Cliff fall: Coast Path stays open

A serious cliff fall on Bournemouth’s East Cliff on Sunday morning has damaged not only the cliff lift but also closed the nearby zigzag.

Now, as  precaution, the East Overcliff Drive has been closed to traffic.

The road is closed except for access from Bath Hill in the west (where the road is Russell Cotes Road) to the first junction with Manor Road in the east.

There is no vehicle movement at all between the Miramar Hotel and East Cliff Court.

However, the coast path route from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe remains open.

What is now missing is access to the viewpoint above the cliff lift. This morning only engineers in hard hats were being allowed to look over the edge.

The engineers are carrying out tests over the coming days but the cliff lift and viewpoint are expected to remain closed for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile there are now calls for the entire cliff to be checked for signs of movement.

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TV beach hut threat to Highcliffe

A plan for twelve beach huts to be dotted along the cliff between Highcliffe Castle and Chewton Bunny comes as a surprise.

It is also causing concern.

The scheme is promoted by the Channel 4 programme George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces with support from Christchurch Council.

People are being asked to submit designs for an overnight hut by the end of the month with a view to the winning designs receiving £8,000 for building in the autumn.

Christchurch Council’s community and recreation team leader Matt Reeks says: “It will be the renaissance of Highcliffe.”

However, not surprisingly, many members of the community don’t agree and are alarmed by the suggestion that the huts will be ‘iconic’.

This is a stretch of rare natural cliff enjoyed by many locals and walkers.

But Will Daws of programme maker Plum Pictures claims that “it should bring joy to people in the area”.

A petition has been started asking the council to think again. Around 600 people have signed. The aim is to reach a thousand names.


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Best Places: Sandbanks and Southbourne

The Bournemouth Coast Path does well in The Times Great British Coast Guide.

Beach View in Southbourne Overcliff Drive is ranked fourth in the 12 Great Houses by the Sea feature. It’s the Poole Bay view that wins but it is also one of the few houses to have its garden running right up to the clifftop. The coast path passes the front door.

To the west, just over the border in Poole but still on the coast path, Rick Stein at Sandbanks is one of the 20 Best Places to Eat by the Sea.

“Floor-to-ceiling windows provide views over Poole Quay and Brownsea Island from the modern, understated, light and spacious dining room,” say the judges.

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John Keble 150th anniversary

Today, Easter Tuesday 2016, is the 150th anniversary of John Keble’s death in Bournemouth.

See Bournemouth’s Who Was Who blog

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Southbourne-Mudeford: Summer ferry route open

With BST starting at Easter there will be a daily ferry service across the Christchurch Harbour entrance from Hengistbury Head to Mudeford.

This is subject to weather conditions so check forecast this Easter weekend. If conditions are doubtful call 07968 334441.


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England Coast Path consultation dates

Natural England is working on plans for a long distance coastal walking route called the England Coast Path which is being established as a result of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

A number of drop-in sessions have been announced where members of the public will be able to meet the team to discuss how the route is developing from Chewton Bunny to Calshot.

This is an opportunity to give a view as a local resident, landowner and walker.

The project offers an exciting opportunity to improve the coast path between Chewton Bunny and Barton-on-Sea. East of Lymington, the path becomes the Solent Way where there are at present many more unsatisfactory diversions from the sea.

Sensitive solutions should be possible with goodwill and a sharing of local knowledge.


Wed 10 March
Beaulieu Village Hall
High St, Beaulieu SO42 7YA

Tue 15 March
Milford on Sea Village Community Centre, Sea Rd, SO41 0PH

Thu 17 March
Lymington Community Centre, New St, SO41 9BQ

Thu 21 April
New Milton Town Hall, BH25 6AS

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Pennington salt marshes on TV

Inside Out South on BBC1 has visited the Pennington Marshes and looked at salt boiling houses at Moses Dock.

It is the third item in the programme broadcast on Monday 22 February and available on iplayer for a month.

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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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