As we walked along the top of Hengistbury Head last Wednesday, we caught sight of the long spit of sand that divides the sea from the inner waters of Christchurch Harbour. All along the spit, known as Mudeford Sandbank, are small, brightly painted beach huts.
Descending the cliff steps, onto the beach, gives a view of a row of well tended roof tops. Some of the beach huts are now equipped with solar panels.
The huts used to belong, mostly, to local families who relaxed by sailing small boats and playing in the sand. Now, many of the huts belong to people from outside the area, who enjoy their time by the sea at weekends or during long summer holidays. The huts can be slept in between February and November, so people can use them as a second home. During the winter months there are heavy seas, storms and spring tides along this coast, so residence in a beach hut would be a bit of a risky adventure!
To the south, the beach huts have views across the western reaches of the Solent, towards the Isle of Wight.
To the north, there are views across the marshes and the harbour towards Christchurch. This is a wonderful place to watch seabirds feeding on the mudflats when the tide is low.
Below is one of the smartest beach huts. I loved the colour of this one. There is something almost Scandinavian about it.
I noticed that there is a Mudeford beach hut for sale on one of the specialist websites. For a mere £145, 000 you can have your own, state- of - the -art beach hut that can sleep up to seven people. Along the coast in Sussex, was a smaller, simpler beach hut for £12,000. Even that seems a lot for a wooden hut!
Those who stay in the beach huts can travel down on the Noddy Train, bringing their supplies with them. We took the train back on Wednesday evening and enjoyed the views of harbour and woodland as we passed along the inner side of Hengistbury Head.
I had to take a photo of the warning sign that appeared in every Noddy Train carriage!