Overstrand : Narrow shore with a steep edge

Beach at Overstrand


Pebbles are beneath, but we stand softly
On them, as on sand, and watch the lacy edge
of the swift sea.

Which patterns and with glorious music the
Sands and round stones — It talks ever
Of new patterns.

And by the cliff-edge, there, the oakwood throws
A shadow deeper to watch what new thing
Happens at the marge.

Ivor Gurney, Selected Poems (edited by George Walter) (J. M. Dent 1996).

I came across this poem last March whilst staying in Tewkesbury. Until then I had wondered about the name of the hotel in Overstrand, north Norfolk, where I had booked to stay a couple of nights last week.

Despite growing up in Norwich just 22 miles south of Overstrand I had never actually visited this neighbouring resort of Cromer.

Overstrand lies on the North Norfolk coast between Cromer and Sidestrand. It’s name derives from ‘narrow shore with a steep edge’. There is a nice walk along the cliff-top path from Cromer which passes the old lighthouse and the golf course. Like it’s larger neighbour, it was once a genteel Edwardian holiday destination – but today has an air of faded grandeur.

Lord and Lady Battersea had a holiday home called The Pleasaunce built here in 1897. It was designed for them by Sir Edwin Lutyens and hosted a number of literary visitors including Arthur Conan Doyle and George Meredith.

Winston Churchill used to stay at the Sea Marge Hotel in the village and this may have provided the inspiration for Jack Higgins’ novel The Eagle Has Landed – which is set in North Norfolk (see Blakeney) and concerns an attempt by German paratroopers to assassinate the English PM. While in residence Churchill had elaborate arrangements in place with Cromer Post Office in case the grand fleet needed mobilising.” Source

The Sea Marge

The Sea Marge Hotel, Overstrand

Sea Marge front

Sea Marge Front

Sea View

Sea View from The Sea Marge

Sea Marge Lounge

The Sea Marge Lounge

Sea Marge Gallery

Gallery overlooking the bar at The Sea Marge

Winston Room

Sir Winston Churchill above the Fireplace in the Winston Room

Pleasaunce front

Pleasuance (now a Christian Retreat and Holiday Centre) Front

Pleasuance entrance

Pleasuance Side Entrance

Side entrance Pleasuance

Pleasuance Entrance

Lutyens church

The Methodist Church at Overstrand designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens

Church door

The Church Door


Crowdless Clovelly

Clovelly info board

The famous and picturesque village of Clovelly on the North Devon coast is quite unique. Its streets are too steep for cars and in the past donkeys were used as the main form of transport. Donkeys are still kept at Clovelly but no longer used for heavy loads. Instead these days all goods are transported by sledge.

Clovelly Sledge transportation

Clovelly Sledge Transport

There is a huge car park at the top of the village and you enter Clovelly through the big visitor centre containing a ticket office  (yes, there’s a £6.50 charge to park and visit the village) and a shop selling everything from postcards and books of all kinds to sweets and souvenirs, a cafe and an audio-visual film show. The village is owned by one family – read more about the history of the village ownership here.

Looking up cobbled street Clovelly

The main street in Clovelly

Down the main street in Clovelly

I suppose the poor weather meant that the usual Clovelly crowds kept away and I had the village practically to myself. There was a small coach party of German tourists arriving at the same time as me but we soon spread out in the narrow streets and passages and shops and inns and around the harbour so my visit was not in any way spoiled by the famous crowds that I had heard of.

Clovelly Quay

The tide’s out at the quay

I decided to walk steadily down the main street and sit down for a while on the 14thC quay to study the map (so long as it stayed dry) and work my way slowly back to Hobby Drive and from there regain the car park.

The tide is out at Clovelly Harbour

Clovelly and Lifeboat Station

Down at the harbour the tide was out but it looked as if there is still some kind of fishing industry being carried out here. The map and leaflet list all the places to see and I managed see/visit them all.

