Saturday, 16 February 2013

Down to the Beach at Bournemouth

A Friday afternoon in mid February. After one of the wettest, greyest weeks, the sun came out at last. We needed a good walk and some sea air. We drove down to the coast at Bournemouth and walked through the gardens that follow the Bourne Stream down towards the sea.

The valley garden of pines, palms and municipal flower beds is overlooked by Art Deco shops, department stores and apartments. Victorian and Edwardian hotels border the green space. Bournemouth began its life as a holiday resort in Victorian times, so the architecture is all relatively modern. Before the developers moved in, there were a wild, pine sheltered valleys, called chines,  surrounded by heathland, and the promise of beautiful sandy beaches below the cliffs of Poole Bay.

Bergenia was in flower beside a landscaped pool.

The Bournemouth Balloon, which hovers, tethered by ropes, above the town on weekend days and holidays.  Tickets are not cheap, but a balloon flight is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Spring flowers cheered up the garden beside the stream.

At the valley`s end, the Bourne Stream flows underground to meet the sea, not far from Bournemouth Pier. People were wrapped up against the cold, enjoying a walk along the promenade or a drink in an outdoor cafe. Dogs and small children played on the sand. Music from the carousel, with its painted gallopers, brightened the air.

A wood pigeon found a warm perch above the vent from a fish and chip restaurant.

We decided to turn towards the east, walking and taking photographs along the promenade.......

...and from a clifftop path.

Black headed gulls were beginning to show their breeding plumage..... they wheeled and scrapped over a morsel of food on the sand.

The Russell Coates Museum on the clifftop. Below, and renovated, are some of the earliest beach huts in Britain.

Steep cliffs are a green, wild haven for birds and other wildlife. Sand lizards and common lizards can sometimes be seen basking on hot summer days. Sand martins fly home from Africa each spring, to nest in holes in sandy cliff faces.

A series of zig zag paths ascend the cliffs. We climbed up one and down another, to watch a calm sea washing the sand while afternoon light dropped towards early sunset across the shining Bay.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I really enjoyed that walk with you DW - nothing could be more different than this from up here in the Yorkshire Dales. It is sunny and relatively warm (5 degrees) today but apart from aconites and snowdrops - and a branch or two of Winter jasmine - nothing is moving yet.

Kath said...

it's years since I've been to Bournemouth, but your lovely photos brought back some pleasant memories of family holidays.

Toffeeapple said...

I could almost smell the ozone, what a wonderful walk, thank you!

Em Parkinson said...

What a lovely walk - thank you. Lovely quality of light in the photos.

Mum said...

Thank you for the walk today. I, too, went walking but only to the shops and back. It was a fine day with Spring in the air.
Love from Mum

Ragged Robin said...

Lovely photos - haven't been to Bournemouth since I was a child but your post brought back memories :)

The Bergenia looks a lot more prolific and healthy than mine!

Goosey said...

Well, how lovely. I know Bournemouth a bit, we live in the next town but my husband who is a Dorset man, born and bred does not go to visit Bournemouth if he can help it!However maybe I will have a walk through the gardens sometime!

Aunt Jane's Attic said...

when I was young Bournemouth was our holiday destination, we saw Tom Jones, Engleburt Humperdink at the Winter Gardens, walked through the gardens, loved it at night all lit up, we now have day trips but not as magical now and that nasty road they built! Juliex

Crafty Green Poet said...

those photos brought back a lot of memories of the family holidays we had in Bournemouth when i was a child. I haven't been there for years!

Carol said...

Thank you for taking us on your lovely walk.
We've had some lovely sunny days, the blue skies and the spring flowers really lift your spirits.
Carol xx

Isabelle said...

Impressive daffodils! Our Edinburgh daffs are much less advanced. You don't think it may be warmer down south, do you?