The hamlet of Lepe is a quiet little place in the early morning. It is peaceful; silent and deserted. It gives the impression that nothing goes on here. The Watch House, built in 1828 to combat smuggling in this section of the coast, stands silently on the shoreline. It had little to watch out for this morning except us.
Lepe has a lot of history. It dates back to Roman times and is said to have been destroyed entirely in a storm in the late 17th Century. Within 50 years, however, it was a hive of industry again. It boasted an Admiralty shipyard, but its harbour had silted up by 1825. Lepe turned instead to the oyster trade for a time. During the Second World War the shoreline was used to build Mulberry Harbour caissons, the giant floating concrete harbour sections that were towed across the channel for the D-Day Landings. The J-Force Assault Group for Juno Beach was based here. If you know what you are looking for there is plenty of wartime evidence lining the shore.
In our ignorance we didn’t know what we were looking for, which is why there are no pictures of it here.
Lepe Lighthouse (or, more officially, the Beaulieu River Millennium Beacon) looked down on our ignorant party with pity. It looks quite old don’t you think? Well it was actually built in 2000 which is why it is the called Millennium Beacon. Yes, we were ignorant of that, too.
Still, the point about this particular early morning in Lepe was that we could be as ignorant as we liked. There was nobody around to see us. We were not ignorant of the fact that it was a very beautiful place to be at this time of day.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Lepe Watch House: N 50° 47.087 W 001° 21.739
- Lepe Lighthouse: N 50° 47.120 W 001° 21.887
Walk #69 Statistics (of which this post forms the first part):
- Date of Walk: 14 April 2014
- Walk #69 total distance covered: 16.91 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 593.35 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!