Crazy Kate's Cottage Clovelly

Crazy Kate’s Cottage [The oldest cottage in Clovelly, named after a fisherman’s widow]

Temple Bar Cottage Clovelly

Temple Bar Cottage [here the street passes under the kitchen and dining room of a cottage]

Oberammergau Cottage Clovelly

Oberammergau Cottage [decorated with wood carvings from Germany]

Clovelly Museum and signs

Kingsley Museum and Shop [find out more about Charles Kingsley and his times in Clovelly]

Rex Whistler's Clovelly poster

Rex Whistler’s ‘Clovelly’ toile de jouy fabric in the museum

Toile de Jouy

Close-up of the fabric

Exterior 15th century fisherman's cottage

Fisherman’s Cottage [see how a fisherman lived in the 1930s]

Queen Victoria Fountain

Queen Victoria Fountain [a stone fountain built as a monument to Queen Victoria]

Mount Pleasant Clovelly

Mount Pleasant [a grassy picnic spot with war memorial and spectacular views]

Hobby Drive poster

Hobby Drive Poster

Hobby Drive Walk info

Hobby Drive Walk

Bay from Hobby drive

Bideford Bay from Hobby Drive

Rain was threatening on the morning of my visit but it held off until I’d JUST begun my Hobby Drive walk. Then the heavens opened and reluctantly I gave up the walk and headed off to Braunton and shelter and sustenance at Squires fish and chip restaurant.

Cabo da Roca or Promontorium Magnum : The Edge of the World

The highlight of the next day’s walking was to visit the Cabo Do Roca – the westernmost point of the European mainland. Called Promontorium Magnum by the Romans and before the Age of the Explorers was thought to be the Edge of the World.

Cabo da Roca sign

But before heading off on the next sector of our walk we spent a relaxing morning at The Sao Saturnino. Breakfast isn’t served until after 9am and we also wanted to wander around the maze of buildings and the gardens. Here are some pictures of this beautiful location.

Entrance Saturnino

Sao Saturnino Entrance

Saturnino library

Sao Saturnino Library

Convento sea views

Sea Views from The Sao Saturnino

Leaving the C da SS

Leaving The Convento da Sao Saturnino

So, late morning we headed off from the Convento, through the village of Azoia, to the Cabo da Roca. “The phrase that is most attached to this outcrop is ‘where the land ends and the sea begins’ which was coined by Luis de Camoes, the 16th century Portuguese poet.” [Route Brochure].

Approaching Cabo da Roca

Approaching the Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

Cabo de Roca Monument

The Monument at Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca sign

What it says on the Monument

The Atlantic Ocean at Cabo da Roca

The Atlantic Ocean at Cabo da Roca

The Lighthouse at Cabo da Roca

The Lighthouse at Cabo da Roca

The lighthouse was built in 1772 and stands 144 metres above the cape which itself stands 140 metres above sea level.

Our paths continued, with some diversions due to the January storms, mostly along the coastline to the famous Praia Grande. PG is one of the largest stretches of sandy beach on the Portuguese coast. The name means Big Beach and is extremely popular  with surfers all year round. Our hotel was perfectly situated right on the beach and our room overlooked the pounding waves and the hotel’s huge 100 metre swimming pool.

Arribas Hotel

Along the Way – Forts

As you will have seen our first day’s walk was not too long and followed the Portuguese coastline from Cascais to Guincho. On the first day the walking distance is always a bit shorter than most others because it is your opportunity to meet with the Route Manager and discuss the route, any last minute changes and exchange mobile ‘phone numbers.

Santa Marta Lighthouse, Cascais

The Santa Marta Lighthouse near Cascais

We spent a sunny Sunday morning in a park with Ana, our manager, as there was a big 10k race going on right outside our hotel meaning that access was made rather difficult. Ana had to explain to us that very severe storms last January had caused much damage along the route and some of the paths were now impassable. She had done her homework though, and walked the whole length trying to re-jig the route in just a couple of places. Luckily she was also  on the end of the ‘phone when we needed a bit of clarification on a couple of days.

