Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A Seaside Walk After the Wedding

Thank you all for your good wishes, which I have passed on to last weekend`s Bride and Groom!

Despite a evening party at the wedding, with very late bed times for all, a hardy bunch of guests joined the newly weds at midday on Monday, for a walk around Hengistbury Head to blow away the cobwebs. Lots of the guests were old university friends who are now scattered across the country ( one couple even flew in from Australia for the wedding). It seemed a great idea to get together  before everyone dispersed again.

We all set off across towards the sea path......

....and turned towards Warren Hill, the highest point of Hengistbury Head.

The Natterjack Toad conservation pond is well established now, but the toads were in hiding.

Between the Iron Age Double Dykes, is an area where wild flowers can grow, protected from tramping feet.

Some of the wildlife that lives on Warren Hill. We saw sand martins, newly arrived from Africa, swooping into their nest holes in the sandy clifftops.

The westwards view, along the miles of sandy beaches stretching towards Bournemouth and along the bay to Poole Harbour.

A weary group of wedding guests, trudging up Warren Hill!

Bluebells on the hill slopes seemed paler than those in more sheltered spots.

Waiting for me to catch up........

A schooner was hugging the coast on its eastward journey.

We passed the freshwater lake in the Victorian ironstone quarry.

The little ship continued on its way.

After a wonderful walk across sandy heathland on the top of Warren Hill, we reached the viewpoint where the sands of Mudeford spit stretch towards the narrow mouth of Christchurch Harbour. Highcliffe, Barton and Milford are on the distant coastline beyond. This is the coastline that was so badly battered by this February`s Valentine`s Night Storm.

In sheltered waters, Christchurch Harbour is the place where Dorset`s River Stour and the Hampshire River Avon meet the sea.

Down the steps to the beach, and a chance to catch up with old friends.

This patient Border Collie was waiting for someone.

The rust of iron in a fragment of ironstone on the beach.

When we reached the Beach Cafe, we were all in need of a hot drink or an ice cream. We rested for a while, watching people, dogs and small boats.......

.....before we set off again, walking back along the narrow road that flanks the southern edge of Christchurch Harbour. 

Saltmarsh and mudflats are a haven for feeding seabirds. We saw shellduck, oystercatchers, egrets and numerous gulls.

The newly painted Noddy Train passed us along the lane. It is a tradition that total strangers on the little train and the walkers they pass all wave happily to each other!

With our walk almost at an end, Christchurch Priory Church came into view at every gap between the trees.

A weary group arrived back at the car park and we went our separate ways. It had been a lovely way to end the wedding celebrations. A seaside walk in hazy sunshine and another chance to be with friends and family, before we all went home and the busy excitement of the past few days gave way to a need for a very early night!


angryparsnip said...

What a lovely Wedding and Weekend.
Best Wishes for the Bride and Groom.

cheers, parsnip

Bovey Belle said...

How lovely. I have only been to Hengistbury Head once (with Keith) when I was pregnant with Tamzin. Gosh, that seems SO long ago now!

It sounds like a lovely way to wind up a wedding weekend - and definitely a good way to blow away those cobwebs.

Countryside Tales said...

Looks and sounds lovely. I bet the walk blew some cobwebs away :-) A great stretch of coastline- lovely to see it again.

Ragged Robin said...

What a wonderful post and a lovely way to end the wedding festivities :)

It looks a beautiful area and interesting to read about the toads!

ann @ studiohyde said...

So pleased the Wedding went so well and this is a lovely way to round off the celebrations.

Louise said...

A lovely idea to round off the wedding weekend, it sounds great.

Down by the sea said...

What a wonderful idea to go on a walk together! This is one walk that I have been meaning to do for ages as we have never been near the beach huts. It looks a lovely walk I shall have to follow your example. Sarah x

SeagullSuzie said...

Oh I do love a good walk, need to sit down and have a rest after that!

Isabelle said...

Sounds perfect!

Rowan said...

What a marvellous place for a walk, the perfect way to end the wedding celebrations. The scenery is stunning.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely place to walk, hope the natterjack pool holds loads of toads....

Marielle Collins said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. I really enjoyed reading your post. And best wishes for the Newly Married Couple! :)

Things and Thoughts said...

I really love this beautiful landscape and I find the idea to have a walk all together after the ceremony absolutely exciting ! Best wishes to the "just married"!

Jenny said...

Beautiful photos!

Elizabeth said...

Good Morning!
Thank you for a lovely post about Hengistbury Head. I hope you don't mind me asking but is it possible to walk from ferry point after you arrive from Mudeford, along the beach to Southbourne or do you have to take the route the little train uses? Thanks for a lovely post.

Dartford Warbler said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments!

Hi Elizabeth - yes, you can walk around the headland and then along the beach to Southbourne ( and beyond - to Bournemouth or even along tp Sandbanks!). It`s a lovely walk but can be windy with a south westerly blowing across the bay. There are stunning views across Poole Bay to the Purbecks on a nice day.

At this time of year the sand martins can be seen going into their nests in the sandy cliffs at Hengistbury Head. You see more of them from the beach.

Hope you enjoy your walk!