In winter, the beach feels a little more wild and, somehow, a little more restorative. This is Hengistbury Head, tucked into the eastern corner of Dorset, England. Long and quiet, I always love going there to walk, talk, listen to the pebbles as they clunk and crunch underfoot, and generally get very windswept hair and rosey cheeks. After a lot of wet weather, bits of the Dorset coast keep falling down. It’s worse in the west of the county, but all along the bottom of the Head there were little piles of sandy rubble. The beach at Hengistbury is unrelentingly pebbly. Some of the pebbles are a little more eye catching, so I took a few snaps, trying to hold as still as possible and, closer to the water, trying not to get crept up on by a wave. The black one is actually a piece of wood. It looks like it had been in the sea a very long time, and was hard like a rock. Since bringing it home (with ideas to paint on it) the outer layers have started to peel off as it’s dried – which was a bit of a surprise. I wonder how it got to that rock-like state?I love watching and listening to waves. It’s nice to see how each one breaks, how far they clamber up the sand, and what patterns they leave behind in the pebbles. Looking back the way we had wandered, we could just about spot Bournemouth, hidden far away in the mist. The different shapes and patterns of footsteps in the sand always seem interesting. Meandering, pitter-pattering, striding, running – they all have a little story… The green of the seaweed looked brighter in amongst the colours of the rocks and sand and sea (and grey sky). Little flecks of purple were ribboned along the top of some. After walking till our legs ached, we retreated into the cafe by the car park, warming up with cups of tea and slices of chocolate brownie – hair: windswept, cheeks: rosey.
Oh, I really do like to be beside the seaside.