Boca do Inferno 1

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno 2

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno 3

Boca do Inferno and Guia Lighthouse

Our route that morning was busy and ran parallel with the coast road. Lots of walkers, families, joggers and cyclists shared the route with us. We passed lighthouses and dramatic coastal features and were able to take a brief break at The Forte de Sao Jorge de Oitavos. Not far from Cascais is the Boca do Inferno or Hell’s Mouth. “This is a natural chasm and the sea water has access to the very bottom of the chasm so when the sea is unsettled the effect is quite impressive!” [From our Route Booklet] Even when the sea is pretty calm the effect is still pretty impressive! There is a  viewing area just down from the path.

Forte St Jorge

Cabo Roso Lighthouse

The Cabo Roso Lighthouse

Probably about midway between Cascais and Guincho is the The Forte de Sao Jorge de Oitavos. It’s a handy visitor’s centre along the coast and has exhibitions and displays as well as a sheltered courtyard out of the wind. It was built as a defensive fortification against possible landings by pirates or invaders between 1642 and 1648.

Approaching the Fortaleza

Approaching the Fortaleza [yellow building]

The shortish walk meant that we arrived at our most luxurious hotel The Fortaleza do Guincho in the early afternoon giving us plenty of time to relax and read enjoy a late lunch and later an afternoon tea on the sunny terrace overlooking the dramatic waves and nearby beaches followed by a bar meal dinner in the sumptuous lounge area. We needed this rest and recuperation after the long day of travelling the day before and the next day’s walk – the longest of the trip.

Afternoon Tea at the Fortaleza

The much-appreciated Afternoon Tea at The Fortaleza

The Best Way to See the World is on Foot! Sintra and The Portuguese Coast Footloose Holiday

ATG bus

In June last year my sister and I took our first ATG Footloose Holiday in Alsace. We were so impressed with the organisation and our own walking ability that we decided to book an even longer trip this year. We spent last week in Portugal doing the Sintra and Portuguese Footloose Walk.

Here is the text of the itinerary!

Cascais sea front

Cascais Beach and Sea Front

“Day 1 • Arrive in Cascais. A fashionable resort with a marina, smart shops, elegant restaurants and one of the best (and cleanest!) surfing beaches in Europe.”

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno [Mouth of Hell] (between Cascais and Guincho)

Day 2 • Cascais to Guincho. An outstanding walk along the coast, passing lighthouses and fascinating cliff formations with dramatic coastal views, to Guincho Beach, one of Portugal’s best windsurfing locations (6.5 miles, 3.5 hrs).”

View from Peninha

View from Peninha

Day 3 • Guincho to Azoia. Follow coastal paths before heading inland into the Serra de Sintra. Opportunity to visit the interesting Convento dos Capuchos (Capuchin monastery) (+2 hrs), before returning through the Serra up to the spectacularly situated 14th century Peninha Chapel. Paths then lead down to your hotel near the coast (4.9 or 11.7 miles, 3 or 6 hrs).”

Cabo da Roca

Day 4 • Azoia to Praia Grande. A cliff-top walk with spectacular views leads to Cabo (Cape) da Roca, the most westerly point of Portugal – and mainland Europe. Continue inland through the vineyards of the famous ‘Colares’ wine before returning to the coast and past dramatic cliff formations to the beach of Praia Grande, with its world- famous swirling waves (7.2 miles, 4 hrs).”

Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar


The Church of Sao Mamede

Day 5 • Praia Grande to Colares. Continue along the coast to the small seaside resort of Azenhas do Mar, with its pretty whitewashed houses perched on a cliff. From here the coastal path continues, past more fine beaches, then heads inland to the curious church of São Mamede, ‘protector of the animals,’ which were freely allowed to enter the chapel until recent times. Minor roads then lead to Colares, famous for its wine (6.9 or 9.9 miles, 3 or 4.5 hrs).”


