Friday 31 May 2013

Our Morning Walks

Recently our morning walks have become much more exciting than usual. For the last month, my son has been working on construction sites in Sandbanks, starting at 8 am. Because the first bus he could get doesn't arrive until 8.10, I have volunteered to drive him and Jade comes along for the ride, which takes about twentyfive minutes after we have run the gauntlet of all the traffic lights on the way. Then we have various options for our walk. Jade's favourite is obvious - the beach at Sandbanks. In the summer months, dogs are allowed on the beach between the far end of the car park and the end of the peninsula where the chain ferry crosses to Studland. On the beach Jade runs wild, chasing the stones I throw and digging them into the sand before she picks them up in her mouth. We meet lots of other dogs and their owners, and everyone talks about the weather and how fickle it is, while the dogs sniff each other and try to get Jade to play with them. She never will; she much prefers getting petted by people to rough-housing it with other dogs.

On Tuesday I ignored the immediate beach and turned the car towards Canford Cliffs, which is on the way to Bournemouth. 

                                                             photo by Michael9559 at Wikimedia CommonsHere you can park along the road above the beach and walk along a footpath beside a green, which then goes past a children's play area and into woodland. I noticed that since I was last there a couple of weeks ago, the rhododendrons have started to bloom, giving patches of bright pink among the green of the leaves and the bare tree barks. Farther on there is a delightful carpet of bluebells under the trees. We took a tarmacced pathway that drops down through a chine to the beach. At the bottom is a strange conglomeration of beach huts as you can see in the picture. 

photo by Chris Downer

Down here I have to put Jade on the lead to stop her running onto the sand, which could cost me a fine of up to £1000 at this time of year. We walk along the promenade to another pathway that zigzags back up to the top of the cliff via steep slopes and steps. I have to stop several times on the way up to catch my breath, so I take the opportunity to gaze at the spectacular views: right around to Old Harry Rocks to my right; past Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head on my left, with the Needles of the Isle of Wight beyond.

Sometimes I drive to Whitecliff Park at Parkstone Bay within Poole Harbour which is on my way home. From the free car park here, the dog walks skirt football and cricket pitches, although no-one is using them at this time of day. you can walk along the shore all the way to Poole Quay from here, but we only have time to go about a third of the way before turning away from the sea to complete our circuit. One morning I noticed a sign explaining that there were once quarries here into cliffs which no longer exist, and you can just see a small patch of light earth on the side of the bank up to the road, which explains the name Whitecliff. Back at the car park there are always rooks on the ground in the mornings and they only grudjingly move out of the way when a car needs to pass. Even when Jade or other dogs want to chase them, they don't move far. I've never seen rooks this tame before. Perhaps it's because there is a food stall here and when we go back to the car, it is usually being set up with everything for the day being offloaded from an estate car.

So those are just three of my many morning walk options at present. It's quite an anticlimax at the weekends when we just step outside and walk to the park at the end of the our road.


Jenny Woolf said...

You live in such a nice part of the world. I went to college for a while in Bournemouth and it had such a nice atmosphere. I suppose it's busier now though!
Looks as if you have had some good weather too.

Unknown said...

Thank you Jenny. I do prefer Poole to Bournemouth although I do spend time there and it's growing on me. the weather has definitely changed for the better. I'm just about to write about it now.

Paola said...

Everything looks so neat and clean! I'm looking forward to experiencing some order during our summer break! (Singapore got me dreaming!)

Sharkbytes said...

Those huts would make a great jigsaw puzzle. What is a chine?

Unknown said...

Hi Paola - are you doing another European tour this summer?

Joan - that is a good idea about the jigsaw. Chines are the remains of ancient river valleys cutting through cliffs down to the sea. The word chine is common on this south coast of England and on the nearby Isle of Wight.

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