Where do I start when discussing the beaches of the United Kingdom?! There are so many and they are all unique and beautiful! My dear friend kindly arranged her affairs so that we could visit and walk as many of them as possible during my stay with her. Here are a few that we visited:
- In Devon:
- Jacob’s Ladder, Sidmouth
- Beer Beach
- Branscombe Beach
- Exmouth Beach
- In Dorset:
- Weymouth Beach
- Portland Beach
- Chesil Beach
- Monmouth Beach and The Cobb, Lyme Regis
- In Cornwall:
- East Looe Beach
Many of these beaches are part of what is called The Jurassic Coast. The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. It stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, and is 96 miles (155 km) long.
Parts of the Jurassic Coast are also part of England’s Coastal Path. The Coastal Path is a walking path that when complete will will follow the coastline of England and be 2,795 miles (4,500 km) in length.
One of my favorite beach walks is Branscombe beach. Branscombe is a small town located in a valley between beautiful forests and majestic cliffs. The walk starts with a stile gate entrance off a narrow village road onto a path up in the beautiful valley above the beach. The path leads into a forest heavy with the scent of garlic from the wild garlic lined paths. The beach is not visible until after a couple of kilometers of walking through the valley and forest. When the path ends at the top of a clearing on the cliffs, the view is breathtaking!
Then carefully walk down the overgrown steps from the top of the cliff towards the beach covered in small round stones made smooth by the crashing waves and surrounded by the red iron infused cliffs.
After enjoying the surf for a while, walk down to the other end of the beach and up to the other side of the valley.
Follow the path through the valley past fields of sheep and cows into a thatched roof village with beautiful gardens and a soaring medieval church into a cozy little pub with original wood beams and a roaring fireplace to where the locals bring their dogs who are all sweet and well behaved.
This is an invigorating walk that seems to transport one back in time to simpler days when all that was required was fresh air, good land, and the camaraderie of the neighbors from the town.
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” – Rachel Carson