Sandbanks Ferry: No service for a month

Sandbanks Ferry is out of action and no service is expected until Monday 12 August at the earliest.

This surprise news follows a difficult winter for people living on the Isle of Purbeck when the annual November closure lasted into Christmas.

Walkers completing the Dorset Coast Path at Shell Bay will need to return to Swanage by bus and reach Sandbanks via Wareham.

Sandbanks Ferry is the vital link between the Isle of Purbeck and Poole’s coastline which joins Bournemouth at Durley Dene Chine.

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Admiral Cornwallis remembered at Milford-on-Sea

Admiral William Cornwallis gave his fortune, house and name to a dynasty which included royalty and Churchill.

On Friday 5 July the seaside village of Milford-on-Sea will be marking the 200th anniversary of his death with a church service, window unveiling and Trafalgar news re-enactment.

Admiral Cornwallis’s tomb is near the church’s vestry door.

He is honoured for thwarting Napoleon’s invasion, saving Nelson’s life and playing a decisive role at the Battle of Trafalgar.

He settled at Milford’s Newlands Manor in 1800.

During the 1801 Christmas morning sermon, the church congregation saw through the north windows that Newlands was on fire and one by one people left until the vicar paused to ask where everyone had gone.

The admiral oversaw rebuilding in the gothic style and invited Captain John Whitby, fresh from taking news of Nelson’s death to Emma Hamilton, to live at Newlands and bring his family.

Soon after arriving Whitby died leaving his wife Mary Anne who eventually cared for the admiral. The mansion was inherited by Whitby’s daughter Theresa who married Richard West.

Their son Colonel William Cornwallis-West entertained the Prince of Wales, the Kaiser and Lillie Langtry who were all friends of his wife Patsy. Their son George shocked society by marrying Winston Churchill’s widowed mother whilst the daughters became the Princess of Pless and the Duchess of Westminster. The house is now apartments.

There will be celebrations on the green in Milford on Friday afternoon 5 July when a specially composed sea shanty called Billy Blue after Cornwallis’s nickname will be sung.

Meanwhile the St Barbe Museum in Lymington has a special exhibition exhibition until Sunday 1 September.

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Foreign Secretary on Coast Path

Darren Slade on cliff path with the Foreign Secretary on cliff path for an Echo interview

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was on the Bournemouth Coast Path early yesterday looking at the view, giving an interview, posing for photographs by the pier and buying the first ice cream of the day.

Few recognised him as he walked about or when he was driven down the slope by the cliffside BIC where many political conferences are held. He wants the Conservative conference to return to the town.

The Liberal Democrats return this autumn.

Jeremy Hunt was on the coast, and crossing to and from the Isle of Wight, prior to the Conservative leadership debate at The Pavilion last night.

But it was his opponent Boris Johnson who has the strong local connection.

In 1909 his great grandfather Ali Kemal, the Ottoman Empire’s last interior minister, brought his pregnant wife Winifred to the town where she gave birth to Osman.

The mother died and the father was assassinated on returning to Turkey leaving Osman in the town to be looked after by his grandmother Margaret. She gave the baby her maiden name of Johnson.

Friday’s Daily Echo has pictures and Darren Slade’s interview with Jeremy Hunt.


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Royal visit to Highcliffe Castle

Zig-zag awaits planting

The Duke of Gloucester is visiting Highcliffe Castle on Thursday morning 30 May.

His Royal Highness, an architect, has paid several visits to Highcliffe Castle and has long taken an interest in its restoration.

Afterwards the Duke will be on the Christchurch Coastal Path when he opens the restored zig-zag link from the Castle grounds to the cliffs and beach. The ceremony is expected to take place at about 11.15am.

Council has now finalised its arrangements for the opening of our path. It will be opened on 30th May by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The Duke will start by attending a private function in the Castle; he will then walk to the top of the Path to perform the opening ceremony. Timings depend on how long he stays in the Castle but it is anticipated that he will open the path at 11.15 -11.30.

The retaining walls of the zig-zag are clad in reclaimed planks from Bournemouth sea defences.

