71h – Southbourne

Southbourne marks the eastern boundary of a piece of promenade that stretches about 10 miles west in a large curve, all the way to Poole Harbour.  The entire stretch is home to numerous small terraces of beach huts.

Southbourne Beach HutsBeach huts.  We walk by a lot of them.  I kind of get them.  When I see three generations of one family spread out in front of one it looks quite idyllic in a homely sort of way.  The kids play with their buckets and spades on the beach while their parents half watch and half doze underneath their newspapers.  The grandparents potter around and are content to see their grandchildren growing up in the warm sunshine.

I kind of get that, although I’m not sure it’s for me.

What I don’t get is the activity in the cold seasons.  As we walk in the bracing winter winds, we pass families resolutely ensconced outside their huts.  They sit there, these Beach Hut Die Hards, puffed up with multi-layered knitwear, making cups of tea.  They sit on brightly coloured deck chairs in the grey gloom of the seascape.  They are surrounded by an empty ghost town of boarded up huts stretching away in the distance to either side of them, waiting for the winter to pass and for the next summer to come.

I don’t get that, although I accept these people probably watch us walking along with our boots and backpacks with equal bemusement.   I am sure they sip at their nice warm mugs of tea and are grateful for the shelter their huts provide.

Southbourne’s beach huts didn’t fare too well in the winter storms of 2013-2014.  Die Hard Beach Hut Families – Beware!  Sitting outside your beach hut in your knitwear during winter is a bad idea.  Cups of tea may be the answer to a lot of problems, but they aren’t very helpful when it comes to cliff falls!

Southbourne Beach Huts Destroyed by StormsIf you look closely in the rubble you may see a bit of tattered knitted clothing and the handle of a teacup poking up out of the chaos.

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Southbourne Cliff Slide:  N 50° 43.252 W 001° 48.635

Walk #71 Statistics (of which this post forms the eighth part):

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3 Responses to 71h – Southbourne

  1. Ooh-er, I wouldn’t want to be sitting under one of those cliff falls. I like the look of beach huts. I like the idea of beach huts. But I don’t want to be stuck going to the same little box every holiday time.

  2. A portable heated pop-up beach hut that folds away neatly into a car boot might be a good idea though… RH

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