local arts & crafts.

A UK Coastal Trip – Burry Port

Llanelli

Llanelli, a coastal town with a long association with the tinplate, steel, and coal-mining industries, was such a significant producer of tin that it was referred to as ‘Tinopolis’ by the latter half of the 19th century. The town has undergone a metamorphosis during the past thirty years which has witnessed the closure of virtually all the old heavy industries, the reclamation of derelict sites and the creation of many environmental and tourist attractions. Tinplate, inflatable craft, general engineering, chemicals and steel fabrication still continue. The increase of leisure and tourism opportunities have enhanced employment opportunities in the town. In recent years much development has taken place to improve the Town Centre. Along the coast, the sandy shoreline has been   reclaimed and alongside it, regeneration has taken place in the form of a golf resort, the Wetlands Centre, Millennium Coastal Path & new housing developments. The local rural area supports dairy, beef, and sheep farming.

Burry Port

Originally farming and fishing were the main focus of the local population until the Industrial Revolution bought coal mining and industry to the town. In 1832 a harbour was built at Burry Port. Fed by a series of chaotic canals and wagonways it finally offered a way to ship Gwendraeth coal out by sea. No village or town of Burry Port yet existed. By 1840 the canals feeding Burry Port and their tramways fed coal from the entire Gwendraeth valley down to the sea. Early records of Burry Port as a town appear in 1850, springing up around the new docks at Pembrey. Wagonways were built to carry traffic from the mines to the canal which took it on to the port. Several of these wagonways became plateways and then railways as technology improved. With the closure of all the mines at Cwm Mawr, the railways up the valley were lifted. Much evidence of the industrial history of the area is dotted around the harbour with rusting winches and chains and tracks. Old canal gates separate silted docks where large information boards describe where smelting took place. The harbour is now a marina for small leisure craft and Pembrey & Burry Port Station is still served by regular services.

That’s me, waving from the harbour wall at dusk.

Pendine

Over the roofs of the village houses, Pendine Sands can be seen stretching along the coast for as far as the eye can see. The flat surface can be reached through an opening in the imposing sea wall. It was here that Allied forces practised for the D-Day Landings during WWII. It is here, also, that speed heads gather for their hit of thrills and, over the years, many attempts at land speed records on a variety of machines.

Amroth

The sands in front of a strip of housing are only exposed at low tide. The flattish stones are a permanent feature of this beach. There are many stacks along the crest, built as a memory of a special moment.

Wisemans Bridge

In the 19th century, rather surprisingly, coal was loaded and exported from here. Now, a row of parking spaces, a single pub and a couple of workers’ houses are all that remains of any industrious activity.

Saundersfoot

Once a fishing village, this now popular resort grew in size when it became a thriving coal port, exporting anthracite. In the 1870s, the coal ran out and it turned to more recreational activities to provide employment for the locals.

A UK Coastal Trip – Mumbles

Porthcawl

The town started life as a coal port in the 19th century, doubling up as a resort town for mining communities on their annual holidays. When mining fell into decline it continued to cater for holidaymakers from the South Wales valleys. Around the town, sites of static caravans still welcome visitors. The harbour area feels interesting with historic buildings having a new career as restaurants and attractions. The lighthouse, built in 1860, still operates.

Port Talbot

The vast steel works of Port Talbot are a dense tangle of black/grey smoking tubes, pipes, chimneys, scaffolding and furnaces, mixed up with heaps of slag and piles of coke & ore. Surprisingly, it is the roads that bring some order to this landscape. Vehicles make their way around the edge of the works and then dive into the grid of streets that separate the steelworkers’ houses. Manoeuvre the correct way through and find the small car park and beach which provides recreational opportunities for the local families. Man-made promontories of rocks and boulders have created a popular surfing beach. But one can never get away from where you are. Large ore-carrying vessels dock at the neighbouring concrete pier to unload their cargo – the life and blood of Port Talbot.

Swansea

Swansea’s sandy beach area stretches all the way around the bay. Swansea originally developed as a centre for metal and mining. It was the centre of the copper-smelting industry from the early 1700s to late 1800s and also had a role in transporting coal and steel. These have now been replaced along the five miles of sandy beach by modern apartments and offices. There’s also a promenade, a children’s lido, a leisure pool, a marina and several museums. Swansea was the birth place of Dylan Thomas.

Swansea Bay

Mumbles

The magnificent Mumbles is the southern anchor to the bay with a long promenade around the crescent of sand. It is popular for visitors from Swansea and wider afield. From 1835, lifeboats operated from here. Initially they were stored under the cliff and a proper boathouse was built on shore in 1866.

A pier was built in 1898 with access to a new boathouse and the slipway. Another lifeboat station was built directly onto the end of the pier in 2014.

Caswell

Passing almost hidden from elegant homes with rhododendron-lined gardens, the road drops to the soft sands of Caswell. The café is prepared for the summer rush to its soft sandy beach.

Oxwich

A privately-owned beach charging an admission fee, provides access to the sands, a simple café with a scattering of aluminium tables/chairs and an elegant-looking restaurant.

Port Eynon

Soft sands line the bay, backed by grass-tufted dunes, with a few scraped rocks at the low tide mark. A few houses pin each end of the crescent. Smuggling was a common village activity between the 17th & 19th centuries. A derelict salt house is close by, used for extracting salt from sea water.

Rhossili

A large National Trust Centre, with shops, café and large car park occupies the tip of this headland overlooking the wonderful curves of Rhossili Bay. In the distance, the only sign of human habitation are small white-washed farm buildings. Sheep dot the landscape as white pinheads.

A UK Coastal Trip – Ogmore-by-Sea

Penarth

Penarth is a delightful seaside town, full of charm and character. Today, the town, with its traditional seafront, continues to be a regular summer holiday destination, predominantly for older visitors. It is now a dormitory town for Cardiff commuters.

Penarth’s Victorian and Edwardian founders created an elegant resort with fine public buildings and ornate houses. It boasts a number of splendid parks that link the seafront to the quirky independent shops in the tree-lined centre. Because of the growing popularity of the beach, the Cardiff Steam and Navigation Company started a regular ferry service to Penarth in 1856 which continued until 1903. Boats were loaded and unloaded at Penarth using a landing stage on wheels which was hauled up the beach. In an attempt to find a safer way to unload passengers, a permanent pier opened in 1895. In 1907, a small wooden “Concert Party” theatre was built at the seaward end. In 1929, a new pier-head berthing pontoon was added and in 1930 the current art deco pavilion was built. In 2013 a revamped pier was reopened, complete with art gallery, café and cinema.

Swanbridge

From the late 1890s Lavernock and Swanbridge were popular holiday locations for day trippers from the valleys of South Wales. Beaches were packed with visitors throughout the summer. There was an ice cream parlour, two busy cafes, the Golden Hind public house and a hotel. Most travelled by steam trains that stopped at Lavernock and Swanbridge Halts until they closed in the 1960s. Today, Swanbridge is a mostly rocky beach at the end of a narrow lane. A popular seafront pub, The Captain’s Wife, has outdoor seating and a car park which doubles up for the beach. Offshore, Sully Island can be reached via a causeway at low tide, not that there’s a lot there..

Barry Island

There are several distinctive parts to Barry Island but an island is now not one of them, even though the peninsular still goes by that name. It was an island until the 1880s but it became linked to the mainland as the town expanded and the Barry Docks were constructed in the gap of water between the two. The docks were originally built in 1889 to export coal and although coal is no longer shipped out, the docks still handle a variety of chemicals and goods. Tourism has now become the town’s bread & butter. This took off in 1896 when a rail link connected the two via a 250-metre long causeway. Before that, the only access to the island’s beaches had been either on foot across the sand and mud at low tide, or when the tide was in, by ferry from the shore at the Old Harbour, which is now hardly used as it is no longer dredged and it has become silted up.

The recently refurbished seafront offers a sweeping promenade along the entire length of the beach, against a backdrop of cafés and restaurants, a climbing wall, mist feature, adventure golf and landscaped gardens. Amusements and rides can be found in the Pleasure Park.

Cold Knap

The Knap marks the edge of  Barry a strip of pebbled beach squashed in by apartment blocks, cliffs and a large park with a boating lake in the shape of a harp. It also has a line of parking spaces right by the shore. When I was there, a van was doing a brisk trade in teas, bacon sarnies and ice creams. Along the promenade at Cold Knap Point, there used to be an outdoor swimming pool. Despite a campaign to reopen the Knap Lido, it was filled in and turned into a tourist trail. The Romans used the spot as a port and the remains of Roman buildings are now scheduled as a monument.

Aberthaw

In the 16th century, the port of Aberthaw, was a small but thriving harbour. By the 1840s, it had declined as a port but the cement works and the lime works till operated near the shore. At that time the River Thaw was diverted and the old port effectively disappeared. In 1963, the ‘A’ Power Station opened, followed by the “B” station in 1971. The former was demolished in 1998 and the latter closed in 2019.

Llantwit Major

Its medieval streets exudes history with shops, cafes and inns dating from the 12th century. The beach of large pebbles and cubed boulders is close by, a gentle walk along the banks of a gurgling stream. Excellent café here.

Dunraven

The Romans built a fort on the cliff here. In the 1700s it was replaced by a manor house, Dunraven Castle, now in ruins. It is an excellent spot, best explored at low tide, for fossil hunting and rock pooling.

Southerndown

A narrow, paved road leads down to the car park & toilets at the beach at Southerndown, known as Dunraven Bay. The road that runs along the headlands through the village, provides wonderful views of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.

Ogmore-by-Sea

The village itself is set back on the raised land, overlooking the shore. The River Ogmore enters the Bristol Channel here and combines with the sea to create a large sandy beach at low tide. But watch out, it is easy to become cut off by the incoming tide. The small caves and rock pools are a magnet for those who enjoy exploring a varied coastline, like beach walkers and fossil hunters. The higher ground around the village hosts a large Pay & Display car park, along with a toilet block. Sheep graze on the cliffs, happily ignoring any activity on the beach or road above

 

A UK Coastal Trip – Weston-super-Mare

East Quantoxhead

This small, privately owned village seems caught in a time capsule. The centre feels very tranquil with an exquisite manor house, thatched cottages, medieval barns, its own duck pond and old mill building.

Hinkley Point C

There are three nuclear power stations on this headland. Plant A has been decommissioned, Plant B is in operation and Plant C is due to open in 2013 and expected to produce electricity for 60 years.

