Branksome Chine opened 90 years ago by Margaret Bondfield

Margaret Bondfield

During 1920s men unable to find work in South Wales were employed to transform Branksome Chine.

The valley entrance was reconfigured with lakes drained and the stream channelled with stone banks.

Wednesday 16 September is the 90th anniversary of Minister of Labour Margaret Bondfield visiting to see the almost completed scheme and declare the Chine reopened.

Her period in office was dominated by a battle with unemployment.

A few weeks before coming to Branksome in September 1930 she was at Croydon Airport to welcome Amy Johnson back from Australia after becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Margaret Bondfield was also a record holder being the first woman cabinet minister and first woman privy counsellor.

In 1930 she was to have just another year in Parliament before losing her seat in the General Election.

Above and below: The plaque at the southern entrance to Branksome Chine Gardens
Branksome Chine stream with Poole Bay beyond. The plaque is on the left hand end of the main bridge.
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Canford Cliffs stabilisation work begins

A fence on cliff path alongside Cliff Drive at Canford Cliffs

Work on stabilising a section of Canford Cliffs starts this Monday.

It is expected to continue until next summer.

The site is between Flaghead Chine and Canford Cliffs Chine.

During the winter Cliff Drive will be closed to traffic but remain open to walkers.

Full fascinating details are here.

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Milford: Work starts on Westover Sea Wall

One of several warning notices on approach to Milford-on-Sea

Work has begun repairing the Westover Sea Wall at Milford-on-Sea.

Walkers from the west must now divert inland just before The Beach House.

The coast path remains open in front of The White House but this can only be approached from the high promenade on its east side.

There is no through coast route between The Beach House and the White House. As reported earlier a date for reopening the path has yet to be announced.

Boulders from Norway, as used on nearby Hurst Spit in the 1990s, are piled above Paddy’s Gap ready for laying below the crumbling cliff.

Diversion: Bear half left to join the parallel road just before The Beach House. Walk past the pub (right) and continue to St Francis Church (right). Go right along Westover Road. After passing The White House entrance gates (right) bear right at a car park to reach the promenade.

The diversion is just before Westover, now The Beach House pub, to pass the front door.
Stone from Norway being laid below the cliff.
A ‘promenade’ is appearing.
Boulders from Norway piled above Paddy’s Gap.
Looking west from the worksite.
Boulders unloaded on the closed under cliff..
An example of the crumbling near Paddy’s Gap.
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Pennington temporary path diversions

Two path diversions are expected later this month between Milford-on-Sea and Lymington due to work on embankments.

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Milford: Westover Sea Wall Diversion

Westover, or The Beach House, at Milford-on-Sea seen from the coast path

As urgent restoration work begins on the Westover sea wall at the western approach to Milford-on-Sea there is a long term diversion now in place.

New Forest District Council says that “no date can be given at this time for when the footpath may be opened up” as the land is unstable but adds that “ideally the urgent works will enable the footpath to be opened again”.

Walkers will encounter a works compound at Paddy’s Gap before seeing the main repair compound, with just arrived Norwegian stone, ahead by The White House. Bear half left to join the parallel road just before The Beach House pub.

Walk past the pub (right) and continue to St Francis Church. Here go right along Westover Road.

There is soon a view of The White House (right) which is under threat from the crumbling coast.

It is possible to rejoin the coast path by a bowling green and the Needles Eye Cafe.

**The Westover sea wall owes its name to The Beach House which is the former Westover built in 1897 for electricity pioneer Alexander Siemans.

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White House facing storms

The peaceful coast path down to the White House seen in summer 2016 before erosion increased

A report on the poor state of coastal sea defences at the eastern end of Christchurch Bay cliff is being considered by New Forest District Council.

The NFDC commissioned Jacobs Report warns of “a significant cliff retreat” if extreme weather hits the coast during the coming winter.

The Milford-on-Sea clifftop subject to urgent discussion between NFDC, Milford Council and residents is the few but crucial hundred yards which runs from approximately just below The Beach House pub to The White House.

The path, diverted earlier this year, should run downhill to pass in front of The White House which was built in 1903 to a design by Romaine Walker.