Monserrate Palace and Gardens

Day 6 • Colares to Sintra. Walk through small hamlets and vineyards before joining wide forest paths passing through the Serra to the ‘Romantic’ Palace of Monserrate, with exotic gardens and follies. Continue through the Serra and a short section of road brings you to the arch of the old west entrance to Sintra (6.9 miles, 3.5 hrs).”

Sintra from the Moorish Castle

Sintra from the Moorish Castle

Day 7 • Free day in Sintra. Described by Byron as a ‘glorious Eden’, and boasting UNESCO World Heritage status, Sintra is a visitor’s paradise, with magnificent palaces, gardens, galleries, churches, museums, and cobbled, medieval streets lined with boutique shops and cafés.”

Ana at Lawrence's Hotel, Sintra

Ana Our Lovely Five Star Tour Manager at Lawrence’s Hotel, Sintra

Overbecks to Bolt Head : a Devon Coastal Walk

Each year at this time when we visit Devon we spend an afternoon having the cobwebs blown away by walking from Overbecks to Bolt Head by coastal path and returning on a higher path a total walk of only 4 or 5 miles but sufficient to enjoy different coastal views and work up an appetite for dinner! We are on holiday after all.

Back in 1972 my husband, The Optimist, spent one heavenly summer working as the male assistant warden at Salcombe Youth Hostel. It was  obviously a fantastic experience for him and he has relived it ever since, so much so that I now feel as if I worked there too. Besides the work itself which was fairly mundane, he enjoyed snorkelling and swimming and diving and generally messing about in boats and the sea through one long warm sunny summer … yes, those were the days! I don’t think a single drop of rain fell on South Devon that summer. I must say, that having seen this Youth Hostel, I do think it is located in one of the most idyllic locations imaginable.

The Tower Bedroom – reserved for the male assistant warden

So, as I say, each year when we spend a week in October/November in Devon we make an excursion to the Salcombe area and in particular to the National Trust estate of Overbecks Sharpitor. The gardens stretch steeply down the cliff face from the house and the influence of the local microclimate has lead to a singular garden of luscious tropical vegetation.

A hidden paradise of subtropical gardens and eclectic collections…
An exotic and fascinating hidden treasure perched high on the cliffs above Salcombe. Explore the banana garden, meander through the woodland, or relax beneath the palms. Walk along the coast path and soak up the spectacular panorama across miles of beautiful coastline and estuary.”

So, walk along the coast path and soak up the panorama we did. A few paces down from the Overbecks car park there is a sign inviting one to join the footpath to Starehole Bay. This clearly defined path clings to the cliff face and in each direction are wonderful views down the ria (a tidal inlet with no major fresh water source flowing through it) to Salcombe or out, over the bar :

This shallow sandbank, evoked by Tennyson in his poem ‘Crossing the Bar’, lies across the ria’s mouth and is barely 60cm (23 inches) below water on an ebb tide. Devon’s worst life boat loss occurred here on 22 October 1916, when the ‘William & Emma’ capsized rowing back from a rescue.” (NT Website)

to the English Channel.

Salcombe and Ria from the lower footpath

Salcombe and the Ria from The South West Coastal Path

The path is dotted with handily placed seats upon which one may rest and enjoy the view but last Friday there was a misty rain blowing so we tended to keep walking.

Official Long Distance Footpaths are indicated by an Acorn on the sign posts

Starehole Bay from the NT site :

“On calm days you’ll see the dark patch of seaweed beneath the north waters of the cove, marking the Hezogin Cecile wreck. This grain clipper ran aground off Soar Mill Cove on 24 April 1936. For seven weeks the ship lay stranded whilst sightseers in their thousands lined the cliffs, holding their noses from the stench of rotting wheat. The ship was smashed in a July gale after being towed to Starehole Bay.”

