Bournemouth Air Festival

Bournemouth’s annual air show on the coast starts on Thursday 31 August and runs to Sunday.

The big attraction is always the Red Arrows which can be seen on Thursday 6pm, Friday 3.30pm and Saturday at noon.

Expect large crowds on the East Cliff over the four days.

But many walkers enjoy the spectacle from Boscombe and even the Purbecks.

The full Bournemouth Air Festival programme is here.

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Eustace Nash exhibition at Russell-Cotes

A Eustace Nash cartoon showing a couple still in evening dress snoozing in a deckchair without having bought a ticket. The familiar location is near the Pier at the start of the east promenade. (c 1920)

A room at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery is this month devoted to the Bournemouth artist and illustrator Eustace Nash (1886 –1969) who knew the coast well.

With his friend and fellow artist Leslie Ward (188-1978) he explored Bournemouth, Poole Harbour and Purbeck for views.

The small exhibition features some coastal scenes and Nash cartoons.

‘Eustace Nash: Pen to Paper’ is at the art gallery and museum, which is open daily 10am-5pm including Bank Holiday Monday, until Wednesday 30 August; admission charge.

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Buses back at Hengistbury Head

A 1950 double decker Bournemouth Corporation Bus, an early Yellow Bus, is running from Bournemouth Station (Travel Interchange) to Hengistbury Head on two August Sundays.

On Sundays 13 and 27 August the bus will leave Bournemouth Station at 09.58am, 11.28am, 1.28pm and 2.48pm.

The journey is via Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers.

The return is at 10.45am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.45pm.

Return fare £7.

the service is run by Bear Cross Bus Company.

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Highcliffe Castle work starts

Further restoration work on Highcliffe Castle begins today.

At first the library and the ante-library, where the Kaiser have his famous Telegraph interview, will be closed.

The entire castle will be closed to visitors during the winter.

The work is being undertaken by Greendale Construction of Poole which recently undertook work on Durlston Castle.

The £2.9m project is due for completion in spring 2019 when it is planned to have long lost furniture returned.

The Castle Kitchen cafe will remain open during restoration.

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Centenary of first WW1 memorial

Barton Court shortly before the memorial was erected on the left

The war memorial at Barton-Sea was dedicated a hundred years ago today.

The ceremony took place Tuesday 10 July 1917 outside the clifftop Barton Court Hotel.

This is the oldest First World War memorial and it was erected before the end of the war.

The obelisk commemorates the establishment of a hospital for Indian troops who had served in Europe. The inscription on one side is in Urdu..

Britain’s only other memorial to the Indian contribution to victory over the Kaiser was erected at Brighton Pavilion in 192i. By coincidence The Dome, a former tearoom opposite the Barton memorial and dating from before the First World War, has echoes of the Royal Pavilion.

A century ago Barton’s memorial, at the south end of Barton Court Avenue, was just within the Barton Court Hotel grounds.

The hotel, described in 1899 as “a most delightful and unique retreat” with a nine-hole golf links adjacent, was taken over by the Army in 1914 to be “the convalescent depot for Indian troops”.

Many soldiers were in huts in the grounds which the patients found cold. As a result the camp magazine was called ‘Barton Breezes’.

Most of the Barton Court Hotel has been demolished as the cliff dramatically receded but the west end survives as a parade of seaside shops including Sails tea shop.

The name ‘Barton Court’ is still found on a gatepost.

Indian soldiers, a familiar sight at nearby New Milton Station, were also cared for at  Barton’s Grand Marine Hotel which stood on the western corner of First Marine Avenue.

The Urdu inscription

The former Dome tearoom known to the Indian soldiers

Dedication of memorial in July 1917

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Highcliffe Castle cafe reopens

Highcliffe Castle tea rooms has reopened and is rebranded Castle Kitchen.

Christchurch Council declined to renew Sean Kearney’s contract and, despite huge local opposition, has accepted a bid from the international Aramark catering company.

