One of my earliest memories of the coast, is of being taken to Seaton Beach to build stone castles. This would usually be accompanied by some sort of ice cream with a stick, I’m thinking Funny Feet or a Nobbly Bobbly. Then once eaten, the stick and the wrapper would become a flag and we would proceed to throw stones to knock the flag over.
Forty plus years on and I am frequently drawn back to the sea. Whatever the weather, I love the sound of the waves. Sometimes calm and soothing, at other times crashing and angry without remorse, either way they can be hypnotic.
This summer the coast has drawn people from great distances like a magnet. Living just a short drive from the Jurassic Coast, I am lucky enough to be able to pick quiet times to get my fix.
I’m not really one for sunbathing, but one thing that I have come to really appreciate is the huge variety of walks that are possible. The South West Coast Path is well known for its challenging routes up and down from hill top to sea level. However, it is quite possible to enjoy the views without having to exercise so hard.
A number of local towns have fantastic seafront walks that are ideal if you want a flat route. West Bay, Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth and Exmouth have lovely accessible esplanades with nearby parking, helpful benches and coffee along the way.
If you are a bit more adventurous and like the idea of a short walk with a hill top view, then I can recommend Stonebarrow (above Charmouth), Salcombe Hill and Peak Hill (both near Sidmouth). These are lovely short circular walks on their own, or can easily be extended to take in more of the coast path or a larger circular route.
Of course enjoying the Jurassic Coast is not just about walks. This summer I have been lucky enough to have had a go at stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) which has been very popular this year. From a gentle paddle down the River Brit (Bridport) to a more challenging journey across Lyme Bay or out to sea at Sidmouth, once again there are choices for all abilities. Many locations hire paddle boards as well as kayaks, and offer lessons.
If you are not so keen on using your own power at sea, then another lovely thing to do is hire a small boat from Beer. Equipped with an outboard motor you can cruise out to sea and try your hand at catching a few fish along the way. This is a great family activity.
Another exciting activity I remember from my childhood is to join a mackerel fishing trip. It really is quite a thrill to catch you own fish. Depending on the time of year you may end up with far more fish that you know what to do with. These boat trips are run from most harbour towns.
Finally, if you visit the wonderful Jurassic Coast, you can’t beat just sitting and watching the world go by. Best enjoyed while indulging in some of the best fish and chips in the country or a proper ice-cream. Ideally accompanied by a beautiful sunset, but whatever the weather or the season it will not fail to impress.
Clare Mackenney helps run her family business Andrewshayes Holiday Park near Axminster and also writes a popular local blog Flip flops or Wellies which has lots of inspiration for walks and days out in the region.