From Starehole Bay there is a steep a path up to Bolt Head and from there it’s possible to join the SouthWest Coast Path and return to Overbecks along the cliff top.

Starehole Bay

Bolt Head from the NT site :

People have been farming at Bolt Head for centuries and the cliffs are dotted with the remains of field boundaries and animal enclosures, some dating back to the Bronze Age. Today, Dartmoor ponies graze on the cliffs, preventing blackthorn and gorse from smothering the slopes. Look out for grey bush crickets and their great green cousins (the largest in the British Isles). Fulmars, gulls, cormorants and shags bred on the cliff-faces. The headland was the site of a Second World War lookout until it was demolished in 2007, and is also a stop over for migrating swallows and house martins.”

Funnily we didn’t see a Dartmoor pony on Dartmoor this year – just  cattle. We did see the cliff top grazing ponies at Bolt Head, though.

The cliff top path descends again into Starehole Bay before climbing up again for the final mile and a half or so back to Overbecks. There’s a tempting sign very strategically placed to encourage one into the tea shop (also the Youth Hostel dining room) but we had a table booked for dinner so didn’t linger for refreshments on this occasion.

Time for a Cuppa?

Final view of Overbecks and Salcombe from the SW Coastal Path

Literary Lyme – from Jane Austen to Little Pig Robinson

I’ve visited Lyme Regis on at least one occasion every year since I first came down to Branscombe in 2007. On several of the previous visits I’ve gone fossiling. Needless to say the five-year olds on these tours found many fossils and I found never found any. Of course, they are a lot nearer to the ground. That’s my excuse, anyway.

This year on the recommendation of one my readers I’d booked to go on a Literary Lyme Walking Tour on the theme of Jane Austen in Lyme Regis.

I should mention here that the weather on this August Bank Holiday Monday was simply appalling – wind, rain and high seas. This was such a shame at the end of summer and of most people’s holidays.

The arrangement was to meet at the anchor in the middle of town where the main shopping street drops down to the sea wall.

On a previous visit to the Town Museum I had noticed that Beatrix Potter had written and illustrated one of her longer children’s books here : Little Pig Robinson. I asked Natalie if she could pick out any of the locations featured in this book. She did and I made a note of these for future reference.

I had thought that I could probably work out a Jane Austen walk for myself using Google and Caroline Sanderson’s book A Rambling Fancy: in the footsteps of Jane Austen which has a chapter on Jane in Lyme but to have my own private and knowledgeable guide proved well worthwhile.

Using copies of old prints of the town Natalie Manifold (who is Literary Lyme) began our JA tour explaining the origin and history of the famous Cobb. The dates connected with The Cobb will prove to be important when we eventually arrive there!

Photo taken on a previous visit when the weather was as it should be!

Our first stop was just a few paces away on Coombe Street where the old post office stood. It’s now Old Lyme Guest House but a plaque on the wall records the PO fact and the old letterbox is still in situ.

It’s said that at this very box Jane mailed her letters (single sheet and postage paid by the recipient) to her sister Cassandra after the latter had left Jane in Lyme in order to accompany other family members to Weymouth.

After a quick nod to Banksy (an origami crane with goldfish) we headed up Sherborne Lane. From there we arrived at Broad Street, Lyme’s main thoroughfare. Our next ‘Jane’ location was the now disused Three Cups Hotel which was Hiscott’s Boarding House in JA’s time and where she initially stayed on her visit to Lyme Regis. (Incidentally, it’s also the hotel where General Eisenhower stayed whist the D-Day Landings were being planned in 1945.) Jane also stayed a few doors down at Pyne House after several members of her family upped sticks and moved on to Weymouth.