In 1938 the landmark white building became a children’s hospital. It is now divided into residences.

The New Milton Advertiser/Lymington Times has a full report and picture.

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Beardsley exhibition: reopening & extended

Banner outside Tate Britain in March when exhibition opened

The Beardsley exhibition at Tate Britain in London is reopening today.

The once in a lifetime major exhibition includes work undertaken by the artist when he lived in Boscombe and Bournemouth.

The show was open for only a very short time in March due to the virus and should have closed in May. The closing date is now Sunday 20 September. Timed tickets must be booked in advance.

The skeleton of a whale displayed on Boscombe Pier. Beardsley had seen the whale washed up on the beach east of the pier in January 1897. The picture gives an idea of the sandy nature of the cliff at the entrance to Boscombe Chine known to the artist when he lived in Sea Road.
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Keble College Oxford 150 & The Hermitage Hotel

Keble’s house Brookside with the Royal Exeter Hotel behind seen from Pier Approach

The Church of England calendar entry for today 14 July is John Keble, Priest, Tractarian, Poet, 1866 [Lesser Festival].

Keble’s death in March 1866 came at Brookside opposite the pier in Bournemouth where he had been staying for six months having come for his wife’s health.

Brookside is now part of the Hermitage Hotel. The name Book-side indicates the position of the boarding house being close to the Bourne Stream about to flow across the sand next to the pier. John Keble crossed this stream in the ‘chine’ daily on his way to St Peter’s Church.

“We do not at all repent of having come here,” was his verdict on the town in January.

At the house he corresponded with John Henry Newman, who now also appears in the ecclesiastical calendar, and William Gladstone who was at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Keble had a huge influence on the direction and nature of Church life during the Victorian era with his sermons, hymns and best seller poetry book The Christian Year. As a result his death was widely reported.

This year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of Keble College Oxford which was his national memorial. But for the virus there would have been a programme of celebrations featuring the great church figures of today including Rowan William and Richard Coles.

But it is good to know that John Keble’s last home survives as a place to stay with a view of the sea thanks to the Hermitage Hotel.

John Keble who died in Bournemouth
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Mary Remnant’s father Eustace and Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle south front

Medieval music expert Dr Mary Remnant died last week at the age of 85.

Editor of The Tablet Brendan Walsh writes in this week’s issue: “Her mother was a music teacher and her father was an art historian and architect who designed Benedictine abbeys and chapels in France. Mary grew up surrounded by medieval bric-a-brac…”

Her father was Eustace A. Remnant who wrote an important study The Abbey of Jumieges and Highcliffe Castle long before there was much interest in the link.

In 1955 the British Archaeological Association awarded him the Reginald Taylor Prize Medal for his essay on The Problem of the Cloister of Jumieges which looks at the association with Highcliffe.

Pieces from the monastery include cloister bosses found at the castle’s grand entrance.

Mary always lit up at any mention of Highcliffe Castle.

Although she lived all her life in the same house in Chelsea she died whilst on the Isle of Wight having arrived just before the virus lockdown.

The island is of course framed in the view from the Castle and has strong historical links with Osborne.

Brendan added that Mary “made a unique contribution to British cultural life” as did her father.

The Isle of Wight’s Needles seen from the Castle’s garden door.
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Can I enjoy the coast path now?


Do the modified restrictions coming into force on Wednesday allow us to enjoy the Bournemouth coast path?

It appears that we can.

You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance but you should not go with someone from outside your household.

But this is not the time to walk continuously over days as public transport should be avoided and you must go home at night.

Staying at another home is not allowed and bed and breakfast/hotels are closed.

Most of the path is wide but social distancing must be observed.

Sandbanks and Mudeford ferries are not operating.

BCP Council Leader Vikki Slade says: “Our message is we need our open spaces for local people to get out and exercise.

“What we really don’t need is lots of people day tripping from other places because they can travel further and bring the virus to a place which has done really well to keep infections low.”

** The Bournemouth Coast Path guide is available at a 20% discount this week from Countryside Books. Enter WALKAGAIN code at checkout.

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