Dolphin found at Chewton Bunny

A dead dolphin, seen briefly on Highcliffe beach on Tuesday, was washed up again just west of Chewton Bunny early on Thursday.
Christchurch Council said that it weighed 88kg and was about two years old.

Any further dolphins found on the beach should be reported to the Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.

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‘Mr Selfridge’ at Highcliffe Castle

Gordon Selfridge will be depicted taking part in a tense family discussion at Highcliffe Castle in the second episode of ITV’s Mr Selfridge this Friday 15 January at 9pm.

The year is 1928 which is a bit late as Selfridge had left the castle in 1922. But he still owned Hengistbury Head where he planned to build another castle.

This year 2016 is the centenary of the store owner renting Highcliffe Castle so as his family would be safe from any attack in the capital. The First World War was into its third year.

His wife Rosalie died in 1918 and is buried in the churchyard of St Mark’s at Highcliffe where Selfridge himself was to be eventually laid to rest.

Guests during the Selfridge’s seven years in residence at Highcliffe Castle included Sir Thomas Lipton of tea fame. Will he appear in the TV series?

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Coast Path improvement plan for Chewton Bunny

Just before the floods, Rural Minister Rory Stewart found time to speak about progress on the England Coast Path.

Work on making this a reality begun last autumn with Natural England looking at the stretch between Chewton Bunny and Calshot.

As regards the Sandbanks to Milford-on-Sea Bournemouth Coast Path, the great challenge will be managing to agree a clifftop route between Chewton Bunny and Barton-on-sea. This is a short but crucial stretch of crumbling cliff along the south side of the Naish Farm holiday caravan park.

Achieving an official safe path here would remove the necessity for walkers to have to go up Chewton Bunny and along the main road before returning through housing to the cliff top at Barton.

Chewton Bunny is lovely but the main road and residential area feel some way from the sea.

Tom Marshall-Lord, Natural England’s Team Leader for Coastal Access South and South East, says: “Our footpath will be along the top of the cliff and will be a safe distance away.”

The target date for opening the continuous path is 2018 which seems ambitious.

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Rick Stein opening in Sandbanks this month

Rick Stein is opening his new restaurant in Sandbanks at lunchtime on Saturday 28 November.

He promises “a casual lunch with classic dishes”.

Cod and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce will be £16.50.

This addition to Sandbanks could prove a popular climax for many walkers on the coast path. It looks like a good  lunch break for those attempting Studland to Bournemouth.

The Rick Stein restaurant in Banks Road replaces Cafe Shore.


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Bournemouth Pier architect Elisabeth Scott in new passport

The new British passport is to feature Bournemouth architect Elisabeth Scott across two of its visa pages.

The design includes both her famous work, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford, and Bournemouth Pier theatre.

There is also a rare portrait of Elisabeth Scott along with a background coast map of Bournemouth.

Among those featured on other pages is her cousin Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

Others highlighted include John Constable and Antony Gormley.

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Wind Farm plan now abandoned

The plan for a wind farm in the sea near Bournemouth is now dead.

Following the rejection of the plan by the Secretary of State in September it has now been confirmed by the Navitus applicants that there will not be an appeal.

This is a great victory for the Challenge Navitus campaign.

The view from the Bournemouth cliffs, Poole Bay, remains as good as any European coast. Visitors can visit Bournemouth by train rather than fly abroad.



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Sun out for Greens at Bournemouth

Tim Farron walked down the coast path to deliver his leader’s speech to the Liberal Democrat Conference at Bournemouth’s BIC last Wednesday.

Now the Green Party has taken over the BIC for its conference and new delegates will be out on the West Cliff mingling with walkers as the warm sunshine continues.

Many Greens are likely to be critical of the recent decision to block the wind farm in the sea. However, the view remains beautiful and a rival to any resort abroad which is reached by air rather than electric train.

This morning a marquee on the beach was being prepared for serving vegetarian food to the Greens who are in town for four days.

It’s good to see the Green Conference organisers recommending Marlins Hotel and The Pinedale for accommodation as well as the Royal Bath Hotel which is offering rooms for £70. These are the handy hotels for walkers too.

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Arthur Bell’s Delft tiles

News in the Bournemouth Daily Echo and national papers that Delft tiles have been found during a house demolition in Southbourne is  a surprise.

If you are walking the coast path today you might just catch the last of the late Victorian house on the north-west corner of Twynham Road and Foxholes Road.

The tiles were part of a fireplace hidden by later owners.

The corner residence was built for artist Arthur Bell (1849-1916) and his author wife Nancy R E Meugens. His work survives and her books are still in print.

The house had a large window at the back overlooking a big garden. Paintings produced here include one of sheep on the meadow leading to nearby Hengistbury Head.

Living nearby at the time  and fascinated by the countryside was James Elroy Flecker who featured it in his poem Brumana.

A little further down Foxholes Road, towards Tuckton, was Foxholes, home of Edinburgh Review Henry Reeve editor who enjoyed the view.


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Bournemouth coast on TV

Look out for lots of lovely shots of the Bournemouth cliffs and sea on TV news during the Liberal Democrat conference this week.

The correct name for the bay is Poole Bay which is interesting considering that young Bournemouth and ancient Poole are considering amalgamating their councils into a super authority also embracing Christchurch to the east.

The view from the West Cliff slope where delegates will walk has been admired by many including Disraeli (who likened it to the Corniche), Henry James and Bill Bryson (who worked on the Bournemouth Daily Echo.)

The conference hall might be ugly but it is already historic. Here in 1985 Neil Kinnock saw off Militant.

The Highcliff Hotel, the main conference hotel, is where in May 1940 Labour’s eve of conference NEC meeting signalled that Churchill should become coalition war leader. That night Chamberlain resigned.

In 1994 John Major came out to the steps and announced a ceasefire in Northern Ireland.

Over the next four days the Lib Dems are having an important post General Election conference which might also prove to be a political landmark.





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Bournemouth Air Festival

The Bournemouth Air Festival is this week from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 August.

The Bournemouth Daily Echo says the best places to watch the displays include the West Cliff and Hengistbury Head on the coast path.

The Red Arrows start each day’s programme by flying across the coast at 2.15pm on Thursday; 3pm on Friday; 1.45pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday.



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