A couple of steps from Pyne House Natalie showed me an old print of Lyme :

View from Pyne House (courtesy of Lyme Regis Museum)

The same view on Monday 27 August 2012

A walk along Marine Parade took us past a couple of blue-painted cottages named Harville and Benwick. Built after the publication of ‘Persuasion’ (the Austen novel in which Lyme features) they were named following Francis Palgrave‘s mistaken identification of these buildings as the homes of Captains Harville and Benwick. Natalie showed me the more likely candidates for these homes a little further along the Parade.

Harville and Benwick Cottages from The Jane Austen Garden

There’s a rather overgrown garden dedicated to Jane Austen but apparently all the references are wrong so it has been rather left to run to seed.

Finally, we walked along The Cobb. Not on the upper, exposed part but below at road level, and we studied the three sets of steps which have puzzled Jane Austen fans for some time. The set of “Gyn Steps” were not built until after Jane Austen’s time,

the second set called Granny’s Teeth were thought by many to have brought about Louisa’s fall

but Natalie maintains and insists (supported by a reading from the very passage in ‘Persuasion’) that these are the very steps from which Captain Wentworth failed to catch Louisa as jumped from the Cobb.

The walk ended here but we made our way back together to our starting point. A huge waved had blown right over the Cobb and soaked us both thoroughly and much as I would have liked to have investigated the Little Pig Robinson locations I decided that enough was enough and such pleasures must wait another day!

Bring me Sunshine … or at least Lunch in the Sun Terrace Restaurant

Small wonder Eric Morecambe was wanting people to bring him sunshine. We didn’t see much of it on our day out at the seaside in Morecambe yesterday. In fact when my train drew into the station more people were getting on the train than were getting off it. Not deterred, my friend A and I headed for the seafront and the recommended traditional Italian Ice Cream Parlour Brucciani’s.

Taking us back to the “good old days”

The Lavs are free now! (To Brucciani’s customers)

Much of Morecambe has seen better days but it has such great potential for revival with its Winter Gardens, the Platform Theatre in the former Midland Railway Station, cafes like Lewis’s and Brucciani, the star of the show beautifully restored Art Deco Midland Hotel and the lovely Stone Jetty where ferries tied up in days gone by. It’s such a shame about the weather and the credit crunch hasn’t helped either. We noticed lots of new sculpture, most of it taking the form of seabirds, and a path from the front to the station called Flock of Words.

The Winter Gardens

The Midland Hotel

One of the Tern Project Sculptures

After a quick photo shoot with Eric Morecambe we visited one shop on the front: Woods of Morecambe. We made a few purchases and then battled against the wind and rain to walk back along the promenade  and around the front of the hotel before taking our places in the Sun Terrace Restaurant of The Midland Hotel for lunch.

For starters how could we resist Frank Benson’s Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps with Toasted Sourdough as we sat looking out at the tide rushing in over the bay itself?   For afters we both chose the Selection of Lewis of Morecambe ice creams.  I must say the Selection of Great British Cheeses with Fruit Chutney and Home Made Chorley Cakes sounded very tempting, had I not filled up on the previous two courses. True to its name as we dawdled through our meal, chatting and savouring the food and the experience, slowly the sun did appear and by the time we reluctantly felt we should leave the sun was out and blue sky appearing through the cloud cover. On a future visit Afternoon Tea on the Sun Terrace is definitely high on my list.

A quick visit to the Tourist Office (for postcards) also in the former Midland Railway Station was followed by a stroll along the Stone Jetty which looked to have a nice old cafe which itself is topped by a lighthouse. The views from Morecambe seafront and the Jetty are amazing and worth the visit alone. All of the Lake District mountains and the mysterious sands and channels of Morecambe Bay fill the picture.

The Stone Jetty

Some of the postcards

All too soon it was time to go our separate ways and we returned via the Flock of Words footpath to Morecambe’s modern railway station – just 2 empty platforms these days: even the ticket office was closed. But Morecambe has lots going for it and if it can weather the storm of the present tough financial times I foresee a return to a form of former glory.

