Bournemouth Coast Path: A top UK walk

The Bournemouth Coast Path is more popular than The Pennine Way, The Three Peaks and The Thames Path according to a new poll.

A thousand British walkers were asked to name their best loved walk.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express which commissioned the poll, says: “Summer is here and there can scarcely be a better way to make the most of it than by getting out and exploring the great outdoors.

“From the drama of England’s highest mountain to the buzz of city streets and the quiet beauty of the countryside there’s something for everyone on our list, regardless of whether you’re feeling adventurous enough to tackle an entire route or want to enjoy a small section.

“Our countdown is a stunning showcase of the very best Britain has to offer and we hope it inspires people to put their best foot forward this summer.”

Number one walk is the South-West Coast Path which joins the Bournemouth Coast Path.

Cumbria’s Coast to Coast is joint number eight with Bournemouth.


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Highcliffe Castle cliff path now closed for a year

Christchurch Council has confirmed that the cliff path from Highcliffe Castle will remain closed all year.

Retaining walls have weakened and the situation has become worse following dry weather which may have caused cliff falls elsewhere.

Design preparation and the work on site may mean that the path does not open until June next year.

Diversion Walkers on the Christchurch Coastal Path should leave the castle grounds by the front gate and turn right at the main road. Go right into Wharncliffe Road and after the road has turned left go right along a footpath leading to the cliff top.

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Rogation & Ascension customs observed

Rogation Sunday will be marked this Sunday 21 May at Mudeford with the traditional Blessing of the Water at 3pm.

Mudeford’s Priest in Charge Helen Griffiss will be rowed out from the quay into The Run where she will throw a cross into the water and bless the sea.

The fishermen look ahead to a good harvest of Christchurch salmon.

This is an old Mudeford custom and reflects similar annual rural events at this time of year.

New Custom

A new custom it seems might be being born for Ascension Day which falls just after Rogation. This day is highlighted in various places by annual beating the bounds and tower top singing.

But on the coast path it is to be marked on Sunday 28 May at Hengistbury Head.

Parishioners from St Joseph’s Church in Christchurch will walk to Hengistbury Head by way of Wick Ferry with others invited to joining them.

The main meeting point is Wick village by the ferry point. The route is then to Hengistbury Head via the Visitor Centre.

At the viewpoint there will be a brief prayer and reading of the scripture story of the Ascension of Jesus followed by a shared lunch. Anyone can bring  picnic and join in.

A return to Purewell is planned by way of Mudeford Ferry.


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Barton-on-Sea to Hordle path closed

A cliff fall has resulted in the closure of more coast path.

An unexpected fall just west of Beckton Bunny at 5.30pm last Tuesday has led to fears of more to come if wet weather persists next week.

Closure was already in place east of Beckton Bunny to the start of Milford-on-Sea cliff top due to falls at Hordle last year.

Now there is closure from Barton-on-Sea to Milford-on-Sea cliffs with no access at Taddiford Gap.

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Shelley Park cafe opens

The Shelley Cafe is now open from 10.30am until 3pm.

The cafe is part of the theatre in the Shelley Park clifftop mansion.

Brownies, biscuits and flapjacks were on the counter this morning.

This will be the heritage place to stop off and have refreshment on the coast path at Boscombe once lunches and longer opening hours are introduced later this summer.

Shelley Park was the home of the son of poet Percy Shelley and writer Mary Shelley. Sir Percy Shelley and his wife Jane kept PB Shelley’s heart, snatched from cremation on Viareggio beach, in the north-east upstairs room.

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Bottles featuring the cliffs on the cliffs

The real ale lobby group CAMRA is at the Bournemouth International Centre this weekend for its AGM.

Members can spill out on to the coast path to see the fantastic view.

The coast is a great theme of the new Poole Hill Brewery, or Southbourne Ales, which members will be pre-viewing.

Its bottles have delightful labels featuring the coast and designed by brewery founder Jennifer Tingay.

Expect the soon to open brewery at the top of Bournemouth’s Poole Hill and the labels to become familiar attractions.

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Canford Cliffs: Landslip causes concern

A fence on cliff path alongside Cliff Drive at Canford Cliffs

A slight cliff fall at Canford Cliffs is causing concern.

The slip might be missed, especially on the Canford Cliffs Promenade, but the higher coast path has been fenced off.

Planned work by Poole Council on new beach huts has also been put on hold in case there are further falls.

There has also been cliff movement to the east outside the BIC where barriers have been erected on the wide coast path running downhill to Bournemouth Pier.

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Keyhaven Lambing Day

Keep walking east along the Bournemouth Coast Path and eventually, at the end of Christchurch Bay, you come to the Hurst Spit and Keyhaven.

You may see some sheep.

Tomorrow Saturday 1 April is Aubrey Farm open day at Keyhaven 10am-3pm.


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Christchurch Priory is Bill Bryson’s favourite church

Christchurch Priory is seen from Hengistbury Head and close by on the Southbourne-Mudeford winter coast path route.

“This is my first love among English churches,” says Bill Bryson who has listed his 14 favourite churches for the National Churches Trust.

“Christchurch, Dorset, was where my wife and I lived when we were first married. I passed through the grounds of the priory almost daily for two years, and I could never do so without stopping to gawp at its magnificence. Stone doesn’t get more glorious than this.

“How so many locals could scurry past it without seeming to notice its presence, never mind its grandeur, was a permanent mystery to me”

The writer recently spoke warmly of Highcliffe seafront when opposing the super beach hut plans.

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Highcliffe Castle path closed again

The path from the grounds of Highcliffe Castle down towards the beach, part of the Christchurch Coastal Path, is again closed.

There are two alternatives for walkers.

If you do not wish to visit Highcliffe Castle then cliff steps to the west by the former warden’s lodge in Steamer Point Woods can be used.

If you reach the castle grounds then you should leave by the main entrance and go right at Lymington Road. You will have the pleasure of passing the original castle gateway with its lodges (now the Lord Bute hotel; right) and the church (left).

Go right into Wharncliffe Road and after the road has turned left go right along a footpath leading to the cliff top.

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