Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset
Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Since we were last there. it has undergone some remarkable modernisation and regeneration. Unfortunately, this has left the main shopping area seeming no different from other cities and towns. I regret the loss of Lewis's department store. We went in there just before it closed its' doors, mostly because I wanted to see inside the wonderful Art Deco building that housed it, and it is sad to see such an old family-run firm gone.

However, the regeneration of the waterfront, particularly around the Albert Dock, is excellent. As well as the new Arena for events (what imaginative person thought up THAT name?), there's the new Museum of Liverpool. We thought we'd poke around in there for an hour or so, and ended up being in there for over 4 hours! We'd done the Museum of Slavery and the Maritime Museum last time we were in Liverpool, so didn't expect much more of interest to come from this new collection.

How wrong we were! It gives a fascinating insight into past ways of life in Liverpool's heyday, as well as feature areas dedicated to the cities' more famous sons and daughters. You can't escape the Beatles. From the Beatles Story at Albert Dock, to the Cavern Club in Matthews Street, they are everywhere. And rightly so. They are, after all, the most important group in the history of popular music. But, down by the docks, between Albert Dock and the new museum, is a statue of Billy Fury.

 Long one of my all-time favourite singers, he is much neglected in my opinion. It was good to see him featured in the Museum.

Actually, there are several impressive sculptures in and around Liverpool. There's a brilliant one of Bessie Braddock at Lime Street Station, and this beautiful dockyard horse down by the docks (Don't mind my little mascot sitting on him)

Oh, and did I mention the plethora of SuperLambBananas? If you've never heard of them, or seen them, they are everywhere in Liverpool. There was only one, when we first went there, now.....oh dear..........

Thursday, 18 October 2012

At last...........

got meself a new camera, and I've been over to Reculver on the North Kent coast, to try it out. There's a couple of pictures on the Kent page. I look forward to trying it out some more shortly..........

Monday, 3 September 2012

Sorry folks.........

Wouldn't you know it..........just come back from a fantastic week in North Wales, and there should have been pictures galore of some wonderful sights and places. However, my camera decided to pack up as soon as I got there.

Oh well, I'll just have to go back thee again next year (with a new camera) and photograph all the wonderful things I saw ;)

Monday, 30 July 2012

Back from my hols.

Just had a fantastic trip 'Oop North'. 1600 miles on ten days, touring mostly Tyneside and North Yorkshire with a little foray into Scotland and Cumbria.
The pages on Scotland and North Yorkshire have thus been updated, and there are updates on Newcastle and Beamish

Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newcastle surprised me. I'd always had the impression that, being in such an economically depressed area of the country, it would be a little shabby and run-down.
It's not. It's a gorgeous city with lots to see and do, and some of the grandest buildings in the country.
Over the past couple of decades or so, it has been massively regenerated and restored, none more so than the Quayside, down by the river. They have even installed a fake sandy beach, complete with deckchairs! And all over town, there are statues and points of interest.
And bridges - Newcastle has many, all different, and each attractive in its' own right.
This statue was just there, in the street, almost as if it had just strode out of the subway behind him.
St. James' Park football stadium lies in the heart of the city. This is the statue of Sir Bobby Robson outside the main entrance

The Chinese Gate - which appears to be in the heart of the Irish Quarter!

One of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in the country, this is the marvellous former Co-Op Building

The renowned Tyne Bridge, currently sporting Olympic rings, as St. James' Park is to be used for Olympic football matches. The building behind is the Sage, which lies across the River Tyne, in the twin town of Gateshead. The Sage is an amazing music and theatre venue, known throughout the world.

The complete (almost) collection of bridges over the Tyne

The curved Millenium Bridge, known locally as the 'Winking Eye', which links the Quayside, Newcastle to the Sage, Gateshead

The Art Deco former Baltic Mills, now a vibrant art gallery and venue, showing the curve of the Millenium Bridge


I love open-air working museums, and Beamish has to be one of the best. Beamish is in County Durham, UK, some 12 miles North West of historic Durham City and 8 miles south west of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The site is so huge, it would take all day to walk around and see everything. Luckily you can hop on and off the vintage trams and buses which run around the site, from the farm, to the hall, to the pit vallage, and to the jewel of the site, the town.
The buildings and displays represent life during Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times, and everywhere there are people in period costume demonstrating life in the apropriate times of the buildings.
I could write a book on the experiences to be had, but you really need to visit it yourself. So, for now, I'll just post a few pictures:

 This is Flash - a little pit pony from the colliery village. These tiny ponies could pull many times their own weight, and were the only way to transport coal to the surface in the days before mechanisation.
This is the park and the bandstand in the town. There's also a railway station, a steam-driven funfair, restaurant and shops where you can but traditional goods and handmade sweets.

