Battle of the Somme Centenary: Those walking the coast path this weekend and staying at Milford-on-Sea might wish to know that on Friday there will be an early morning gathering on the village green.
Friday 1 July 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. Many from the village and New Forest were among the 20,000 dead by the time the battle had ended in the autumn.
A vigil will begin on the green at 6am prior to a commemoration service at 7.30am which is the actual hour that this First World War conflict began.
Baptist Church Bicentenary: During the weekend there are celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Milford-on-Sea Baptist Church. The first minister in 1816 was James Evans who had been curate at the parish church until he fell out with the congregation over his evangelical sermons. On Sunday there is an outdoor Songs of Praise at Keyhaven.
Path from Highcliffe Castle
Environment minister Rory Stewart MP has confirmed that beach huts at Highcliffe require consent from Natural England.
The large huts are to be erected on the cliff face for George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces television programme according to Christchurch Council.
Concrete rafts would be built into the Site of Special Scientific Interest between Highcliffe Castle and Chewton Bunny to enable twelve overnight huts of different design to be erected. Christchurch Council has put aside £130,000 to fund the work.
The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs is campaigning for the cliffs to remain in their natural state. Objectors include author Bill Bryson.
Christchurch Council has secretly set aside almost £100,000 to build the controversial beach huts along the unspoilt SSSI designated cliffs at Highcliffe.
The full story appears in today’s Bournemouth Daily Echo.
The Council has suddenly confirmed the fears of protesters that the erection of huts on concrete foundations would result in disturbing a wide area.
The installation of such services as water and drainage to allow for tenants to live in the huts over long periods requires digging substantial trenches.
The plan has not gone before the planning committee nor been revealed to English Nature which is the planning authority for sensitive countryside.
A petition is to be presented by the Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs to a full metting of Christchurch Council in July.
Kaiser Wilhelm, who who stayed at Highcliffe Castle in 1907 during the long uneasy build-up to the First World War, died 75 years ago today.
On defeat he had been moved to Holland and his death there in exile came in 1941 during the Second World War when minds were on other matters.
Highcliffe’s coast path could be lined by mixed design overnight huts
A petition objecting to the building of 12 large overnight beach retreats on Highcliffe cliffs has been delivered to the Chrictchurch Civic Offices in Bridge Street.
The objections presented on Tuesday morning were gathered by the Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs.
Meanwhile Christchurch MP Chris Chope has agreed with the protesters’ view that the huts require planning permission.
Christchurch Council decided to go ahead with building concrete rafts for the beach huts without public consultation.
It is understood that councillors approved the hut designs last week during a closed meeting at the Bridge Street offices. The result will be revealed on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces TV programme in the autumn.
The huts are planned for the cliff between Highcliffe Castle and Chewton Bunny.
A view of the garden today
This is Capability Brown’s tercentenary year so the main summer exhibition at Highcliffe Castle is devoted to the famous landscape garden designer.
He was responsible for the first garden at Highcliffe.
Lord Bute, briefly Prime Minister, was living at Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire when in 1775 he visited the New Forest. On reaching the southern heathland which stretched to a very high cliff he was amazed at the view. He decided to build a cottage.
The cottage soon became a substantial house and Brown, who was already working on the Luton Hoo estate, was asked to create a garden at High Cliff. He planted the first trees including those on the coast path down to Steamer Point.
The trees have multiplied whilst the rest of his design was lost when the present castle was built by Bute’s grandson Lord Stuart de Rothesay. The first building was too near the receding cliff to survive.
Research for the exhibition has been thorough resulting in a lot of new information about the grounds and family.
Also there is a display of 19th and 20th-century hyacinth glasses. A Beales shopping catalogue is open at the garden page. A photograph shows the Kaiser planting a now lost tree in the grounds.
Capability Brown and the Highcliffe Connections is at Highcliffe Castle until Sunday 11 September; admission to the castle and exhibition is £3.50.
Highcliffe Castle is east of Mudeford.
Outdoor tables at the tearoom
The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs has a website.
Those worried about the proposed TV beach huts can sign petition on the site.
Enjoy the walk between Highcliffe Castle and Chewton Bunny now.
By the autumn this lovely coast path cliff walk, starting at the bottom and then climbing to the top, will be pitted with very large ‘beach huts’.
They will be standing on concrete rafts.
The twelve overnight huts are being built offsite and will be installed for a TV programme. The area falls under Christchurch Council which is cooperating with the TV production company making the George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces programme.
The Council claims that planning permission is not required. However, it appears that Natural England was not made aware of the plan for the cliff which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The hastily formed Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs has launched a petition and attracted over sixty people to a meeting calling for the plan to be abandoned.
This weekend’s New Milton Advertiser carries a front page picture of last Tuesday’s demonstation when protestors sat on a paper outline of a concrete chalet base. Others held a banner reading “SAY NO TO HIGHCLIFFE BEACH RETREATS’.
Author and former CPRE patron Bill Bryson who loves the coast path, and once lived in Christchurch, is backing the protests.
Flog It! on BBC1 comes from Highcliffe Castle on Thursday afternoon 19 May.
The broadcast starts at 4.30pm and the break in the middle promises a look around the castle’s salvage room.
Another Flog It! programme from the castle on Friday 27 May will include film from Bournemouth’s Russell-Cotes Art Gallery.