Steart

This small village lies in an isolated position on the Steart Peninsula which lies between Bridgewater Bay and the estuary of the Parrett. Largely low-lying farmland, it borders marshes managed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Burnham-on-Sea

 

from the town website

In the late 18th century Burnham grew from a small fishing village into a popular seaside resort. Several 19th century buildings line The Esplanade, the concrete sea-wall that was completed in 1988. A stone-built pier and jetty opened in 1858 to connect with a paddle-steamer ferry service which stopped in 1888. The second pier was built here just before WWI but never extended and so it remains the shortest in Britain at 37 metres in length, nothing more than a pavilion on piles. There has always been a risk to shipping in the area and several lighthouses have been built over the years. The Round Tower was built in 1799. It was sold after it stopped operating in 1992, converted and is now available for holiday lets. At the end of the beach the Low Lighthouse was built in 1832 on nine wooden piers.

Brean

Northwards along the coast and past the dunes and grasses that line the shore behind the Nine Pins Lighthouse the beach merges into Berrow and then Brean. These small villages are mainly made up of caravan park after caravan park; oh, and throw in a holiday camp. Over the road, the vast, sandy beach  stretches away  in either direction. It waits for the high sun to come out and the families to emerge from their compact holiday homes to take ownership of the shore, even if the water is far, far away. The beach is also a business. It is large enough and flat enough to park cars – at a charge.

Weston-super-Mare

Early in the 19th century, Weston was a small village of about 30 houses, located behind a line of sand dunes which stretched along the shore, which had been created as an early sea wall after the Bristol Channel floods of 1607. With the arrival of the railway in 1841, thousands of visitors came to the town from Bristol, the Midlands and further afield. Mining families also came across by paddle steamer from South Wales. To cater for them Birnbeck Pier was completed in 1867, offering arcades, amusements, tea rooms and rides. It closed in 1994 and now stands derelict. The Grand Pier opened in 1904, supported by 600 iron piles and 366 metres long. Weston has one of the longest beaches in the UK. Due to its large tidal range the low tide mark is about 1.6 km from the seafront. Although a bit jaded in places, the resort continues to offer numerous facilities to attract millions of visitors every year.

 Clevedon

Jutting out into the Bristol Channel sits Clevedon Pier. The pier was opened in 1869 to attract tourists, provide a ferry port for rail passengers to and from South Wales and serve as an embarkation point for paddle steamer excursions. The pier is 312 m long and consists of eight spans supported by steel rails covered by wooden decking, with a pavilion on the pier head. This Victorian resort town has the usual attractions that appeal to holidaymakers, next to the pier and along the promenade – cafés, bars, restaurants and fish & chip shops. After a chequered history dating back to 1929, Marine Lake still provides safe sea water swimming for families and training long distance swimmers within its artificial boundaries. Salthouse Field has a miniature railway, mini-golf and plenty of family-themed activities.

Portishead

The town of Portishead has a long history as a fishing port. The Esplanade is a reminder of the Victorian splendour that the town was long known for. As a Royal Manor, it expanded rapidly around the docks during the early 19th century. A power station and chemical works were added later but these have since closed and the area redeveloped into a glitzy marina & apartments blocks.

Severn Beach

Severn Beach used to be a thriving holiday resort. However, over the years, decline set in. Today it is quite hard to imagine the idea of anyone coming here on holiday. It is mostly a commuter town and the beach itself is a mix of mud, pebble and rock sloping into the silty waters of the Severn Estuary. The Second Severn Crossing can be seen in the background.

A UK Coastal Trip – Lynton & Lynmouth

Lynton & Lynmouth

Lynmouth is a pretty harbour of bobbing boats, nestling beneath the cliffs with quaint fishing cottages and shops lining the narrow street down to the quay and the distinctive Rhenish Tower, built in the late 1850s by General Rawdon to store salt water to supply his house with sea baths.The East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water come together at Watersmeet and flow through the village to the sea. In 1952 they both flooded and a torrent of water destroyed nearly 100 homes with the loss of 34 lives.

Lynton is a Victorian village perched high above the shore. The steep gradient between the two had always been a deterrent to visitors and a hard climb for the locals. In 1887 a 300-metre twin track was laid up the steep gradient. The water-operated cliff railway opened in 1890. Apart from needing new tracks in 1908, it operates now as it always has.

Porlock Weir

Porlock, the village 2 km from the coast, means ‘place of the port’ and Porlock Weir is its harbour. It was the working arm of Porlock Manor Estate where fishermen and builders had their homes. Weir refers to salmon stakes and traps that were situated along the shore. The quaint stone buildings and thatched cottages cluster around the harbour with the 15th century Ship Inn, restaurants, shops and places to stay.

Minehead

Originally this was a rather ordinary town with drift net fishing as its main source of income. This was concentrated around the fishing quarter and the historic harbour. Tourism was late to arrive here as it is a bit out of the way. It did not really become popular until the railways bought tourism to this part of the coast.

In Victorian times wealthy industrialists built large houses on North Hill and hotels were developed so that tourism became an important industry. There are still signs of Victorian and Georgian splendour but it was not until the 1950s that the place really took off. That was when Billy Butlin opened his holiday camp, meeting the need for cheap, multi- activity holidays for working families. Many of the visitors use the facilities of the beach and town before returning to camp for their all-inclusive meals and entertainment.

Dunster Beach

The medieval village of Dunster and the castle and grounds are well worth a visit. A lane leads down from the main road to the beach. A small refreshment hut stands on a wide, open expanse of land running along  the beach. This seems safe with groynes stabilising the shore. It is also a car park and you do have to pay if you want to stay. The track ends at a barrier- ‘Private Holiday Complex’. On the other side, the white-washed fences of private beach huts are proof that ’An Englishman’s home is his castle’.

Blue Anchor

A few detached houses pin the village to its beach of rocks and pebbles and stones. The raised coast road runs above the shore with white-painted railings preventing pedestrians from toppling onto the rocks below. A camp site and a large caravan park line the other side. At the west end, it turns away from the shore at a level crossing over the West Somerset Railway. 20 miles of track make this the longest,              independent, heritage railway in Britain. The line meanders through the Quantock Hills with 10 stations along the way.

Watchet

Watchet has history going back to the Dark Ages. Its then natural harbour made it an early trading centre, moving commodities up and down the coast, including iron ore, bought down by the railway. It has remained an active port ever since. Old cottages and shops lead down to the modern harbour. Cafes & benches are positioned on the quayside overlooking the moorings and the pontoons.

A UK Coastal Trip – Combe Martin

Woolacombe

This beach is really quite impressive, all 4.8 km of its surfing paradise. Vans & motor homes parked on the cliffs, empty the cool crowd onto the sands and into the sea. Rows of black-clad bodies wait for that one wave that will take them to the next level and nirvana.

Lee

This is a quiet gem, away from the relentless activity on the surfing beaches. Positioned in a small cove, the village is surrounded by glorious Devon countryside. There are a few houses, some holiday lets and a ramshackle hotel.

Ilfracombe

The town has been popular with holidaymakers since the 1800s. Beaches abound close by. The Tunnels Beaches transformed the town into a seaside resort whilst maintaining Victorian etiquette. Men, women, girls and boys were segregated through four tunnels on the way to a unique and stunning, secluded beach. Damien Hirst’s 20-metre-high statue of Verity stands at the entrance to the harbour, overlooked by sweeping public gardens and terraces of tall, elegant, white-faced buildings.

Hele

Looking down from the headland, Hele is like a model village. At low tide its beach is edged by interesting rock formations, caves and holes. The sands are empty, crying out for groups of holiday makers and playful children. The village is home to a paper mill which produces sausage casing paper and paper for teabags. Originally a grist mill producing flour, it was converted to a paper mill in 1762. It was here that John Dewdney produced the first glazed writing paper in England in the 1840s. He was also famously called upon to supply the paper for the catalogues of the Great Exhibition in 1851.

Watermouth

Watermouth Castle was the residence of a local family, built in the mid-19th century to resemble a castle but it is in fact a country house. The castle is now an amusement centre with such attractions as Castle Treasure, Dungeon Labyrinths and The Watershow Extravaganza and, in its grounds, are nine rides spread across themed areas known as Adventure Land, Merry go Land and Gnome Land. Opposite the castle a track leads down to a caravan park and a slipway where yachts are hauled up for the winter. A small tearoom offers simple refreshments.

Combe Martin

The village wraps itself around a small, sheltered cove with the steep coastal path winding up the cliffs on either side. It boasts some of the best rock pools in the UK. Houses line the one single street that runs 3.2 km from the valley head to the sea. The Pack o’ Cards public house was built around 1700 by George Ley, reputed to have been funded by his gambling successes. It originally had 52 windows, 13 rooms and four floors, matching the corresponding numbers from a pack of playing cards. Disused silver mines are located nearby. Items in the Crown Jewels are made from Combe Martin silver.

A UK Coastal Trip – Westward Ho!

Bude

The resort town/surfing centre of Bude is made up of different areas, each with a different feel. There is the busy town centre with national and independent shops and numerous hotels, guesthouses, bars and eateries. Tall cliffs climb behind the coast with open spaces for dog walkers and family play and exercise, before dipping down to numerous coves up and down the shore. Crooklets Beach is at the end of the golf club. Popular with surfers it has changing huts and showers and is close to town.

It is separated from Summerleaze Beach by Bude Sea Pool, a large, open-air tidal pool beneath the headland. The pool is refreshed daily and used when the tide is out. This beach stretches around the front of the town.

The life-savers have a high lookout, along with a cluster of beach huts, on the paths that lead up the cliffs. At the far side of the beach, the Bude Canal starts its low climb to Druxton Wharf near Launceston. Built in 1823, cables were used to haul tub boats up its 35 mile course.

Hartland Quay

This remote spot on the coastline of the teeth and tails of fiery dragons, used to be a small harbour. Ships would berth here to unload their cargoes of stone and lime and coal.  Agricultural products would have been loaded and taken to be sold. A line of workers cottages and an inn were built here. These have been converted into a hotel and bar, with a small shop selling items for tourists.

Clovelly

From the days of Elizabeth I, Clovelly has been privately owned. This means that it has kept its unique atmosphere but it also means you have to pay in the Visitor Centre to get in.

A single steep, cobbled street tumbles its way down to the ancient fishing harbour and the 14th century quay, past flower-strewn cottages broken only by little passageways and winding alleys that lead off to provide further surprises. This street, known as ‘Up-a-long’ or ‘Down-a-long’, was built of stones hauled up from the beach. Donkeys used to be the main form of transport but today man-powered sledges transport goods around the village. Clovelly was once a busy fishing port renowned for herring and mackerel. During the high season, the return to the car park can be made by vehicle from behind the pub on the quay.

Bucks Mill

This charming hamlet stands proudly on its high perch. It is unspoilt, with just a handful of cottages, no pub, no shop. At the time of the Spanish Armada, the survivors of a Spanish Galleon took refuge here and settled, marrying local women. They were self-sufficient, from fishing, agriculture and lime burning. On the beach, now sprinkled with disused lime kilns and rusty winches, is the abandoned quay.

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho! is the only town in the UK to have an exclamation mark as part of its name.

