Cherry Tree Walk blossom

Cherry Tree Walk

There is a little blossom at the west end of Cherry Tree Walk on the West Cliff.

Lots of buds are on other trees although some half way along, where there is high ground, have been hit by the recent blast of cold.

The 175 yard short cut is on West Overcliff Drive between Middle and Durley Chines.

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England Coast Path: Christchurch Bay proposals

Approaching Milford-on-Sea

The England Coast Path proposals for Highcliffe to Calshot have now been published.

The ECP is a government initiative to create a continuous coastal path round England.

The Natural England report for Highcliffe to Calshot states that its recommendations generally follow “existing walked routes, including public rights of way, along most of this length.”

It adds that the proposed route is “similar to the existing Solent Way, E9 European Long Distance Route and the Bournemouth Coast Path”.

(Bournemouth Coast Path is the overall name for the Sandbanks to Milford-on-Sea coast route incorporating the named local stretches such as Christchurch Coastal Path. The BCP guidebook includes the Solent Way, which starts at Milford-on-Sea, as far as Lymington.)

The report says: “In some areas it is no longer possible to walk on the definitive line of the existing public rights of way due to cliff erosion; here we have proposed the most appropriate route on the ground.”

It also says that “part of the route of the trail on this length of coast would be able to change without further approval from the Secretary of State in response to coastal erosion or other geomorphological processes, or encroachment by the sea. This would happen in accordance with the criteria and procedures for ‘roll back’…”

There has been been an adverse reaction from landowners and walkers to the proposals east of Lymington where the path has long been mainly away from the sea.

But the proposals west of Lymington have been generally well received.

The only disappointment is near Highcliffe.

Whilst Ramblers chair Frank Welling declares the Highcliffe to Lymington proposals “fine” he does regret that the inland diversion at Naish Farm caravan park (next to Chewton Bunny) remains in place.

It had been hoped that the ‘roll-back’ provision might be applied to the farm’s dramatic crumbling cliff.

The only change from the route described in the BCP guide for the Milford-on-Sea to Lymington stretch is at Moses Dock beyond Oxey Lake. Here the new proposal is for the coastal path to cross the dock and avoid passing in front of Creek Cottage.

Of the two reports for the Bournemouth Coast Path this one is the most positive and faithful to local routes.

Copies of the Highcliffe to Calshot report can be seen at Lymington and New Milton public libraries.

Responses must be received by Wednesday 9 May. Afterwards the proposals and any public observations will go the Secretary of State Michael Gove for approval.

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Studland & Boscombe have ‘top beaches’

Boscombe clifftop in summer

The coast path in Dorset has two of the top 30 beaches says The Times.

Studland Bay is number 12 with its “gently shelving bathing waters and views of Old Harry Rocks and across to the Isle of Wight”.

More surprising is the inclusion of often overlooked Boscombe at number 24 which is described as “cool”. But it does add the “when the weather is good”.

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Highcliffe Castle Path could reopen


Bournemouth Daily Echo

A committee recommendation to reopen the Christchurch Coastal Path at Highcliffe Castle is going before the Christchurch Council on Tuesday.

It is expected that the full council will approve an allocation of funds which would see the short but vital zig-zag link on the cliff reopen in a year’s time.

The Council at first rejected proposals to repair the path which had been declared unsafe.

However, thousands of people including residents have called for the full Coastal Path to be reopened as soon as possible.

New Milton Advertiser’s 16 February report

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More movement at Canford Cliffs

Poole Council has detected movement on the cliff just west of Canford Cliffs Chine.

Minor falls were reported early last year and as a result markers were placed on the cliff below Cliff Drive.

Now there is fencing on the promenade.


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Bournemouth Coast Path on New Year’s Day 2018

New Year’s Day 2018 walkers

The first day of 2018 saw people walking on the Bournemouth Coast Path.

It was not too cold and there was even some sunshine.

Honeycombe Chine and Boscombe Cliff

East Cliff near Royal Bath Hotel

Royal Bath Hotel (left) and Russell-Côtes Art Gallery & Museum

Last tree at east end of Poole Bay cliff

Old Harry Rocks with Durlston Castle seen beyond the hill

West Cliff

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Highcliffe Castle closing for winter

This weekend Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October is the last one for visiting Highcliffe Castle until March next year.

During the winter there will be restoration and building work to allow for more of the castle to be open to the public.

Glass will be repaired and furniture brought back from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The cafe will remain open all winter.

Meanwhile Christchurch Council is having a further debate on Tuesday about reopening the coast path zigzag link in the grounds. This follows pressure from residents.

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Russell-Cotes free admission weekend

As part of the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival there is free admission to The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum this weekend.

Open free Saturday 14 October and Sunday 15 Oct 2017, 10am to 5pm.

This is a rare opportunity to look around the exotic cliff top villa on the East Cliff coast path just east of the Pier.

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John Liddell exhibition

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum on the coast path near the start of the East Cliff is a good stop for food and a rest.

The building is the former clifftop home of Sir Merton Russell-Cotes and his wife Annie.

The good news is that although there is an admission charge you can go to the cafe without paying.

This also admits to a large gallery where the winter exhibition is of work by artist and printmaker John Liddell (1924-2005).

He taught nearby at the Bournemouth College of Art and spent many years painting the Dorset coast and Poole Harbour. His speciality was boats which appear in many of his prints.

John Liddell also recorded delightful views in Moscow, Spain and Venice.

The limited edition prints are for sale. Especially tempting are the John Liddell greetings cards featuring a cat, Poole Park, Weymouth and, water again, Amsterdam.

Miscellany: Linocuts, Woodcuts and Wood Engravings by John Liddell is in the Cafe Gallery at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum (closed Monday) until January.

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Walking the coast is popular

The Bournemouth-based The National Coastal Tourism Academy latest report finds that coastal walking is popular.

The survey for Perceptions of the English Coast: Identifying Opportunities for Domestic Non-Visitors reveals that “The most popular activity was walking”.

The summary says: “Coastal walking appeals across the board.”

Under a section looking at weather it suggests that “destinations need to focus on activities which can still be fun when the weather isn’t ideal (walking, water sports) and promote their all-weather attractions particularly cultural and historic ones”.

Bournemouth has the Bournemouth Coast Path which, if promoted like the Dorset Coast Path, should be bringing significant economic gains.

This timely report should be concentrating minds at Christchurch Council which has just closed a crucial Christchurch Coastal Path link.

This is at Highcliffe Castle. It should be reopened as an investment for future years since the spot combines all weather walking and an historic attraction which are both mentioned in the National Coastal Tourism Academy report.

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