Lymington Sea Water Bath is ‘a top lido’

Delighted to see Leamington’s Sea Water Baths listed in The Times as one of  The 20 Best Lidos.

“Outdoor pools across the country are having a revival,” says Emily Sargent.

She points out that Lymington’s bath is “the oldest of its kind”. It was originally the King’s Saltern and one of 22 salt pans owned by Richard King who in 1805  opened the bookshop (now Waterstones) in the High Street.

The salters became a sea water bath in 1833.

Today the healthy attraction is also a feature for those walking the coast path from Milford-on-Sea to Leamington.

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Highcliffe’s TV beach huts: Natural England against plan

Christchurch MP Christopher Chope has revealed that plans for erecting beach huts at Highcliffe as part of ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ TV show are unacceptable to Natural England.

The MP was speaking in Parliament on Wednesday having secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons.

“Many councils recognise that if they are going to give permission for beach huts, they should go through the normal planning procedures, which involve an application, a consultation and so on. However, Christchurch Borough Council has avoided doing that over many months, to the extreme consternation of the public.”

He added: “We need clarity in our planning law. I hope that, by the end of tonight’s debate, my hon. Friend the Minister will have given some assurance that he will fill that lacuna and ensure that there is clarity, where currently the legal background is uncertain.”

He further added: “The gap in the public protection of our coastal amenities is where the land itself is owned by local councils, which seek to give themselves deemed consent for development without the need for any planning application or public consultation.

When Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane; Con) intervened to say that beach huts had a certain attraction, Mr Chope responded by saying that when we talked about amazing spaces we ought also to think about amazing natural spaces.

“If my hon. Friend has ever had the privilege of visiting Highcliffe cliff top, she will probably agree that that is an amazing space because it is unspoilt. We can look out to sea and out to the Needles. Why should we wish to despoil such a place, to the detriment of local people, without at least some proper consultation?”

Support came from Peter Bone (Wellingborough; Con) whilst Ian Mearns (Gateshead; Lab) suggested that the matter should be referred for consideration by the district auditor, given use of public money.

Gavin Barwell, making his first Commons appearance as the new the Minister for Housing and Planning, said in reply to the debate that the Government supported coastal communities.

He was, he said, unable to comment on any specific case due to the Secretary of State’s role in the planning system but added that he knew the beach in question, having family in nearby Hordle.

But the minister added that regardless of how planning permission is granted, safeguards remained to protect the most important landscapes.

“Permission granted by the general permitted development order is still subject to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. If a development granted permission by the order is likely to have a significant effect on a European site, the development cannot be begun until the local planning authority has determined, in consultation with Natural England, that it will not adversely affect the site. That is still the case when the local authority itself is the developer.”

Before closing the minister said: “It is for local councils to develop their local plans, but the Government would certainly encourage them to engage with their local communities, businesses, Members of Parliament and other interested parties as they do that.”

Meanwhile the natural cliff face between HighclifFe Castle and Chewton Bunny has posts marking the intended locations of the concrete rafts for huts.

Christchurch council’s scrutiny committee is investigating but does not have the power to halt any work.

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Chewton Glen is ‘better than The Ritz’

Chewton Glen hotel has come top of the Hoteliers’ Hotels Top 100 list.

The verdict comes from The Caterer journalists and AA hotel inspectors who have put  Chewton Glen ahead of The Goring (3), The Dorchester (5), Gleneagles (8) and The Ritz (11) in the Hoteliers’ Hotel Top 100.

Chewton Glen was home of George Marryat from 1837 to 1855. His brother, Captain Frederick Marryat, wrote Children of the New Forest during a long stay there. At the time Highcliffe and Barton were considered to be part of the Forest.

Chewton Glen is in the glen, or inland continuation, of  Chewton Bunny which at present coastal walkers must follow as far as the road since there is no public footpath at Naish Farm caravan site. But with Chewton Glen bed and breakfast starting at £235 many will still prefer to stop at The Globe Premier Inn at Highcliffe.

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Milford-on-Sea anniversaries

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.

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Highcliffe huts need consent says minister

Path from Highcliffe Castle

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.

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Highcliffe huts: Cost and infrastructure details revealed

way down

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.

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Kaiser Wilhelm: 75th anniversary

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.


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Highcliffe Huts: Petition presented as MP steps in

 Highcliffe's coast path could be lined by mixed design overnight huts

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.

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Capability Brown at Highcliffe Castle

A view of the garden today

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

Outdoor tables at the tearoom

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Eddie Marriott’s Wellington Tower painting


Eddie Marriott’s lovely depiction of the Wellington Tower is a feature of Purbeck Art Weeks at Swanage.

The tower was built to honour the Duke of Wellington, hero of the Battle of Waterloo, and first stood next to Southwark Cathedral on the approach to London Bridge.

It was brought to Swanage by the London building contractor John Mowlem who lived in Swanage and collected much redundant street furniture for ship ballast.

The Festival runs until Sunday 12 June.

Work by Eddie Marriott can be seen at 6, Gilbert Road, opposite Swanage Station, from 10am to 5pm.

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