The vast beach is Westward Ho!’s big attraction, backed by amusements, go-carts and a surf school. This wide expanse of sand stretches away for 3 miles and is made for surfing, as long as you have the energy to get out there at low tide. The shore slopes away so gently that the low tide mark feels like a mile away. A promenade runs along in front of the resort providing protection for the beach huts, the numerous eateries and apartments, chalets, clubs and pubs.

On the neighbouring headland, bungalows, huts and caravans dot the grass in grid clusters. Permanent holiday housing has been built alongside two holiday camps which are still in operation.

Saunton

Surfers seem to go out in any weather as long as the surf is up. The village itself is small and provides the access to the beach car park. A small collection of shacks sell surfing paraphernalia and steaming mugs of tea to shivering wet suits. In the grey of a cold, windy, spring day, beach huts stand a bit forlorn, unwanted, unhired.

Croyde

Around the headland Croyde sits on a small bay. An unspoilt village steeped in old-world charm, it huddles behind the dunes. Between the houses, tracks head down to the surfing beaches. The surrounding cliffs offer grand views of the sport on offer amongst the surf-topped waves.

A UK Coastal Trip – Port Isaac

I am back on it now. I have travelled through all the remaining coastal settlements of the West Country and of Wales, so all the images and the blurb are mine.

Polzeath

A small seaside resort, Polzeath’s wide, sandy beach is popular with families and surfers. Cars park directly on the sand and offload their youngsters into numerous surfing schools dotted around the shore. Other families take their beach-paraphernalia to their spot, marked out with windbreaks and cool boxes. Surfing school staff and life savers give an air of authority in case anyone is feeling nervous about entering the distant sea. Steaming tea and bacon rolls are available from the cafes and stalls, providing further comfort.

Port Quinn

Port Quin is an unspoilt cove sitting in a deep inlet that faces the Atlantic. Narrow and sheltered, its beach is only accessible at low tide when rock pools appear. Forming a natural harbour, Port Quin, like villages close by, once had a thriving pilchard fishing industry. There was mining here too, but over the years both went into terminal decline with the village eventually becoming deserted. The cove and village have been  re-energised and both are now run by the National Trust. It a quiet and peaceful spot that is popular with experienced walkers and those taking part in snorkelling and kayaking. On my visit, a small van was making good quality, bespoke coffee in the small car park.

Port Isaac

Port Isaac is all very quaint and photogenic. The time to visit is out of season otherwise the narrow streets and eateries are swamped by visitors, to the extent that cars are parked all the way up the roads running down and through the village. A well-known set for TV and film, one almost expects familiar members of the cast to be seated in the pub with a bevy or beer in his/her hand. Yep, it happened when I was there! In the centre of the village, numerous restaurants and eateries offer seafood menus, landed by the boats that moor in the harbour or are dragged up onto the small slipway. Reservations are essential all year round.

The village was a busy coastal port from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th Century by which time it was an active harbour handling stone, coal, timber and pottery. Fishing and fish-processing have always been important. The centre consists of narrow alleys and ’opes’ winding down steep hillsides, lined with white washed cottages and granite, slate fronted houses.

Tintagel

Tintagel is a busy village with numerous attractions to pull in the passing tourist. The most well-known is Tintagel Castle – a Cornish castle with links to the legend of King Arthur. A spectacular new bridge links this island fortress to the mainland. The castle ruins, covered in lichen and tufted grass, cling to the cliffs. A life-size bronze statue of an ancient regal figure keeps watch over the wild seas below.

Boscastle

Quaint, picturesque, white-washed cottages line the stream that gurgles down to the harbour and the sea. In 2004 flash floods caused terrible damage.

Before the railways, Boscastle was a thriving port, serving much of North Cornwall. The harbour, sheltering from the weather and sea behind crags and outcrops, is a natural inlet protected by two stone walls, built in 1584.

Crackington Haven

This is a lovely shingle cove dominated by majestic cliffs. Golden sands & rock pools are exposed at low tide. Until the 19th century, it was a small port handling limestone, coal & local slate. The village car park, at the mouth of a gurgling brook where it spreads over the beach, is partially circled by a cluster of houses, a few being B&Bs, an inn, and an excellent cafe.

Widemouth Bay

The beach is a wide expanse of open sand with fingers of rock all that remains of eroded headlands. This exposed stretch of coast, faces west, straight into the full force of the Atlantic.

A UK Coastal Tour – Padstow

Read and look with caution. This is the last virtual section on the south western section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Porthcothan visitcornwall.co.uk

Porthcothan beach is a north west-facing cove backed by grassy dunes popular for sunbathing and a favourite with families.  The sandy beach opens out at low tide, connecting up with small coves to the north and south and at high tide the beach becomes very sheltered from swell and winds due to the cliffs. Surfers find Porthcothan to be a quiet surf spot with normally no decent consistent surf.

© Adam Gibbard                                                                           © John Such

Treyarnon visitcornwall.co.uk

A lovely clean, north-west facing, sandy beach surrounded by low cliffs and backed by sand dunes. This popular family beach offers an expanse of fine sand at low water with plenty of nooks to discover.  It is a short walk around the point from Constantine Bay to the north.

© Matt Jessop

Constantine Bay visitcornwall.co.uk

With a reputation as one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall, Constantine Bay beach offers a sweeping arc of gently shelving soft pale sands. This west-facing beach also has numerous rock pools to explore and is very popular for swimming and surfing. Constantine Bay is separated from its neighbour, Booby’s Bay, to the north, by a thin rocky point, bordered by a large rocky reef to the south and backed by a network of sand dunes.

© Matt Jessop

Trevose visitcornwall.co.uk

Jutting into the Atlantic, Trevose Head commands views for miles along the coast

© Trevose Golf Club

Harlyn visitcornwall.co.uk

Considered one of the best family beaches in Cornwall, Harlyn Bay is a wide and spacious beach of yellow sand and pebbles with plenty of interesting rock pools backed by dunes and situated on the eastern side of Trevose Head. With its reputation as one of the safest beaches in the Cornwall, the crescent shaped bay is popular with novice surfers who can learn to master the waves with surf schools who run sessions from the beach. There’s a fascinating combination of rocky shoreline, sand, dune and tide pools to explore and the beautiful bay is also an unbeatable location to have a go at sea kayaking. The south east corner of Harlyn village provides the access to the beach, next to a stream that flows on to the beach. The remains of an old iron age cemetery were discovered behind the beach below the sand.

© Sean Hughes

Trevone visitcornwall.co.uk

Trevone Bay has a gently shelving, sandy beach, surrounded by cliffs and situated in an area of great geological interest. The beach has golden sand and little alcoves to sit and watch away the day. The cliffs to the north east of the beach provide fantastic walks and views to Hawkers Cove, the Camel Estuary and beyond. The cliff has a large blowhole as well, which appears on top of the cliff, so beware of getting too close to the edge if you’re not good with heights! Popular with surfers this small cove produces good waves from low to mid tide. Right handers from the rocks on the right and a peak in the middle that has mainly rights and shorter lefts. It also has lefts off the left-hand side of the bay, suitable for intermediate and experienced surfers.

© Matt Jessop

Padstow visitcornwall.co.uk

Padstow is a charming working fishing port surrounded by glorious sandy beaches, at the head of the Camel River. Watching the everyday ebb and flow of harbour life is a perfect way to spend a day. This foodie destination with popular eateries such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, is the start and end point for the Camel Cycle Trail and a good base for water sports. Padstow Museum houses an interesting collection of memorabilia giving an insight into the history of Padstow over the past two centuries. Take the ferry across the river to the village of Rock. From here there are some great walks along the coast to the spectacular beaches of Daymer Bay and Polzeath.

© Matt Jessop                                                                               © John Such

Trebetherick visitcornwall.co.uk

Trebetherick is a village on the north coast of Cornwall on the headland, east of the River Camel estuary. There is a stunning beach at Daymer Bay where, at low tide, long stretches of golden sand are exposed, backed by dunes with superb views across the Camel Estuary.

© Matt Jessop

A UK Coastal Trip – Newquay

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Porthtowan visitcornwall.co.uk

This is a popular surfing beaches bordered by soft golden sand and backed by large dunes and dramatic cliffs. From the beach at low tide you can walk to the neighbouring and equally stunning beach at Chapel Porth and apart from the large expanse of sand which is perfect for a game of rounders or cricket, there’s a children’s play park at the top end of the beach making Porthtowan a firm family favourite. The coastal footpath skirts over the cliffs heading east to St Agnes and west to Portreath with spectacular views out over the sea. Situated on the shore is the popular Blue Bar, a relaxed beach side café where you can grab a drink and watch the sun go down.

© Matt Jessop

 St Agnes visitcornwall.co.uk

St Agnes is a picturesque village on the north coast of Cornwall. Steeped in mining history, the village retains a traditional friendly Cornish atmosphere and makes a wonderful base for your holiday. There’s a thriving community with a choice of shops, as well as galleries and craft workshops where beautiful gifts are made by hand. There are also friendly hotels and bars serving good food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

© Adam Gibbard                                                                          © Adam Gibbard

From the main village, walk down to Trevaunance Cove with its ruined harbour. There are four different beaches easily accessed from the village and dramatic coastal walks with some breath-taking scenery filled with relics from the past. These include the iconic Wheal Coates engine house, now part of Cornwall’s World Heritage status and the inspiration behind the original Poldark books.

 Perranporth visitcornwall.co.uk

Perranporth is the gateway to one of Cornwall’s most popular and spectacular beaches where the miles of golden sand, huge surf and sand dunes, jam-packed with wildlife all combine to make a pretty impressive location. Surrounded by countryside that inspired Winston Graham’s swashbuckling Poldark novels, the busy village has plenty of family eateries serving up traditional food along with many cafes and bars that cater for the beach crowd. For the more active, there are surf and kite buggy schools on the beach and from the village the coastal footpath provides some great walking.

© Matt Jessop

West Pentire visitcornwall.co.uk

The West Pentire arable fields explode in a riot of red poppies and yellow corn marigolds in early summer. A small attractive cove, also known as Polly Joke, is north-west facing and less busy than other beaches nearby. Porth Joke is excellent for rock-pooling and has caves to explore. The beach is also suitable for swimming, body-boarding, surfing and fishing. Sheep graze in the dunes behind the beach.

Newquay visitcornwall.co.uk

© Matt Jessop (& 2 below)

Newquay, one of the nation’s favourite seaside towns, exudes the laid-back atmosphere you would expect from a town perched on Cornwall’s Atlantic cliffs and bordered by seven miles of glorious golden sandy beaches. It’s a place where all the family gets to relax and enjoy a proper holiday – toes in the sand, ice-cream in hand. There’s a different beach for every day of the week and glorious open spaces looking out to sea. The town manages to be both trendy and yet remains a great family resort – all wrapped up in the most fantastic coastal scenery.