Sun and blue sky appear as we turn to leave

Some Suffolk Curiosities

I’ve moved on down to Aldeburgh a lovely little seaside town on the Suffolk coast. For a coastal resort it’s a funny place – it kind of turns its back on the sea – as walking down the High Street you would not believe that beyond the shops on the east side is a beach and fishing shore.

A Landmark

Aldeburgh has a local Landmark Trust property. It’s about a mile out of town and it’s a Martello Tower.

“This is the largest and most northerly of the chain of towers put up by the Board of Ordnance to keep out Napoleon. Built in the shape of a quatrefoil for four heavy guns, nearly a million bricks were used in its construction. It stands at the root of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the River Alde and the sea, a few hundred yards from Aldeburgh.” From The Landmark Trust website.

To me the exterior has very little appeal, the beach nearby is very stony and rocky and it’s a long old trudge from the town but I understand it’s possible to reach the roof from inside so there is somewhere outside to sit in privacy and enjoy a sea view so maybe it has something going for it after all.

A Purpose-Built Edwardian Resort

Just a couple of miles north of Aldeburgh is the quirky resort of Thorpeness. It seems to be having a revival these days.  When I visited one summer a couple of decades ago the place seemed rather quiet and run down but today children (and some adults) were enjoying rowing and sailing on The Meare and the shops and pub seemed buzzing.

Thorpeness was the brainchild of Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie the owner of nearby Sizewell Hall. He bought an area of coast and dunes and in 1910 set about establishing a purpose-built resort based on the fishing hamlet of Thorpe. He changed the name to Thorpeness. Like Aldeburgh Thorpeness also turns its back on the sea.

The Beach at Thorpeness

The main attraction for children and adults alike seems to be The Meare a manmade lake covering 64 acres with scattered islands and at no point deeper than one metre. The islands feature playhouses and characters from children’s books, in particular Peter Pan – Ogilvie was a friend of J M Barrie. The Meare opened in 1913 and many of the boats are 100 years old!

I had a leaflet outlining a trail around the village which included the Golf Club, the famous House in the Clouds, the windmill and the other eccentric and quaint seaside houses and cottages. It was good to follow the trail and see that the village was experiencing a resurgence in popularity since my last visit. Read the newspaper article that inspired me to revisit Thorpeness here.

The Former Water Tower – The House in The Clouds

A Clapperboard Holiday Bungalow – Thorpeness

Tudor Style Holiday Home

The Almshouses, Thorpeness

The Boat House with Clock Tower

Modern Sculptures

We missed many of our ports-of-call on our brief visit to the Suffolk coast this year but we did manage to get to one of our favourite places – Snape Maltings. This year we joined a River Trip on the Enchantress for a 45 minute cruise down the River Alde to Iken church and back. The highlight was seeing a family of harbour seals.

But on dry land I love to re-visit The Family of Man by Barbara Hepworth. It’s  such an evocative sculpture standing between the great concert hall of the Maltings and the acres of reed beds that so characterise this estuarine part of Suffolk.

Snape Maltings, [Barbara] Hepworth, Family of Man, 1970, group of three from the larger series, presented in memory of Benjamin Britten, wonderfully sited. The abstract – totemic appearance of the figures further suggests a non- western – timeless iconography, looking back to Hepworth’s earlier interest in Mexican sculpture and pointing to the universality of sculptural language across cultures.” ( http://www.racns.co.uk/trails/Ipswich_Southwold.pdf )

Then on the beach between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness is Maggi Hambling which I also love to revisit – but didn’t actually fit in on this visit. I was last there in February 2010.

Aldeburgh, Beach, Scallop to celebrate Benjamin Britten, Maggi Hambling, with Sam and Dennis Pegg unveiled 8 November 2003, I HEAR THOSE VOICES THAT WILL NOT BE DROWNED; fine tribute, intensely disliked by most locals.”  ( http://www.racns.co.uk/trails/Ipswich_Southwold.pdf ) How strange is that?