After a week of stormy rain and floods, it was wonderful to wake up on Saturday to blue skies and sunshine. It was a perfect day to go down to the sea and walk.
We had never been to Lepe Beach, a seaside and country park on the coast at the entrance to the Solent, and just around the corner from the western entrance to Southampton Water.
The tide was out. Across the Solent, the northern coast of the Isle of Wight looked so near in the clean, bright air.
People were out exploring the mudflats. Children paddled and peered into rock pools
On the cliffs behind the beach, there are areas of scrub and trees. A path leads inland to a wildflower meadow. We hope to go back and walk that way in early summer, to see the flowers.
Lepe Beach is in the direct line of prevailing south westerly winds and tides that funnel up between the Island and mainland coast. Sea defences include lines of breakwaters made from wooden posts.
We found the remains of an old slipway and jetty.
This was a wartime telephone cable that allowed communication between the Isle of Wight and the mainland.
Signposts visible from the sea warn sailors of hazards from the underwater cables.
Lots of people and dogs were out walking, but a detour onto the mudflats soon led down to calm, gentle waves and a sense of solitude.
In the far distance, beyond the shingle spit where families were exploring and across the Solent, the white Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Harbour shone against the sky.
A cargo ship turned at anchor, waiting for its turn to enter harbour in Southampton.
Wooden breakwaters, in various states of decay, made natural sculptures and a myriad of shapes and shadows.
The storms had eroded soft sandstone cliffs. Trees seemed to teeter on the edge.....
.....while thorn and gorse had tumbled down to the beach in recent days.
Old bricks made a crocodile that protected more pipes on their way to the Isle of Wight.
The coast curved round into a bay, where the shingle spit stretched out to sea..........
........and a young black lab was having such fun, swimming into the waves to fetch her stick.