War defences exposed at Hordle

Unusually low tides around Thursday 13 August should allow New Forest District Council  to be able to remove war defences from Hordle Beach.

The deeply buried ‘scaffolding’ poles were placed below the tide line in 1940 to deter German invaders. Shifting sands buried them for many years but now recent erosion has exposed them again.

New Forest District Council is advising visitors not to swim. Once the beach was regularly used for swimming by boys from Hordle House School. Much earlier the 18th-century house was the home of Lord Justice Thesiger who in 1880 allegedly died at an early age due to too much swimming.

The concrete ‘dragons teeth’ at nearby Taddiford Gap were part of Hordle’s World War Two defences.

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Coast views in Leslie Ward book

Those who missed the recent Leslie Ward exhibition at the St Barbe Museum in Lymington will enjoy the catalogue which has been published as stand alone book.

An English Idyll: Leslie Moffat Ward: Paintings and Prints (Sansom £15) has many views of Bournemouth and Poole.

The artist, always known in life as Leslie Ward, was a student in 1903 at Drummond Road art school and in 1913 was a member of teaching staff when the Bournemouth Municipal College of Art opened at The Lansdown.

Fascinating drawings reproduced in the book include Boscombe Beach in summer 1911 showing the old pier and tents where there is now a promenade. Another shows the sandy Boscombe cliff top in 1913.

Best of all maybe is a watercolour of the bay from Durley Chine. The print can be purchased for £10 at the new Tourist Information Centre at the Pier Approach.

In addition there are drawings of Purbeck farms and London’s River Thames.

Not in the book, but often reproduced, is the drawing of Robert Louis Stevenson’s house at the top of Alum Chine before it was hit by wartime bombing. Leslie Ward knew Bournemouth and coast very well.

He lived in Grants Avenue and was often seen around the town in the post war years until his death in 1978. He never drove a car so used the Bournemouth trolley buses and green Hants & Dorset buses.

Although he exhibited at the Royal Academy, where he had also trained, he has only been really recognised beyond his home area after death. Indeed the South Bank’s Hayward Gallery was unaware of the date of his death when his was displayed there in an Arts Council exhibition.


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New Bournemouth Tourist Information on coast path

Bournemouth’s tourist information centre opened today at the Pier Approach.

It is on the coast path and open daily including Sunday with longer hours from next month.

This is now the handy point for finding advice on an overnight stay including where to eat.

Souvenirs on sale include three superb prints of Bournemouth scenes by the acclaimed artist Leslie Ward who lived in the town.

The old Tourist Information Centre, once called the ‘Information Bureau’, in Westover Road has now closed.


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Dredging at Mudeford

Excavation machines are being seen dredging just at Mudeford to replenish the sandy beaches.

This follows concerns about the plan which has been slightly changed.


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‘Mr Selfridge’ filming at Highcliffe Castle

Filming has taken place at Highcliffe Castle for the fourth series of ITV’s Mr Selfridge.

Next year is the centenary of Gordon Selfridge taking up residence at the castle. It was the middle of the Great War and his wife set up a convalescent camp for US soldiers.

He was renting the castle but had plans to build a castle of his own on Hengistbury Head.

It will be interesting to see how faithful the story is to history. A recent wedding scene was filmed in the wrong church but at least the film crew was at the right castle.

There will be more filming on Wednesday 17 June when the BBC records an episode of Flog It. The public is welcome to take any antiques along for valuation from 9.30am.

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Breakfast TV on Bournemouth beach

Bournemouth coast will be seen live on ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain tomorrow Thursday 2 April.

Andi Peters and Laura Tobin will on the promenade just west of the Pier between 6am and 8.30am.

The bad news is that the weather forecast is not good. There could be heavy rain.

Worse is that the programme theme is Easter with an Easter egg hunt although Easter will be three days away.

But it is due to be fine early on Easter morning when St Peter’s Church will celebrate the Eucharist on the beach.

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Sea search from Old Harry to Swanage

This morning walkers from Studland to Swanage will see the Swanage lifeboat joining in a search along the coast for a missing woman.

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Mudeford: Sand pumping concern

Christchurch Council will today consider pumping sand from the Mudeford Sandspit to Avon Beach.

Sand levels have fallen following the severe storm a year ago.

However, Christchurch Harbour Association and Mudeford & District Fisherman’s Association both fear that the navigable channel from Christchurch harbour will be adversely affected. Wave movements could also be affected.

Locals with long experience of the beach also have concerns about interfering with nature.

The channel runs some way beyond Mudeford Quay. Indeed the Mudeford sandspit once urned ran east not just for a short distance but as almost as far as Highcliffe Castle

Suddenly one night eighty years ago this month a storm reduced it to its current length and shape.

Poole has just completed pumping sand from Poole Bay on to the Sandbanks beach.

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Highcliffe-Lymington Sunday coastal buses reinstated

Wilts & Dorset buses, now called Morebus, has agreed to reinstate the coastal routes X1 and X2 on Sundays from the end of May.

Last month the Sunday bus services between Highcliffe and Lymington via Barton-on-Sea and Milford-on-Sea were axed.

However, the future of the year round weekend service is still in doubt since the buses are having to be operated on a commercial basis following cuts in Hampshire County Council grants.

There will  be pressure to continue the Sunday service in the autumn.



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John Singer Sargent’s Bournemouth paintings on show

Walkers crossing the Alum Chine suspension bridge are often tempted to drop down and walk up the ravine to see the remains of Robert Louis Stevenson’s house.  His wife Fanny treated the chine as part of her garden.

The artist John Singer Sargent  visited the couple several times in the 1880s.

Two portraits of the author from the time have gone on show together at the National Portrait Gallery.

One depicts the couple in the same room whilst both paintings give an indication of the interior of the house where Stevenson lived whilst his fame grew.

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