Today’s adventure was a pretty small one – lunch in Studland with a quick walk down to the beach and to Fort Henry.
Studland is a small village and peninsula on the southern side of Poole Harbour, home to plenty of heathland, beach and a big sweeping bay bounded on the southern side by Old Harry Rocks. On a beautiful sunny day like today – or at least, this morning – it looks almost like a tropical island, except the sea is a touch more grey than turquoise.
This is South Beach, the smallest and quietest of Studland’s beaches. Knoll Beach is the biggest and the northernmost and rather infamously has a naturist beach. Not sure it’s quite the time of year for them to be out and about on the seafront yet, though – vicious breeze today.
We had lunch at the Bankes Arms, a proper country pub, the sort with highly-sanded floorboards and wooden tables, which welcomes dogs of all sizes and states of muddiness, which serves proper food, with a log fire and apparently is lit by candlelight after dark. I had a mature cheddar baguette which contained more cheese than I’d buy as a week’s supply. And the salad is definitely more than a few limp leaves.
After lunch, we walked down past the back of the Pig On the Beach hotel – a “mellow country house” in the style of – well, I have no idea. I’m not architecturally minded. But it’s got a hint of Harry Potter about it, hasn’t it?
Also plenty of wildlife about:
We carried on down to the cliffs overlooking Middle Beach, from where I set off on my canoeing adventure two years ago. This is home to Fort Henry, a WW2 observation post. They used Studland and Shell Bay as a practise area for the D-Day Landings, with live ammunition and mines for a better recreation of real conditions and this thing was for watching the whole thing from safety. Handy thing to practice – they learnt that their amphibious tanks didn’t float quite as well as they hoped they would, since several of them sank and at least two are still down here, and that they would have to release them quite a bit closer to the shore in the real thing. Studland was also used as a decoy, diverting Nazi bombs that would otherwise have showered Poole and Bournemouth.
I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of Fort Henry. But I did take a photo through its slit, showing Poole and Bournemouth on the other side of the bay. It’s not quite Miami but it’s a little bit more built-up and urban than I’d expected it to look.
And then, of course, there’s our old friend, Old Harry Rocks. I’ll have to go back when the weather’s a bit less unreliable for a walk.