One of the trams just leaving the town to go up to the Old Hall
The replica of Locomotion No.1 which takes passengers on a short ride
The colliery
Miners' houses in the pit village, complete with vegetable gardens

Monday, 14 May 2012



Coming from the south, visitors can see how the medieval town of Axbridge hugs the southern slope of the Mendips. Approaching from the north, the Levels spread out below the town. An important wool-producer in the Middle Ages, the town has always been at the crossroads, the centre of things, indeed it was a river port in earlier times.

Now most traffic bypasses this sleepy little town, it's a lovely spot to relax and explore, with a charming brick-paved central square, and some interesting old buildings.

This is King John's Hunting Lodge, now the town museum, situated right in the square.

And this is the church, set just off the other end of the square, and accessed via a stone stairway


Burnham stands on the north coast of Somerset, on the Bristol Channel, and is renowned for its' wide, 6 mile long expanse of beach. At the far end, you can just see the curious white wooden lighthouse, which you can walk out to in about 15 minutes.


Now, I haven't included any pictures of the famous Cheddar Gorge, as I covered that in my other Somerset post, but I thought it would be nice to show a little of the village of Cheddar, much loved by tourists, and renowned of course, for cheese!

There's a lovely river runs the entire length of the village, with charming gardens and little ponds and weirs.

Now don't get confused, but Cleeve Abbey isn't in Cleeve, it's in Washford. It's another of the Cistercian Abbeys that King Henry VIII had destroyed, but Cleeve is a little unusual, in that, whilst the church was razed to the ground, the rest of the monastic buildings were left intact for the use of the local Lord.
The cloister buildings including the gatehouse, 15th century refectory with its glorious angel roof and 13th century heraldic tiles have survived remarkably intact.
The gatehouse

the angel roof

Unusually, there's a rose window in the sacristy, instead of high up on the end nave wall

the cloisters


The Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning the picturesque Avon Gorge, is the symbol of the city of Bristol. For almost 150 years this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world. Its story began in 1754 with the dream of a Bristol wine merchant who left a legacy to build a bridge over the Gorge.

24 year old Isambard Kingdom Brunel was eventually declared the winner and appointed project engineer – his first major commission.

The entrance to the bridge. There's a toll of 50p per vehicle to use the bridge, which takes you across the Avon Gorge and right into the heart of Bristol's docklands

the view from the bridge down the gorge


The medieval village of Dunster is in Somerset within the Exmoor National Park. With it's Castle, Yarn Market, Tithe Barn and a wealth of listed buildings, Dunster is a favourite destination for many tourists.

This is the Yarn Market, right at the heart of the village

The Castle sits right at the end of the main street in the village, but is actually accessed by its' own entrance off the main road outside the village. The Castle and grounds are open to the public.


Lynmouth is the port for the town of Lynton above the harbour, and the two are connected by a water driven lift.
This is the Rhennish Tower, the lighthouse at the mouth of the harbour.

The harbour has been formed by dividing the mouth of the river, where it flows into the sea.


Malmsmead is not a name known by many outside of the local population, but if you have read R.D. Blackmore's book, Lorna Doone, then you will recognise it as the mouth of Doone Valley. The tiny group of buildings is accessed via a small packhorse bridge, or more usually, via a ford through the fast-flowing river. It's not an easy place to get to, being well-hidden down a tiny, very steep lane from the small hamlet of Oare, itself well off the main road.


I must say, Minehead is not one of my favourite places. The seafront is somewhat shabby and run down, and dominated by the huge Butlin's Holiday Camp at one end of the seafront.
However, what it does have, is the terminus for the wonderful West Somerset Heritage Railway.
This is the longest heritage steam and diesel railway in the country, at a little over 20 miles long. It winds its' way through beautiful countryside, stopping at several little villages, until it reached Bishops Lydeard.
It's well worth taking a trip and just relaxing and admiring the views.

Steam engine 'Norton Manor'

The locomotive turntable at Minehead

The town of Porlock lies at the foot of Porlock Hill, too steep for cars towing caravans and huge lorries. If you turn off in the middle of the town and head for the sea, you reach its port of Porlock Weir. Tiny, picturesque, and well worth a visit for a cream tea!


The village of Washford, some 6 miles outside of Minehead, is absolutely nothing to write home about. However, if you take Abbey Road, towards Cleeve Abbey, you find the White Horse Inn, a traditional 17th. century coaching inn. This is where I stayed, and a very delightful stay it was too. The Inn, which has very comfortable rooms, and which serves good food, lies on the bank of the Washford river.

Nother of those delightful little ports that the North Somerset coast seems to abound with, Watchet has a very pleasant walk along the harbour wall, with a wide promenade, and plenty of seats where you can soak up the late evening sun.

'Yankee Jack'

The Ancient Mariner - it is rumoured that Watchet is the place where Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote his epic 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

The gunboat 'Gay Archer'

How different to Minehead! Weston is clean, bright, well cared for, with attractive gardens along the seafront, and an impressive pier. It also has one of the best motorcycle parks I've ever come across!