Posts Tagged ‘Hengistbury Head’

Hengistbury Head

February 17, 2016

Most Januarys we take a trip down to Hengistbury Head. It’s a place that offers a good range of scenery in quite a small area plus a couple of cafes if you need to wet your whistle. And out of season you can park all day for £1.50 which seems pretty reasonable.


There’s the sandy headland and the beach. We were not alone but it isn’t that crowded.

A view over Christchurch Harbour. The Run is the fast moving exit of the River Avon, between the black buildings. They are miles apart for walkers – 50 yards or so across the estuary.



Looking down from Hengistbury Head to the groyne at the very end of the headland. Beyond we can see the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

The beach hut spit, looking towards The Run.


These beach huts are expensive bits of real estate. If you want to buy one don’t expect any change out of £100 000 and you’ll probably have to pay more. For that you get a hut with permission to stay there and access to water and toilets. Access is by foot from the car park (or on the land train) or by ferry across from Mudeford. Cars are not allowed.

People do not frighten away birds. These are, I believe, turnstones.



And so, too, was the drink of hot chocolate, back at the car park.




Boxing Day – 2001

December 26, 2014

For a Boxing Day post I’m looking back to the Boxing Day of 2001. Back then our children were still single. We had no grandchildren and clearly we had no other visitors on December 26th. We went out for the day to enjoy some stunningly good weather at Hengistbury Head.


Just look at that amazing sky. What wonderful weather for the end of December.


Our children walking on the beach.


Thirteen years on – to today – and activities like this are not on the agenda. Son and daughter will be with us by lunchtime, bringing wife and husband respectively and three grandchildren – and can I be the proud grandfather and say they really are grand children.

I feel so lucky to have my descendants around me.

Mallard at Hengistbury

January 14, 2014

It is some time since I have visited anything to do with railways, although Christmas presents, given and received, concern visits to steam railways so I have things to look forward to. But for now, I have had to make do with the best I can find. And recently, on a glorious visit to the Dorset Coast, I did come across a train, albeit not a railway train and not steam hauled. The train in question was the land train that runs from the Hengistbury Head car park and out along the Mudeford spit. It’s not a train I’d use normally, for we are able to walk, but it is an interesting train with a mixed rake of vehicles behind the engine to include open and closed passenger carriages and a goods truck. I enjoy seeing it. This January, I just took a photo of the loco.


As we can see, I was taking this shot into the sun, but I can be amused at the choice of name of this vehicle – Mallard. I have no idea what vehicle this loco is based on, but it has coachwork to make it look a bit like a steam loco, which it is not. But the name is borrowed from the fastest steam engine ever. That was one of Nigel Gresley’s class of streamlined pacifics, built for service between Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh – the one called Mallard.

This rather cute little train doesn’t look a bit like its namesake.

But it is cute – the whole train looks cute too. This photo, with more open carriages, was taken in January 2013.


As you can see, you get a nice ride on the train and I have used it, when we went there with an elderly aunt. But walking gives us the chance to stop and enjoy the bird life in Christchurch Harbour.

Goose Barnacles

January 6, 2013

A few days ago my wife and I were walking along the beach under the cliffs at Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth. It was a beautiful sunny day – in fact a fine way to welcome in 2013. From quite some distance our eyes were drawn to a piece of sea carried debris on the littoral zone. It bobbed up and down a bit as larger waves tried to wash it further up the beach. We wondered what on earth it could be.

It proved to be, when we got there, a piece of sponge foam – probably rather a nasty piece of stuff to have floating in the sea. At least, that was what we thought. It was man made and surely was not going to do sea creatures any good. But it didn’t take much examination to discover a big cluster of amazing shelled creatures. They were beautiful and we had no idea what they were. Another pair of people joined us. They, too, thought they were beautiful, but had no idea as to just what they were.

‘We’ll have to look them up when we get home’, we decided. But first, some pictures.


That’s the beach and cliffs at Hengistbury Head. You can see Bournemouth in the background and our co- interested folk studying the piece of sponge foam.


I was going to say that there was a cluster of clams. I thought they might be clams, but I was wrong. So it’s a cluster of critters!


And there’s just a few of them, firmly embedded into the foam by their rather worm like ‘foot’.

They are goose or gooseneck barnacles. I’ve borrowed a short paragraph from the BBC nature site at

Goose barnacles are odd-looking crustaceans usually found in quite deep water. Occasionally they can be found on debris that has become dislodged from the sea bed and washed up on the shore. They are found in oceans the world over, except in Arctic regions.

Although I am quoting from a web site, actually, a book proved much more useful in the initial identification. Using the power of the web can be very hard when you have no idea at all what you are looking for.

As a former goose keeper, I can see where the name of these comes from. There is something goose-like about the shape. Apparently our forebears thought they were some kind of larval stage in the life of geese! That would have been the barnacle goose, of course.

I had always thought that barnacles were rather dull looking little things that clung to rocks – a kind of small version of the limpet. I was not aware of this wonderful creature – the goose barnacle.