Porth visitcornwall.co.uk

Porth beach, on the east side of Newquay, is very popular with families and has a large area of flat golden sand that offers safe bathing. Porth has level access to the beach and there is pleasant walking around Porth Island.

©Adam Gibbard

Mawgan Porth visitcornwall.co.uk

Situated mid-way between Padstow and Newquay on the rugged north Cornish coast, Mawgan Porth offers a beautiful west facing beach, stunning scenery, wondrous walks and superb surfing. Enjoy a fun filled day on the beach with an abundance of activities to try, from rock pooling at low tide, exploring the caves, body boarding, learning to surf with a local surf school and of course having a go at building a sand castle. If you get a little peckish there is a pub, café, restaurant and fish and chip shop nearby.

© Matt Jessop

A UK Coastal Trip – St Ives

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Porthgwarra visitcornwall.co.uk

A picturesque fishing hamlet with some boats still launching from here, Porthgwarra has a small secluded beach just around the corner from Porthcurno.

© Matthew Jessop

Land’s End visitcornwall.co.uk

Land’s End is mainland Britain’s most south-westerly point and one of the country’s most famous landmarks. From the 200-foot high granite cliffs that rise out of the Atlantic Ocean you can gaze across to the Longships Lighthouse, the Isles of Scilly twenty-eight miles away and beyond that, North America.

© Matthew Jessop

Sennan Cove visitcornwall.co.uk

Head down the hill from Sennen and it’s not long before your view is full of sea and sunshine. Some days huge blue rollers head towards the shore making Sennen Cornwall’s most westerly surf hotspot, other days the tides out and the wide golden sands provide plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. The small harbour with its lifeboat station and art galleries is great for those days when the sun is in hiding.

© Matthew Jessop

Porthgwiggen visitcornwall.co.uk

The smallest beach of soft golden sand in St Ives, near to the Island, is very popular with families as it is very sheltered and quite an east-facing sun trap. It is a hard climb back up to the large car park at the top of town. Why not park at Lelant Saltings and enjoy the scenic railway branch line right to the heart of the town?

© Matthew Jessop

St Ives visitcornwall.co.uk

St Ives is a seemingly subtropical oasis where the beaches are golden, the vegetation is lush and the light piercingly bright. It’s no wonder then that the town has been attracting artists for decades who come to capture the area’s undeniable natural beauty. It started with J M W Turner and the marine artist Henry Moore who first came to St Ives in the mid-1800s and since then the town has become a magnet for some of the world’s greatest painters, sculptors and ceramists. Visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden where sensual sculptures by one of the country’s leading 20th century artists are exhibited in tranquil gardens. Wander along pathways through trees and shrubs and discover some of her most celebrated works in bronze and limestone. At the top of the town can be found the Bernard Leach Pottery, established in 1920 and now a working museum. There are only four Tate galleries in the world and one of them is Tate St Ives. 

© Matthew Jessop                                                                        © Matthew Jessop

There are plenty of pavement cafes, ancient pubs and top-notch eateries with mouth-watering menus. Behind the 14th century Sloop Inn on the Wharf and the Harbour beach there is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and fisherman’s cottages. This is the heart of old St Ives, known to the locals as ‘Downlong’. Spend an hour or so delving into the life and times of bygone St Ives at the local museum. The large space is packed with memorabilia and artefacts that reflect St Ives’s long and varied history including fishing, boatbuilding, art and agriculture.

Gwithian Towans visitcornwall.co.uk

Blasted by the breeze off the Atlantic, the magnificent beach at Gwithian Towans is always a colourful scene of windsurfers on the water, blokarts on the beach and kites in the sky. Backed by sand dunes tufted with wild grass, at low tide there is a vast amount of sand to enjoy and large areas of rock pools and caves are uncovered which are great for kids to explore. Access to the beach is along a path through the sand dunes from the car park.

© Adam Gibbard

The beach is a favourite destination for surfers as the constant swell coming in from the ocean provides good all year-round conditions. Common seals are a regular sight near the beach and the area is a breeding ground for colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills and cormorants. The Sunset Surf beachside café and bar overlooks the beach and is open all year, serving locally sourced, seasonal ingredients wherever possible and nearby the Jam Pot Café and Shop, a former 19th century coastguard lookout, is where you can enjoy home cooked snacks and be distracted by the stunningly natural views out over St Ives Bay.

Portreath visitcornwall.co.uk

The large beach has soft fine sand, with shingle below the shore line, that is popular with families. The harbour wall and “rocky” is popular with surfers for its “vortex” surf break. Refreshments may be obtained from the Beach Café or The Retreat Restaurant & Take-Away which has a relaxed atmosphere with comfy sofas. There are two surf/beach shops and an amusement arcade for families located on the seafront. Public toilets are also available close by. The village has a local supermarket, Post Office, Bakery and a tearoom located within The Square. The village also has three pubs.

© Matthew Jessop

A UK Coastal Trip – Mousehole

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Praa Sands visitcornwall.co.uk

When you take the short walk from the car park to Praa Sands you’ll be struck by how white the sand is, blinding so in the sunshine. Apparently, and here’s the science, the light sand is made from seashells that have been pulverised by wave action over millions of years. Located in the south west-facing bend between the Lizard and west Penwith, the mile-long sandy beach is backed with sheltering sand dunes and its easily accessible position is enjoyed by families having fun in the shallows while further out the surf brigade take on some surprisingly big waves.

Prussia Cove

Formerly called King’s Cove, is a small private estate on the coast of Mount’s Bay.

Perranuthnoe cornwalls.co.uk

A charming little village, it consists of a church, a pub and a beach. The name is derived from the saint’s name, Piran, patron saint of Cornwall, plus the name of the local manor, Uthno. The current church dating back to the fifteenth century, is built on the site of another older church that was built in Norman times. Dating back to the 12th century is the village pub, the Victoria Inn, is alleged to be the oldest recorded inn in Cornwall and still offers quality pub food and accommodation. Perhaps the village’s biggest draw is the sandy beach of Perran Sands. About half a mile in length at low tide, the beach is flanked by cliffs.

Marazion visitcornwall.co.uk photos

With stunning views toward the Lizard Peninsula and Land’s End and its location opposite the fairy-tale castle perched on St Michael’s Mount, Marazion is a justifiably popular destination. The town claims to be the oldest town in Britain and was called Ictis by the Romans which goes someway to indicate that the area was a trading post for tin in ancient times. The ancient market town of Marazion is a great place to visit at any time of the year. The safe, sandy beach is lapped by the clear, turquoise waters of Mount’s Bay and guarded by the island fortress of St Michael’s Mount.

Penzance visitcornwall.co.uk

Famous for its pirates, well the singing variety anyway, Penzance is a historic port on the south facing shores of Mount’s Bay and has one of the mildest climates in the UK. One of the striking things about the town is the abundance of palm trees and gardens full of sub-tropical plants, a sure sign that you have arrived somewhere unique made even more special by the sight of St Michael’s Mount out to sea that seems to hover magically over the water. Wander the town’s streets and you’ll come across the fabulously decorated Egyptian House, the statue of local hero Sir Humphry Davy (pioneer of mine safety) and art galleries, book sellers and new age shops which add a slightly bohemian feel to the town while down at the harbour boat trips, sea safaris and fishing excursions provide some great seaborne activities.

©Adam Gibbard

Newlyn cornwalls.co.uk

Newlyn is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the United Kingdom, with over 40 acres of harbour. The industry is one of the most important in the county, contributing millions of pounds to the Cornish economy each year. All sorts of fishing vessels can be seen in the harbour – beam trawlers, long liners, crabbers and even small open boats used for hand-lining for mackerel in the Bay. The port was sacked and torched by a Spanish raiding party in the 16th century, then rebuilt. Today, very little of old Newlyn remains. Many of the white painted or stone-faced granite cottages, separated by steep, narrow alleys, were only saved from demolition be the outbreak of the Second World War. The medieval harbour walls are dwarfed by the hundred-year-old walls of the North and South Piers.

Mousehole visitcornwall.co.uk

Popular for retaining its original character, charm and beauty, Mousehole is a tiny fishing village in West Cornwall, three miles west of Penzance. Its picturesque harbour is surrounded by narrow streets and yellow lichened houses, which huddle together creating a stunning location. Along the harbour road you’ll find galleries, gift shops and restaurants and in the harbour itself is a safe sandy beach at low tide, popular with families.

Lamorna visitcornwall.co.uk

The cove has a small pebble beach beside the harbour and quay with lots of large boulders especially at low tide. A nice quiet spot for swimming and a good spot for scuba diving. You have to pay to use the car park and even if you are just turning around in it, you may be fined for not paying.

Porthcurno visitcornwall.co.uk

Described by some as being a paradise, Porthcurno, located in the far west of Cornwall has won many awards and it’s easy to see why. With gorgeous fine soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides providing shelter, it’s an oasis of stunning natural beauty. The large beach, popular with families, has a stream that flows down one side which is great for kids to paddle in.

 

A UK Coastal Trip – The Lizard

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Cadgwith visitcornwall.co.uk

Fishing boats supply fresh crab and lobster every day. There is a village pub and a good cafe/restaurant. A perfect place for peace and quiet, especially in spring and autumn near the most southerly point in mainland Britain.

Church Cove visitcornwall.co.uk

This is a small hamlet with a cluster of houses around a sharp rocky cove and a steep, narrow slipway with a small number of fishing boats hauled up to safety. At Church Cove two treasure ships were known to have been lost – one in 1526 and the other in 1785.

Lizard Town cornwalls.co.uk

Lizard Town, also known as Lizard Village and The Lizard, is the closest settlement to Lizard Point, the most southerly point in Britain.

Lizard Town, while not particularly charming architecturally, has a real community atmosphere and an excellent pasty shop. Lizard Point is an easy walk from the village green, as is the parish church, the lifeboat station, a collapsed sea cave known as the Lion’s Den, a restored Marconi workshop and The Lizard lighthouse, whose beam has a range of twenty nine miles. Since 1751 there has been a lighthouse on Lizard Point, warning shipping of the dangers of this beautiful but treacherous coastline. Just offshore are the Man o’ War rocks. Below the point is the Old Lifeboat House.

Lizard Town is the hub of a cottage industry that converts locally quarried Serpentine stone into attractive ornaments. The town is located at the centre of the largest outcrop of Serpentine rock in Britain. Serpentine ornaments were particularly fashionable in Victorian times but the village still has several serpentine turners working during the season. There are several craft shops, gift shops and galleries. This is also an area which boasts a number of scuba diving schools.

Mullion visitcornwall.co.uk

Mullion is the largest village on the Lizard and has shops, inns, cafes, restaurants, craft shops and art galleries. In the centre of the village is the 15th century church of St Mellanus. Mullion Cove has a pretty working harbour, protected from the winter gales that rage across Mount’s Bay by two large sea walls. The harbour was completed in 1895 and financed by Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock as a recompense to the fishermen for several disastrous pilchard seasons. You can still see the old pilchard cellar and net store.