The Castle Kitchen is open daily 9.30am-5pm (winter 10am-4pm).

Outdoor tables last summer


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Coastal Access consultation views

The Isle of Purbeck from Canford Cliffs

Natural England has published proposals for how the national coastal path might pass along the Bournemouth coast.

This is the result of plans promised under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

After careful reading I have now submitted my observations.

The great disappointment to me is that the proposed Poole Bay route merely follows the promenade.

At present, as recorded on Ordnance Survey maps, the path is mainly along the clifftop from where there are stupendous views rivalling the Cote d’Azur and Naples.

The official proposals ignore this except at Boscombe where the route suddenly and inexplicably climbs the cliff.

Sensibly, the report provides for the winter route, when the Mudeford Ferry ceases to run daily, via Christchurch and Stanpit.

At Avon Beach it is good to see the Christchurch Coastal Path being followed along the top of the low cliff above the beach cafe and shop.

But at Highcliffe the proposed way stays on the beach rather than taking today’s Christchurch Coastal Path route through Steamer Point Woods to Highcliffe Castle’s wooded cliff.

With a huge sum of money being spent on restoring the castle zig-zag, part of the existing coastal path, it would seem sensible to avoid change. This would be within the spirit of the legislation for a continuous coastal path.

The report claims that proposals would extend the national trail eastwards along the entire Dorset coast for the first time. This is only technically true.

The Bournemouth Coast Path and Christchurch Coastal Path have existed for over twenty years contributing to the vital link between the Dorset Coast Path and the Solent Way.

Bournemouth and Christchurch clifftop paths are recognised as the E9 European Coastal Path.

The consultation is open until Wednesday 16 August. Documents may be viewed online or at main public libraries along the coast.

The final proposals will be submitted to the Secretary of State Michael Gove who must confirm or vary the route in the light of objections.

The coast beyond Chewton Bunny to Milford-on-Sea which has crumbling cliffs, and may be subject to roll-back proposals, is being surveyed by another team which has yet to report.

Poole Bay

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Highcliffe Castle zig-zag consultation

Highcliffe’s coast path

The Highcliffe Castle cliff zig-zag has been closed again for sometime.

Christchurch Council has allocated an astonishing £280,000 towards the rebuilding of the path which is part of the Christchurch Coastal Path.

Consultation sessions for users are being held at two clifftop buildings.

The first is at Highcliffe Castle on Thursday 13 July from 3pm to 7pm.

The second is at Greystones in Walkford Road on Saturday 15 July from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Afterwards the council plans to feed views into the design process and complete
work by April next year.

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Bournemouth Coast Path: A top UK walk

The Bournemouth Coast Path is more popular than The Pennine Way, The Three Peaks and The Thames Path according to a new poll.

A thousand British walkers were asked to name their best loved walk.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express which commissioned the poll, says: “Summer is here and there can scarcely be a better way to make the most of it than by getting out and exploring the great outdoors.

“From the drama of England’s highest mountain to the buzz of city streets and the quiet beauty of the countryside there’s something for everyone on our list, regardless of whether you’re feeling adventurous enough to tackle an entire route or want to enjoy a small section.

“Our countdown is a stunning showcase of the very best Britain has to offer and we hope it inspires people to put their best foot forward this summer.”

Number one walk is the South-West Coast Path which joins the Bournemouth Coast Path.

Cumbria’s Coast to Coast is joint number eight with Bournemouth.


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Highcliffe Castle cliff path now closed for a year

Christchurch Council has confirmed that the cliff path from Highcliffe Castle will remain closed all year.

Retaining walls have weakened and the situation has become worse following dry weather which may have caused cliff falls elsewhere.

Design preparation and the work on site may mean that the path does not open until June next year.

Diversion Walkers on the Christchurch Coastal Path should leave the castle grounds by the front gate and turn right at the main road. Go right into Wharncliffe Road and after the road has turned left go right along a footpath leading to the cliff top.

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