Alum Chine suspension bridge poem

In Praise of Westbourne by Hugh Ashley

The suspension bridge in Alum Chine is mentioned in Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave.

He stayed in nearby Branksome Chine and walked across the ‘quivering planks’.

So it is interesting to read in a new book by Hugh Ashley, In Praise of Westbourne, that the crossing also features in a Cumberland Clark poem called Alum Chine written about the same time.

Stretched across a deep ravine,
For every eye a pleasant scene,
With here a dip, and there a ridge,
Is Alum Chine Suspension Bridge,
You’ll stand upon it, if you’re wise.
And leisurely will feast your eyes
Upon the glories to be found
Below and everywhere around.

The bridge, more than a century old, is part of the coast path.

Hugh’s book reminds us that in 1973 the Council considered demolishing the crossing when faced with a £22,000 repair bill.

A chapter in the book, ‘Middle Chine to Alum Chine’, is devoted to the coast of Westbourne.

The book is available (£14.99) from the excellent Westbourne Bookshop.

About Leigh Hatts

Leigh Hatts is an experienced walker and has known the local coastline since childhood. He is the author of many successful walking guides.
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