Poldhu visitcornwall.co.uk

Poldhu Cove, also known as Black Pool Cove, is a lovely, west-facing sandy beach, suitable for building sand castles to beach volleyball, rocks to explore at low tide and great for swimming, surfing and windsurfing (in the designated zone). With the imposing former hotel on Poldhu Point to the south and the Mullion Golf course to the north, access to the flat, sandy beach is from the car park across the road. A few hundred metres along the southern cliff lies the monument to the great inventor Marconi who sent the first wireless signal.  Swimming and surfing is possible here taking care at low tide. Poldhu Cove is owned and looked after by the National Trust.

Gunwalloe Church Cove visitcornwall.co.uk

A site of archaeological importance surrounded by dunes, beaches, a medieval church and a reedbed rich in wildlife. The tiny church of St Wynwallow, with a detached tower set into the solid rock of the headland, is located to the north of the beach hence the name Church Cove.

Portleven visitcornwall.co.uk

Three glorious miles of sand and steeply shelving shingle run east from the historic harbour. When the tide is out, you can walk along to Loe Bar and the Penrose Estate from the granite pier of the harbour, accessed from the village. But please take note of the tides! Bathing is not advised as there are strong undercurrents here. Surfing, although popular, is only recommended to experienced surfers.

A UK Coastal Trip – Falmouth

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Falmouth cornwalls.co.uk

Until the middle of the 16th century, the only building in Falmouth was Arwennack , the home of the Killigrew family. However, Henry VIII recognised the value of one of the world’s finest natural harbours and built Pendennis Castle on the headland. After this, the Killigrews developed the town. The Prince of Wales Pier was built in the early 1900s. It now serves as a boat launch for ferries across the bay and up the River Fal.

Today tourists can enjoy Falmouth’s lovely beaches, at the opposite side of the town to the harbour. These sandy stretches are where many of the main hotels stand and they are ideal for swimming.  Apart from the attractive old shops and many cafés and restaurants, Falmouth is the site of a thriving art school, which holds regular exhibitions. Facing Falmouth, across the estuary of the River Fal, is St Mawes, which boasts another defensive castle.

Gyllyngvase Beach visitcornwall.co.uk

This is one of the most popular beaches in Falmouth, less than 10 minutes’ walk to the historic town centre.

Swanpool visitcornwall.co.uk

Swanpool is a sandy cove on the outskirts of Falmouth and proud of its friendly, fun and welcoming environment. You can walk the dogs on leads and take the kids around the Swanpool nature reserve to feed the ducks and the swans. There’s a large carpark, 18-hole crazy golf course, a beach cafe and a safe beach for all you swimmers! You can put the kids on the fun bouncer or hire kayaks, or simply relax on the beach.

Maenporth visitcornwall.co.uk

The gently sloping beach has shallow water which is great for children. Situated approximately two miles south-southwest of Falmouth, Maenporth beach faces east across Falmouth Bay with views towards Pendennis Castle and the lighthouse on St Anthony Head.

St Anthony-in-Meneage cornwalls.co.uk

Eternally grateful for having been spared, shipwrecked Normans washed ashore here  are credited with the building of the church in this beautiful spot next to the waters of Gillan Creek. On this same promontory there was once a fortress built in the Civil War which was one of the last Cornish Royalist strongholds. There is still a small boatyard in this pretty waterside hamlet, but little else.

Flushing cornwalls.co.uk

The handsome, green village of Flushing, just opposite the busy port of Falmouth has a slightly different feel to it, perhaps because it was settled by a Dutch community in the 17th century, who hailed from Vlissingen in Holland, also known as Flushing. Various ships’ captains also favoured this village and built themselves impressive Queen Anne style houses. Like its larger neighbour Falmouth, shipbuilding and repairing has been the stock trade of this village for hundreds of years. St Peter’s church is built in a Norman Style but is only around 150 years old. To save the long drive round, Flushing is reachable by ferry from Falmouth.

Porthallow cornwalls.co.uk

Once a busy fishing village with a thriving pilchard fleet, there are now only a few working boats left on the pebble beach, directly in front of the village of Porthallow.

Porthoustock cornwalls.co.uk

Towards high tide the beach consists of a neat crescent of flat pebbles with quarry workings at either end. Cars are parked all along the back of the beach. Pulled up on the beach are a collection of small fishing boats that work the plentiful waters here. As the tide drops out it reveals an area of sand. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Porthoustock is the enormous concrete silo at the southern end of the beach. Now disused, this was used to store aggregate from the still-working quarry.

At the northern end of the beach is a quay used by the quarry to load aggregate onto boats. Porthoustock is a popular spot for diving as it is located close to the infamous Manacles reef and all the shipwrecks associated with it.

Coverack visitcornwall.co.uk

Coverack is a picturesque Cornish fishing village with a small sand and pebble beach, situated on the eastern coast of the Lizard peninsula. The beach is fairly rocky but a good family beach nonetheless, it can also provide ideal conditions for anglers. The Manacles reef is located just off the Coverack coast, a group of dangerous rocks which have contributed to the sinking of many ships, leaving it a popular area for divers exploring shipwrecks.

© John Such                                                                                   © Adam Gibbard

A UK Coastal Trip – Charlestown

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Talland visitcornwall.co.uk

Talland is a hamlet and ecclesiastical parish consisting of a church, the Old Vicarage and a few houses.

Polperro cornwalls.co.uk

Polperro is an unspoilt 13th century fishing village. A surfeit of touristy gift shops do not quite manage to spoil this quaint old Cornish fishing village whose narrow streets and pretty cottages remain undeniably attractive. Many of the cottages are covered with a profusion of flowers in summer and the streets are so narrow they are banned to cars, which makes Polperro an ideal place to explore on foot. The village has a rich history full of tales of fishing and smuggling through the ages.

Polruan cornwalls.co.uk

Polruan is an ancient fishing village just across the water from the better-known Fowey. Built on a very steep hill, Polruan is bounded on three sides by water: Pont Creek to the north, the River Fowey to the west and the English Channel to the south. Two blockhouses were built in Polruan and Fowey in the fourteenth century to protect the harbour from attack by pirates or the French. A chain was pulled tight across the river between the blockhouses to stop vessels entering in times of crisis. Although the one on the Fowey side is collapsing beyond repair, the one on the the Polruan side has been lovingly restored. Polruan is connected to Fowey by the Polruan Ferry, which crosses the harbour every fifteen minutes throughout the year. Aside from fishing, Polruan has a long history of boatbuilding and there is still an active boatyard today.

Readymoney Cove cornwalls.co.uk

A view past one of the ornamental turrets that adorn what are the public toilets at Fowey’s Readymoney Cove. The building was once a lime kiln and the kiln remains at the seaward side of the building. The name ‘Readymoney’ is believed to be derived from an old word, ‘redeman’, which was a shallow ford or stepping stones. Now its main role is as Fowey’s only beach.

Polkerris visitcornwall.co.uk

A sheltered harbour beach in the small village of Polkerris, overlooking St Austell Bay, with a stone quay providing shelter. This sandy beach is ideal for families, with facilities, including a slipway, right by the beach, watersport equipment for hire and water sports tuition available. Facing south west, the beach is perfect for late afternoons and glorious sunsets throughout the year. The beach has a pub, seafood restaurant and take away cafe and therefore offers a range of food and drink option. It is a short 5 min. walk down to the beach from the car park.

Carlyon Bay cornwalls.co.uk

 Carlyon Bay is a super sandy beach on the south Cornwall coast. Unfortunately, Carlyon Bay has been blighted in recent years by development work which is ongoing, but the beach is still accessible. There are no facilities.

Charlestown cornwalls.co.uk

The harbour village of Charlestown was a Georgian ‘new town’, a port development planned by local landowner Charles Rashleigh (after whom it was named) and built between 1790 and 1810 for the export of copper and china clay. Throughout the nineteenth century the little dock was packed with ships and the harbourside sheds and warehouses thronged with complementary businesses: boatbuilding, ropemaking, brickworks, lime burning, net houses, bark houses and pilchard curing.

The historic port was used frequently for filming the hit period drama since it first appeared on BBC One in 2015 posing as Poldark’s 18th century Truro Harbour – a role it was perfectly suited for due to its resident tall ships and original granite quays. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and gift shops to be enjoyed whilst taking in the breath-taking views out over St Austell Bay.

A UK Coastal Trip – Looe

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

These days it is hard to mention Kingsand without including its neighbouring twin village of Cawsand. Until the mid-1800s, the two villages were in different counties with the boundary once marked by a small stream. Today it is difficult to tell where Kingsand starts and Cawsand finishes, but both are firmly within Cornwall. Both villages have a selection of shops and places to eat including traditional pubs.

Kingsand visitcornwall.co.uk

Kingsand is still something of an undiscovered gem. It has quaint, narrow, cottage-lined streets to rival the likes of Polperro and Port Isaac, whilst still retaining much of its unspoilt charm.

Cawsand visitcornwall.co.uk

Cawsand has a pleasant east-facing shingle beach, popular with families, with rock pools and inlets, in a sheltered location..

Portwrinkle visitcornwall.co.uk

Portwrinkle, is on the western end of Whitsand Bay. There are two sand and shingle beaches with numerous rock pools and a small harbour. Portwrinkle is popular with families and the east beach, known as Finnygook beach, can be used by experienced surfers. There are steep paths down to both. Portwinkle was traditionally a fishing village and the old 17th century walls of the pilchard cellars are still standing, although they have been incorporated into housing.

Downderry visitcornwall.co.uk

A wide, straight beach made up of shingle and sand with rock pools at low tide. A sea wall along the back of the beach gives walking access to Seaton to the west. Downderry has a shop, cafe’s and a pub. Parking and toilets in the centre of the village.

 

Seaton visitcornwall.co.uk

This lovely family beach has a large cafe, shop and parking. It has everything you need for a memorable day out with a large beach of sand and small pebbles located at the entrance to the Seaton Valley Country Park, home to wildlife such as otters, kingfishers, dormice and fritillary butterflies. The beach is very popular with dog owners, shore fisherman and is one of the few beaches in this part of Cornwall that provides good waves for surfing. For the younger ones, they can enjoy paddling and splashing about in the river that runs across the beach. There is also a playground behind the beach. You can also take a gentle stroll along the sea wall to the nearby Downderry beach or there’s a wide path leading up the valley that’s suitable for both walkers and cyclists.

Millendreath cornwall-beaches.co.uk

A south facing beach, Millendreath lies at the foot of a wooded valley in a sheltered cove that during low tide has pleasant soft sands and numerous rock pools to explore. However, at high tide the beach mostly disappears. Millendreath is home to what was once a popular holiday village. Open from the 1950s through to the 1990s the resort became outdated and fell into decline. Work is now nearing completion on a regeneration project which has seen a thorough modernisation of the complex and rebranding as the Black Rock beach.

