We had three choices before us. We could either take the coastal path along the beach; the high path up Hengistbury Head; or the inland path around the head. This, for me, was an easy decision. We are coastal walkers and there is only One True Coastal Path of Righteousness as all coastal walkers know. The beach it was.
Our guest walkers today outnumbered us seven to four. They had other ideas, citing the fact that the best views were to be had from the high path over Hengistbury Head. I had no doubt of this, but the high path was not the One True Path! I tried in vain to explain this, becoming more and more anal about the whole thing, until I realised that half of our guest walkers had sneakily headed off up the high path whilst I argued it out with the others. Oh well, if you can’t beat them…
To be fair the high path was mostly only 160 feet off the beach, and up to only 500 feet at its furthest point. And you did get some good views, as promised. There were the beach huts snaking their way along Mudeford Spit.
And as we got higher and further away we had good views of the entire spit. We could see how small the entrance to Christchurch Harbour is compared to the harbour itself.
Behind the Coastguard Station we had good views over to the Isle of Wight and the Needles.
And to the west, in front of us, stretching away into the distance, was Bournemouth.
Hengistbury Head is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as it was a first settled over 12,000 years ago, in the Stone Age. A sign caught my eye. It depicted the defensive “Double Dyke Gates” which existed 2,000 years ago on this site. Imagine seeing this and you plodded around the coast of Britain!
But I still would have preferred to have seen the One True Path of Coastal Righteousness!
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- The One True Path of Coastal Righteousness: N 50° 42.745 W 001° 44.965
- The High Path: N 50° 42.830 W 001° 44.970
- Coastguard Lookout Station: N 50° 42.910 W 001° 45.529
Walk #71 Statistics (of which this post forms the fifth part):
- Date of Walk: 3 May 2014
- Walk #71 total distance covered (excluding ferry): 12.44 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 619.14 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!
What a gorgeous stretch of coastline! I love the view of the colorful beach huts. Put me down as a beach hut nut!
This is a gorgeous stretch of coast, isn’t it. I walked up Hengistbury Head too (not realising you could walk along the beach). The views from the top are wonderful.
Ah that makes me feel better! I was very put out at the time (unreasonably so, I know) not to be on the beach!