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Highcliffe Castle zig-zag opens as furniture arrives

Highcliffe Castle seen from the top of the zig-zag

Highcliffe Castle is preparing to welcome the Duke of Gloucester who will re-open the zig-zag, a vital part of the Christchurch Coastal Path, and open part of the castle never seen before.

HRH is due to visit on Thursday 30 May and as an architect he will probably appreciate the spectacular work revealed since his last visit in 2008.

Two floors of the Penleaze building are now open. This eastern wing is named after Dr James Penleaze who bought ‘High Cliff’ in 1799 having found a fortune in a hat box.

The downstairs rooms have been filled with fascinating information boards containing new research on the many past owners.

Upstairs a bedroom contains original furniture from the castle which has returned on temporary loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is also possible to enjoy the view from the Chinese bedroom.

The kitchen in the basement displays a recipe for Eel Soup. An unexpected find is the kitchen well which had been covered and forgotten after mains water was installed. You can again look down into the well and still see water.

Descending to the castle kitchen
Kitchen
Highcliffe Castle well

The library now has its walls covered in pictures recording the ongoing restoration work.

In the Octagon Room, just inside the front door, there are more clear information displays listing such tenants as William Cavendish-Bentinck (1900) and Lord Rothermere (1910-1912).

Winter Garden fireplace
Carved figure on Winter Garden fireplace

The Tea Rooms accessed from the grounds has been under a new contract since 2017. Its best dish is probably Dorset Rarebit £5.75 but you may have to ask for it as the main menu is not displayed at the counter.

Highcliffe Castle is open 10am to 5pm; admission £7. The coast path runs through the grounds.

Rebuilt zig-zag path
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Cliff erosion at Hordle

New Milton Advertiser

The cliff erosion between Barton-on-Sea and Milford cliffs means that the coast path is now a permissive path.

The line of right of way has fallen into the sea with a route now being open only thanks to landowners allowing the path to be unofficially moved back.

Now Milford-on-Sea Parish Council has expressed fears that, with increasing erosion, the coast path could close.

It appears that any action by New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council or Natural England is unlikely until the Secretary of State for Environment has approved plans for the continuous England Coast Path.

This scheme will allow for path roll-back where there is erosion.

New Forest MP Sir Desmond Swayne has said that he is making representations to Natural England.

Meanwhile it continues to be just possible to pass along the coast.

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E9 path: more coast

If you walk east along the Bournemouth Coast Path and keep going you get to Brittany.

This is because the BCP is part of the E9 which links at Dover with France leading down to Spain and Portugal. Or you can go further east along the Belgium and German coast.

The latest news is that the Emerald Coast section in Brittany is opening after a 37 year dispute.

Whether the BCP ceases to be part of the E9 after the end of this month is uncertain.

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Sandbanks Ferry not operating

Walkers should note that the annual November closure of the Sandbanks ferry service has lasted much longer than is usual.

The ferry is not operating

A resumption of the service cannot now be expected until shortly before Christmas.


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Lucinda Lambton in Bournemouth

Lucinda Lambton has been on Bournemouth’s East Cliff to visit the Russell-Côtes Art Gallery & Museum.

Her account appears in the January’s issue of The Oldie which is arriving in shops now.

In the magazine she describes the building, once home of Sir Merton Russell-Côtes and his wife Annie, as “an almost lone survivor of a 19th-century British business bigwig’s house, that looks like an American robber baron’s mansion has been hauled across the Atlantic to be grounded on Bournemouth’s shore. What a joyful surprise!”

The feature on the Russell-Côtes Museum is part of the Forgotten Britain series.

As author of Temples of Convenience, a history of the lavatory, the architectural writer will surely have been impressed by the house’s famous tiled ladies’ convenience.

But it’s the view which is even more breathtaking with the bay often compared to the Bay of Naples.

Lucinda adds: “Never say ‘See Naples and die’: rather, see Bournemouth and live!”

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Bournemouth Coast Path guide offer

Black Friday starts earlier and lasts longer in the UK than USA!

But the good news is that Exploring the Bournemouth Coast Path guide can be obtained  for just £5.99 – a saving of £2.

The publisher’s offer on the Countryside Books website is valid until Christmas.

 

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