Looe cornwalls.co.uk

Looe is situated on both sides of the River Looe. The two towns are joined together by a bridge across the river. In medieval times East Looe and West Looe were separate towns. East Looe includes the harbour and the main shopping centre. West Looe is quieter but also has shops, restaurants and hotels. They are joined by a seven arched bridge, built in 1853. This replaced a much earlier bridge from the 15th century and there are still buildings of this period in the town.

It has been a holiday resort for more than 200 years, and has relayed more heavily on the tourist industry since its pilchard canning factory closed in the sixties. It is worth visiting the harbour quay to watch the fishing boats coming in to unload their catches. The arrival of the small fishing fleet is a busy and colourful scene. Local fish can be found on the menus of many local restaurants. The banjo pier is a popular point from which to see the returning fishing trawlers at high tide.

A UK Coastal Trip – Plymouth

Now the difficult bit. So far I have visited every one of the settlements on our coastal trip, taken the photographs and written the blurb, usually in the evening as I rest in some random B&B or small hotel. But Salcombe was as far as I got on this leg. I still have two sections to cover – Cornwall and the North West coast of England. I had planned to do these in 2020. In fact, I was due to travel around Cornwall over Easter but Covid-19 put paid to that. (Sods Law: the sunniest April since records began!!).

So, my followers, this is the virtual bit. To continue with our trip around the UK, I am using a number of Tourist board websites. I will use their images and their blurb. Read and look with caution, as it might all seem a bit rosy compared with reality. Here we go:

Hope Cove visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Hope Cove is made up of two sandy beaches in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Mouthwell Sands to the north is the nearest beach to the car park. The longer Harbour beach sits just to its south. The two are easily accessible and it’s worth exploring them both if time permits.

Thurlestone visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Thurlestone is a beautiful coastal village with a most dramatic coastline. Originally a tiny coastal hamlet, Thurlestone is now home to a gloriously sited hotel, a popular golf course, and a variety of accommodation for permanent residents and visitors alike. The beach and South Milton Sands provide beautifully clean areas for swimming, surfing or rock-pooling. Nearby is Bantham Beach with a pretty estuary and dunes to explore.

Bigbury-on-Sea visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Bigbury-on-Sea beach is ideal for family holidays. Dusted with sand and lapped by shallow waters, the beach offers safe fun for groups particularly if you’ve got children in tow. In addition, It is dotted with rock pools, so there’s plenty of entertainment for budding marine biologists who like to explore.

Wembury visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Wembury is a great place to visit if you fancy some rock pooling adventures or wildlife hunting. The Devon Wildlife Trust oversees the Wembury Marine Centre situated nearby. Wembury has a safe and popular beach administered by the National Trust, who also run a car park and cafe.

Bovisand visitsouthdevon.co.uk

Bovisand beach is a sheltered bay of yellow sand with cliffs either side. Located within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is popular with locals and families. There is a large expanse of flat sand when the tide is out, ideal for ball games and warms the water with the incoming tide, and is perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Plymouth visitplymouth.co.uk

Plymouth is a port city. It is known for its maritime heritage and historic Barbican district with narrow, cobbled streets.

Plymouth Hoe, referred to locally as the Hoe, is a large south-facing open public space in the English coastal city of Plymouth. The Hoe is adjacent to and above the low limestone cliffs that form the seafront and it commands views of Plymouth Sound, Drake’s Island, and across the Hamoaze to Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel.

Sutton Harbour is home to the National Marine Aquarium, where sharks and rays glide in a deep tank. Also, in the harbour are several marinas and a fish market, the Plymouth Fisheries. The Mayflower Steps are where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World in 1620.

A UK Coastal Trip – Hallsands

Torcross

A busy road hugs the beach and runs along the top of the narrow shingle bar, behind which is Slapton Ley, a shallow freshwater lake and a national nature reserve. Situated at the end of Slapton Ley, Torcross, an old fishing village, is now a small resort. At its peak there were 3 hotels and 10 B&Bs hosting the many tourists who visited the area.

Its proximity to the nature reserve attracts bird watchers and nature lovers. Behind the Start Bay Inn a Sherman tank stands as a memorial to the 749 US servicemen who lost their lives in the bay during WWII. US troops used this area to rehearse for the D-Day landings. These preparations were marred by an incident of friendly fire in April 1944. This was followed by an attack from three German E-boats.

Beesands

Around the headland there is a traditional, working feel to the small fishing village of Beesands. Crab and lobster fishing remain important. The village consists of a cluster of houses with a church & a couple of eateries.

Hallsands

A small fishing village thrived here. In 1894 shingle from the beach was dredged and used to extend Devonport Dockyard. The full impact of this was only felt in 1917 when severe gales and a high tide combined to take the sea wall, and practically the whole village, into the sea – only one house was left standing on the road leading down to the village. It was owned by Elizabeth Prettyjohn who stubbornly refused to leave, and lived there with her chickens until her death in 1964, aged about 80 years. A few houses, used as summer holiday homes, were built down by the bay.

The road now ends at the cliff edge in front of the last house. A broken fence bars the path. There are views over Start Bay with the lighthouse in the distance. But no evidence of the old village remains.

Salcombe

Salcombe itself is sited on the western bank of the Kingsbridge Estuary, which offers protection from the open sea, but it has a long maritime history which includes coastal fortifications at Fort Charles. The town appears in records for 1244. Locals probably made a living from fishing and smuggling. In the 19th century, it was a major centre for shipping in the fruit trade. The waterfront and the sheltered harbour gave rise to boat repairs and shipbuilding. In 1851, there were four sailmakers lofts and three ship smiths in Salcombe. The majority of the Victorian houses were built by owners and masters.

Salcombe developed as a holiday resort and today its narrow streets, its sandy beaches and coves, the safe anchorage and the bars, pubs and unique shops make it popular amongst holidaymakers and sailors.

A UK Coastal Trip – Brixham

Brixham

Narrow streets and attractive old buildings cling to the steep slopes that encircle the harbour. This is a working port that remains in use as a dock for fishing trawlers and home to a large fishing fleet. It is the oldest town in Torbay. Historically, Brixham was two separate communities with only a marshy lane to connect them. Cowtown was the area on top of the hill where the farmers lived, while a mile away around the harbour was Fishtown where the fishermen and seamen lived. Along the quayside ranges a terrace of fresh crab stalls, fish & chip shops, pubs and taverns. Locals perch on upturned boats and reminisce over past friends, local characters & stories of the sea.

Dartmouth

Dartmouth Castle, dating from the 15th century, guards at the mouth of the Dart estuary. A 229-metre chain was stretched across to the opposite bank to defend the harbour and prevent invaders sailing upstream. The town has a long maritime history. Streets are steeply sloped or stepped and many over overhung by the upper floors of medieval houses.

Originally two fishing villages it was in Tudor/Stuart times that it developed into a prosperous trading port. Grapes carved on the buildings, reflect its days as a wine port. The Butterwalk is a row of trading houses built in the 1630s. The upper floors, supported on columns, provided shelter for the merchants as they traded below.

Blackpool Sands

High wooded cliffs shelter the crescent of golden sand and fine shingle at the northern end of Start Bay which attracts many visitors in the summer. All you need is a café and a car park and a smashing beach.

Strete

This quaint village is first mentioned in 1194. It lies on an ancient trackway up on the cliffs, overlooking Start Bay. The coffee shack down on the shore is a good point for starting a beach walk.

A UK Coastal Trip – Paignton

Shaldon

Situated across the Teign estuary and opposite Teignmouth. Shaldon is an unspoilt village, full of character, with many families still linked to fishing. The town is built on reclaimed land within a retaining wall, built around 1800. Georgian cottages, shops and pubs surround the bowling green which overlooks the water. Close by were farms, orchards, watercress beds and withy beds used for making lobster pots. Shipbuilding and repair yards used to exist along the waterfront. A well-lit smugglers’ tunnel runs through the headland to Ness Cove, a popular sandy beach at the foot of high cliffs, and the open sea.

Babbacombe

Built in 1926, Babbacome Cliff Railway has been shuttling passengers up and down the cliff to and from Oddicombe Beach ever since. It is that or take the steep path which leads down to the shoreline. Beach Road leads down from the centre of Babbacombe to a small car park and the Cary Arms and Spa on a low, rocky headland and boasting its own ’luxury beach huts and suites’.

Torquay

The town’s economy was initially based on fishing and agriculture, but in the early 19th century it began to develop into a fashionable and elegant seaside resort. At first it was frequented by officers and crew of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars while the ships were at anchor, offshore. Haldon Pier was built in 1867 as a breakwater to protect the old harbour. As the town’s fame spread and it became known for its mild climate, it became popular with Victorian society. Described by Tennyson as ‘the loveliest sea village in England’, Torquay is a town of genteel terraces, manicured gardens and wide promenades, lined with cafés, restaurants, and bars, as well as souvenir shops and boutiques. Water sports and boat excursions are popular summer activities. Its spacious marina, fringed with palms and choked with yachts and cabin cruisers, gives the town a Mediterranean feel and, by the 1920s, along with neighbouring resorts, together they were dubbed ‘The English Riviera’.

Princess Pier, built in 1890, offers beautiful views of the ocean and is the perfect place to stop and watch the constant comings and goings on shore and on the water. Sandy beaches lie to the west of the harbour and shingle coves to the east.

Paignton

Originally Paignton was a small fishing and farming village, noted for grapes, cabbages and cider. In 1837 a new harbour was constructed and in 1859 the arrival of the railway brought crowds of visitors and the town quickly became a favourite tourist destination for the Victorians. Less grand than its neighbour, Paignton has a long sandy beach backed by a wide promenade and lined with brightly-coloured beach huts .

The pier opened in 1879. When it was first built it had a grand pavilion on the seaward end. It was also a stop-off point for paddle steamers travelling between Torquay and Brixham. In 1919 a fire destroyed the pier-head. Major redevelopment to create today’s pier began in 1980.

Goodrington Park

The actual park is a well-maintained area of grass that lines the promenade & beach, with beach huts and low bushes, suitable for family games and picnics. There is a boating lake with white swans for hire and a crazy golf course.

Close by are holiday camps, eateries and a rather sad-looking water park with slides – maybe it’s just the time of year.

Broadsands

Just outside the village, the beach at Broadsands is wide and sandy and gently slopes to the edge of the sea. There is a decent sized car park and a café from where deck chairs and loungers can be hired. The large grassed area behind the rows of brightly coloured, sea-facing beach huts is great for family fun and sand-free picnics.

A UK Coastal Trip – Teignmouth

Beer

What a great name for a village. Fishing boats and tackle are lined up on the shore in a very orderly way. They share the beach with holidaymakers and anglers. The café is great.

Sidmouth

Handsome hotels, many of them Regency and Victorian, and seafront buildings, line the roads and the esplanade. Peaceful gardens & clipped lawns lie at the eastern end.

Budleigh Salterton

This small town is sited where the River Otter reaches the sea. Its broad sweep of pink, pebbled beach is guarded by red sandstone cliffs.

Exmouth

Stylish and spacious, Exmouth has some grand gardens and parks. The cliffs that form the coast along here give way to miles of flat sandy beach.

Dawlish

The spine of this family resort is The Lawn, ornamental gardens through which Dawlish Water flows over a series of small weirs. The main Exeter to Plymouth railway line runs beside the sea on this stretch of coast and trains are frequently battered in winter storms. In Dawlish the sea can be reached by walking under the track. Turning left or right, a wide scenic footpath tops the sea wall beside the railway and above the deep-red shingle/sand beach.

Teignmouth

Like many of its neighbours, stone was shipped from here in the early 19th century. Today ball clay from local quarries is exported and used to make crockery and bathroom fittings. The sea side consists of a long beach of dark red sand backed by a promenade. From the centre, the Grand Pier, opened in 1867, reaches out into Babbacombe Bay.

The River Teign flows out at the southern end of the beach and creates, on the land side, a shelter for pleasure craft and fishing vessels. Working sheds share the water’s edge with smart residential buildings.

The shore shelves steeply here and there can be treacherous currents. A passenger ferry crosses regularly over the estuary to Shaldon.

A UK Coastal Tour – Lyme Regis

Seatown

Smuggling and fishing took place from this private, open shingle beach. Thatched cottages of honey-coloured stone line the river before reaching the holiday park. The Anchor Inn watches.

Charmouth

The beach is famous for its fossils, exposed during centuries of cliff erosion. For this reason, it is a popular resort although fossil-hunters should take care on the shingle/sands.

 

Lyme Regis

This delightful resort town has a long maritime history that covers sea battles, smugglers and sieges. In more modern times, it also hosted some major cricketing and recreational moments arising from the annual tour to the area by Greys Green Cricket Club. Many of these adventures centred on The Cobb, a long stone breakwater, built in 1824 to protect the harbour, where a few, rather forlorn vessels, balance on their keels at low tide.

It, along with the seafront of cafes, holiday lets & private homes in front of the cliff gardens, remains the focal point of the town with visitors enjoying the salty atmosphere of yachts and fishing boats. Lanes and narrow streets, lined with colour-washed houses, climb steeply away from the beach. The cliffs around Lyme Regis constantly crumble and slip into the sea, revealing fossils from 180 million years ago.

Axmouth

This sleepy village was once Roman Britain’s busiest port. Landslips have since choked the mouth of the River Axe and left the village itself a mile inland.

Seaton

This is a sedate resort with a mile-long beach of shingle/pebbles. The 13 trams of the Electric Tramway travel three miles inland, to & from Colyton.

A UK Coastal Trip – West Bay

Overcombe

The village of Overcombe guards the approach to Weymouth, two miles away along the Jurassic Coast. The shingle and sand beach has a different feel with very little development. It is a popular spot with local families as well as kite-surfers and kayakers. As the tide goes out the expanse of sand is exposed. The water is zoned to keep bathers separate from water sport enthusiasts. A long esplanade runs alongside part of the beach, and the South West Coast Path passes over the nearby cliffs. Behind the beach is a large grassy area, great for games & picnics and Loadmoor Nature Reserve is on the other side of the coastal road.

Weymouth

A long, wide, sandy beach is backed by a seafront of small hotels, boarding houses, some dating from Georgian times, and a mass of seaside amusements.

George III began to visit Weymouth for his health in 1789 and established it as a fashionable resort. The town has a long association with the sea dating back to the Middle Ages. In 1310 it was mentioned as a licenced wool port. Cross-channel ferries used to operate from here but these have now ceased. Stone Pier sticks out into the bay. It was built as a breakwater to protect the entrance to the harbour. The harbour side of the pier, and the two smaller ones that stretch out from the main pier, are excellent spots for a bit of fishing by locals & visitors alike.

Portland Bill

Commerce and maritime industries have taken the place of the old naval base. The cliffs around the island are pitted with quarries, many still producing stone once used in the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.

Steps lead down from the heights to small coves of rough stone & rocky beaches lined with fishermen’s huts.

Fortuneswell

Fortuneswell guards the approach to the Isle of Purbeck at the head of Portland Beach Road where Chesil Beach connects the island to the mainland. It occupies the steepest land above sea level. The strategic significance of Portland was first realised by King Henry VIII, who built two castles to protect the approaches. It became a naval base in 1845 with the construction of Portland Harbour’s Breakwaters. Workers were needed and housing was required on the island as a whole and Fortuneswell in particular. A large number of terraces were built across the village area and crammed into any open space.

Chesil Beach

 

The beach is a geological phenomenon made up of billions of pebbles which are now The pebbles on Chesil Beach are graded in size from potato-sized near Portland to pea-sized at Bridport and are made up of mainly flint and chert. It is believed that smugglers landing on the beach at night could judge their position along the coast by the size of the shingle.

Part of the beach rises to a height of 14 metres and this protects a lagoon called The Fleet which forms a nature reserve. This can be reached from either end but there is no pedestrian access along the beach between May and August to prevent the disturbance of breeding birds. Abbotsbury Swannery is on the lagoon, a sanctuary for 600 mute swans on the site of an 11th century monastery.

West Bexington

A single road through the village ends by a steeply shelving shingle beach backed by a a line of quite large, mostly white-washed beach huts and a car park used mostly by anglers.

Burton Bradstock

The village overlooks a fine shingle and sand beach. It is known locally as Hive Beach. From the car park there is a grassy picnic area and a track leading to the beach and eroded cliffs.

West Bay

West Bay is Bridport’s former harbour where ships were built until 1879. The man-made harbour is not a natural feature. It was required to export locally made ropes and nets. It has a long history of being silted up, blocked by shingle and damaged by storms. Today the town has a mixed economy of fishing and tourism, a resort, popular with families and sailors.

A UK Coastal Trip – Swanage

Studland

Studland lies across from Sandbank. A long sandy beach and sand dunes line the bay that runs southwards from the ferry across the entrance to Poole harbour. The beach and the dunes are owned and managed by the National Trust.  A short stretch of beach, just down from the chain link ferry, is reserved as a naturist beach. Behind the dunes is Studland Heath National Nature Reserve, an area of heath, woods, mudflats and open water with two waymarked trails.

The village of Studland is further south, set back a few hundred metres from the coast. Many of the houses are holiday homes, second homes, guest houses or hotels and the village’s population varies depending upon the season.

 

Swanage

Up to the early 19th Century, Swanage was a small fishing port. It developed as a seaside resort with the arrival of the railway. Sheltered within its wide bay, with a sandy beach and colourful public gardens, it is a popular holiday destination. Behind the Town Hall is a tiny lock-up, built in 1802, inscribed ‘For the Prevention of Vice and Immorality by the Friends of Religion and Good Order’.

The first pier was built in 1859/60, primarily for use by the local stone quarrying industry. It included a tramway which ran the length of the pier. A second pier was built in 1895/6 for use by passenger steamers. Today all that remains of the old pier are a line of timber piles.

Worth Matravers

This picturesque village is situated on the cliffs to the west of Swanage. It comprises limestone cottages and farm houses and is built around a pond.

Kimmeridge

Kimmeridge is a picture-perfect village as is its beach, with a natural waterfall and amazing views. However, the bay is only accessible via a £5 toll road, which includes parking.

Lulworth Cove

The small settlement at Lulworth Cove consists of a few buildings geared up for catering for the tens of thousands of visitors it receives each year. As well as visit this attractive cove they also use it as a starting point for the cliff walk, especially westwards to the famous rock formation known as Durdle Door.

Osmington Mills

The hamlet of Osmington Mills sits on the cliff top. A rough path leads down to a wild, rocky beach. The Smugglers Inn services visitors and the camp sites & caravan park.

A UK Coastal Trip – Bournemouth

Boscombe

This is to prove that this really is me, and yes, I have travelled from Berwick-upon-Tweed around the coast to Boscombe (and further) capturing images of every coastal settlements, from the beach or of the beach.

Originally a sparsely inhabited area of heathland, from around 1865 Boscombe developed rapidly from a small village into a seaside resort alongside Bournemouth. The first pier opened in 1889.

The promenade has been transformed from a sleepy 1950s style seafront into the 21st century home to numerous beach activities. Either side of Boscombe Pier, there is everything from sports courts and water sports to bouldering and slack lining. The land train runs along the promenade from the pier to its sister pier in the centre of Bournemouth. In town the Royal Arcade is a beautiful throwback to the Victorian era with a range of shops.

Bournemouth

Until the early 19th century, the area around Bournemouth was also just heathland where cattle grazed. In 1810, Lewis Tregonwell visited the beach with his wife. He purchased land and built a house with cottages for his butler and gardener. In 1836 a seaside resort was created, with villas to hire during the summer. The resort has been a popular destination since Victorian times with classic seaside amusements, grand hotels, glorious public gardens and a long, long promenade bordering a popular sandy beach. The iron pier, built to replace a previous wooden structure, opened in 1880, followed by extensions in 1894 and 1905.

Pine-clad valleys called ‘Chines’, used by smugglers, cut through the cliffs to the shore.

Sandbanks

The beach here is one of the best on the south coast. Sandbanks itself is a small peninsula, which contains some of the most expensive houses and land in the country. Some of the most exclusive houses boast direct access onto the beach.

The Sandbanks Chain Ferry first shuttled across the mouth of Poole harbour to Studland in 1923.

A UK Coastal Trip – Mudeford Quay

Friars Cliff

Along the coast from Barton-on-Sea is Highcliffe Castle. As its name suggests, the mansion and gardens are perched high up on the cliff. There is a clifftop walk through the Steamer Point Nature Reserve and the village of Friars Cliff. The beach is long and sandy with patches of shingle, reached by sloping tarmac paths at either end. It is backed by a promenade featuring some well-maintained beach huts where locals and visitors can while away a sunny hour or two.

Mudeford Quay

Mudeford Quay is the centre of the local fishing industry. Piles of lobster and crab pots, nets and buoys are littered at the end of the large car park. Salmon are still caught in nets using methods that have little changed in the last 200 years. A few old fishermen’s cottages remain along with the original Haven House Inn, the site of a battle between smugglers and the Royal Navy in the 17th century. In the summer a passenger ferry crosses the narrow stretch of water, called the Run, which separates the Quay from the beach at the tip of Hengistbury Head.

Hengistbury Head is a narrow, finger of land comprising two miles of heath, woods, marsh and meadow that juts out into the English Channel. On its northern tip a strip of sand dunes reaches out across the entrance to Chicester Harbour to Mudeford Quay. The spit is home to over 300 privately-owned beach huts, which are amongst the UK’s most expensive. The beach can be reached by the ferry from the quay.  A small mock train used to run from Double Dykes, two defensive ditches that were built in Viking times, but this was stopped in 2018 following an accident with a cyclist.

Southbourne

Further up this long, soft-sandy beach, backed by grassed cliffs, is the charming village of Southbourne with its promenade and, in places, beach huts. It is a bustling and thriving coastal suburb of Bournemouth, with a whole range of eateries, buzzing bars & exciting retail opportunities. Fisherman’s Walk Nature Trail is a stunning walk along the cliff top through a narrow strip of wooded land and a nature trail with woodland flowers and shrubs and plenty of wildlife. There is a lovely walk down the zig zag path to the beach or you can take the cliff lift. Built in 1935, Fisherman’s Walk Cliff Lift operates every day between Easter and October. Two passenger cars move up and down, tied to the opposite ends of a single cable on this funicular railway.

A UK Coastal Trip – Milford-on-Sea

Calshot

The pebbly beach with its lining of beach huts stretches out into the mouth of Southampton Water, a great place for ship, liner & ferry watching. Behind, there is a long open area for parking, picnics and games.

At the end of this exposed spit of land is Calshot Castle, an artillery fort built by Henry VIII in 1539 to defend the sea passage into Southampton. Three giant hangers and a conning tower, all still in use in either the aviation or shipping industry, are what remains of an important, wartime seaplane station.

Lepe

Lepe Country Park is on the coast proper. The Watch House was a boathouse. It is sited directly on the beach beneath the row of Coastguard Cottages. Looking older and hiding amongst its own personal clump of pines, the nearby lighthouse, built in 2000, peers out across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Keyhaven

Keyhaven is home to many yachts & sailing boats. Summer ferries leave here for Hurst Castle, another of Henry VIII’s defensive forts built at the end of a lonely spit on this marshy coastline.

Milford-on-Sea

The village has an extensive beach front, sandy at low tide. Nestled just behind its border of well-maintained beach huts are some wonderful cliff walks and a nature reserve.

Barton-on-Sea

It is situated in a scenic stretch of coastline with magnificent cliff walks, sweeping coastal views and a pebbly beach, sandy at low tide, stretching all the way to Hurst Castle.

A UK Coastal Trip – Hythe

Fort Blockhouse

Opposite Old Portsmouth at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour is Fort Blockhouse. It was built in the 1850/60s to protect the city, the harbour and the naval base against a French invasion. It is open to the public and is largely unaltered with the parade ground, gun ramps, moated keep, washrooms and armoury clearly seen.

Fort Monckton

A short distance along The Solent is Fort Monckton, an abandoned military fort built at the end of the 18th century.

Gosport

Gosport, on the west side of Portsmouth Harbour, was a major town associated with the defence and supply of the naval base opposite. Many of the old military installations have been closed and re-opened to the public as tourism & heritage sites. The town’s seafront is across country on The Solent at Alverstoke, facing the Isle of Wight. It has a long, open promenade with some very basic beach huts.

Lee-on-the-Solent

Lee is the next settlement along The Solent. A wide promenade runs along the shingle beach, protecting the car park, the road, and the blocks of 1980/90s’ apartments and guest houses from the weather and the sea.

Hill End

The village of Hill Head lies at the end of the beach

Hamble-le-Rice

Where the River Hamble enters Southampton Water is the quaint, picturesque village of Hamble-le-Rice, with stunning views, period cottages, pretty walks and a fine selection of local pubs and restaurants. A ferry crosses the river to Warsash.

Netley

In the Royal Victoria Country Park, further up the coast, are the remains of the UK’s first, purpose-built military hospital, opened in 1856. Southampton’s port buildings can be seen in the distance through the haze.

 

Ocean Village, Southampton

Much of the Southampton’s historical waterfront stretching back 1000s of years, has been redeveloped into glitzy tower blocks, residential apartments, recreational centres, offices, business centres and marinas. Ocean Village is a marina, residential, business and leisure development on the site of Southampton’s first working docks which originally opened in 1842. It was redeveloped in 1986 with a cinema, cafes, wine bars and restaurants. At the top of Southampton Sound, and before the bridge over the River Itchen, lies the Ocean Cruise Terminal and the Red Ferry Terminal for ferries to the Isle of Wight. The passenger ferry to and from Hythe also berths here.

The west bank is a mixture of industry and commerce, yacht clubs and marina berths for some very fine yachts and sailing boats and a mixture of residential developments. The water is a constant buzz of vessels of all descriptions.

Totton and Eling

Totton and Eling is a town on the west bank, where Bartley Water enters the main channel of the River Test, on the edge of a commercial/ industrial area of Southampton.

Hythe

On the western bank of Southampton Water, through the city, down through the industrial parks, the commercial areas, the warehouses and the dock yards, is the town of Hythe. A ferry has operated from here since the Middle Ages. Hythe’s pier opened in 1881 to carry passengers to the ferry that operated from the far end. A narrow-gauge railway was built in 1909 to replace the trucks that carried the luggage along the 640 metres to where the ferry pulls up. It was electrified in 1922. It is the oldest, continuously operating, public pier train in the world. Today the ferry carries bicycles and passengers and the crossing takes about 10 minutes.

The town has medieval and Georgian and a long seafront promenade from Victorian times. The 11th century church of St Leonard is up on the hill. The chancel covers an ossuary, a bone store, lined with 2,000 skulls and 8,000 thigh bones. They date from the mediaeval period, probably having been stored after removal, to make way for new graves. From the centre, alleys lead up to the steeper parts of town. The pebble beach and promenade provide opportunities for long walks, flying kites and fishing. There are plenty of fish & chip shops and cafes.

A UK Coastal Trip – Hayling Island

Hayling Island

A long loop around Chichester Harbour gives vehicular access to Hayling Island, linked to the mainland by a single bridge at Langstone Quay. The islanders originally made a living from fishing, farming and salt production.

The marshes and wetlands of the Kench Nature Reserve are excellent spots for watching birdlife. Oyster beds were established here by the Romans and farmed extensively until the 1970s. They were restored in 1996, helping to turn the area into a wildlife haven. A railway to the island over the reclaimed mudflats, opened in 1867. Steam locomotives pulled carriages along the 8 km Hayling Line. Despite its popularity, the line was closed due to the prohibitive cost of repairing Langstone Bridge, eventually demolished in 1966. Now the Hayling Billy Leisure Trail is a three-mile walk/ride through the marshes and past the oyster beds along the route of the former railway line.

South Hayling

The natural coastline at South Hayling is predominantly sandy, but in recent years it has been mechanically topped with shingle dredged from the bed of the Solent in an effort to reduce beach erosion and reduce the potential of flooding to low-lying land. Since the 1930s it has become a popular seaside destination with its amusement park and holiday centres, as well as its miles of unspoilt beaches. Hayling Golf Club is situated on the western corner of the island, along the appropriately named Ferry Road. There are three yacht clubs along this southern edge with its easy access to the open sea.

Southsea

A part of the City of Portsmouth, Southsea maintains its own character as that of a traditional seaside resort. It has a long shingle beach with patches of sand exposed at low tide, two piers, one in a much better state than the other, a string of seaside attractions including a fairground, a D-Day Museum and a leisure centre. South Parade Pier marks the start of a wide, open esplanade backed by the Rose Gardens and a boating lake.

Southsea Castle was built by Henry VIII around 1544 to defend the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth. Clarence Pier is very different in character. Looking rather tired, it is clustered on land near the entrance of Portsmouth Harbour with the hovercraft pad and terminal right beside it.

Portsmouth

A fortress town since the 15th century, Portsmouth is the home of the Royal Dockyard, founded by Henry VIII in 1540. England’s most important naval base, it is also home to the Henry’s Mary Rose, Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, all open to the public.

The 170 metre Spinnaker Tower soars over Gunwharf Quays with spectacular views from the top. It is still a working dockyard and home to many vessels in the modern navy. The Continental Ferry Port, Wightlink ferry & catamaran terminal and the hovercraft pads are all staging points for the many ferries that cross to Spain & France and to the Isle of Wight. Vessels chug past Old Portsmouth and Southsea to reach the sea.

 

A UK Coastal Trip – Bognor Regis

Middleton-on-Sea

The village was mainly developed between the wars. Houses back directly onto the seafront. Access to the pebbles of the beach, sand is exposed at low-tide, is possible along several footpaths that run through the residential areas. There are a range of coastal defences along the shore such as offshore breakwaters, groynes on shingle beaches and rock walls to protect the properties from the risk of flooding & erosion.

Bognor Regis

One of the most popular resorts on the south coast, the town has sandy beaches at low tide, funfairs, amusements arcades, cafes, seaside stalls and a nightclub. Bognor was a small fishing village until the late 18th century when it was developed as a resort by Sir Richard Hotham. It grew only slowly until the railway arrived in 1864 and from then on it proved to be popular seaside town to visit.

A year later the pier opened. It consisted of a basic jetty which was some 300 metres in length with a kiosk at the shore end where, for the sum of 1d, visitors could enter and stroll down to the end. In 1900 the first pavilion was built at the seaward end and a landing stage then added to allow paddle steamers to dock. In 1964/5 severe storms caused the this end to collapse. Billy Butlin arrived in Bognor with an entertainment venue called the Recreation Shelter. This was followed by a zoo in 1933 and in 1960, a holiday camp.

Pagham

Pagham Harbour was made up of three working ports. They were overrun by the sea in the 13th century and the whole harbour, now set well back from the sea, eventually silted up and ceased to be navigable, except for small craft. Pagham Beach is an early 20th century development of chalets, residential properties and low apartment blocks.

Selsey

Selsey is situated at the end of the Manhood Peninsula which is bordered to its west by Chichester Harbour, to its east by Pagham Harbour. Its southern headland is known as Selsey Bill. Over the centuries, Selsey has derived an income from the sea, mainly fishing. In the eighteenth century, it was much more isolated than it is today and the sand spit extended farther out to sea. It was more of an island with only a causeway to connect it to the mainland, covered at high tide. This aided one of the other major enterprises – smuggling. The town is home to one of the few remaining fishing fleets on the south coast. Selsey crab & lobster are known as some of the best in the world. There is an ongoing and constant battle to protect the coastline and nature reserves from being taken by the sea.

Bracklesham, East Wittering and West Wittering

These villages lie on the coast of the Manhood Peninsula. Their main feature is the long beach, fringed with dunes at West Wittering. The village centres stand away from the sea and holiday homes and apartment fill the gap. Residential streets lead to the sea and there is a large car park and picnic area to the west. The sea is popular with wind and kite surfers and shallow lagoons are left at low tide for beach explorers.