Happy new year.
I am excited to find out what a new decade will bring. Since 2010 we have gained two new daughter in laws, two grandchildren and a new cat. Having been an only child I love being part of a larger family.
I have also started the next stage of my life. I retired from work at the age of 65 almost three years ago and now have time for new interests including blogging. One of the unexpected bonuses from this has been making cyber friends around the world. It is fun getting your newsletters and sharing the events large and small of your daily lives.
2020 is the Chinese year of the rat. Unfortunately this may not be a good omen. To paraphrase Robbie Burns, the plans of rodents and men often go wrong. We had planned a walk to try to take a photograph of the last sunset of the decade as it set over Clevedon pier.
However when our walking group met at the Salthouse car park close to the Clevedon sea front on New Year’s eve the sky was looking very grey and the Welsh coast in the stock photo above was shrouded in mist.
Clevedon is a small town at the mouth of the Severn estuary about 17 miles from Bristol. The grade 1 listed pier was built so that rail passengers could catch a ferry to South Wales and avoid the long journey via Gloucester.
Clevedon and Broadchurch
The town found fame recently as the setting for many of the scenes from the television drama Broadchurch starring David Tennant, Olivia Coleman and Jodie Whittacker the present Doctor Who. Alas the beautiful sandy beach and stunning cliffs in the television series are in Dorset. Broadchurch series one was nominated for seven BAFTA’s. For those who don’t know the series, the small coastal town of Broadchurch is torn apart when Jodie’s young son is murdered. Olivia Coleman and David Tennant play the detectives investigating the murder. Olivia Coleman’s son was best friends with the murdered boy and she finds that the suspects include members of her own family and some of her friends. If any one has not seen the series I thoroughly recommend it. Series 2 was not as good but series 3 which stared Julie Hesmondhalgh as a rape victim and Lenny Henry as a possible suspect was also very good.
Our three mile walk took us past many of the locations used in the television series. The Salthouse playing fields has its own small beautifully maintained station and a small train which has been giving children rides since I was a child. However the skate board park which featured in series 1 is newer. Our walk took us past Marine lake scene of the boat burning. Almost a hundred years ago the lake was made by enclosing part of the beach to provide safe bathing. The water is replenished at high tides. When we visited a few brave swimmers were preparing for the traditional New year’s day swim. The video at the bottom of the post shows them using the Marine lake which was an early example of an infinity pool.
The tide was out exposing pebbles, mud and some of the rocks I enjoyed scrambling over as a child.
We climbed some steps into woodland before following part of the Coastal path which should have given us beautiful views across the Bristol channel to the Welsh hills. Poet’s walk path led us to St. Andrew’s church which was used as the church in Broadchurch. The scenes in the graveyard being particularly memorable. This is Clevedon’s oldest church dating from the 12th century and is dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen. It still has a sanctuary ring on the door , anyone touching it could claim sanctuary.
Further up the hill we saw the ditches of an iron age fort. This used to be Clevedon golf course but is now being returned to nature. You can still see a stone pillbox which was part of the defence during the second world war. On the other side of the hill are the remains of a Tudor harbour where the Yeo rivers discharge into the sea.
We retuned along the seafront and after a drink in the Moon and sixpence climbed Hill Road which was used as the main high street in Broadchurch. The old Seeley’s shop became the newspaper office for the Broadchurch Echo and number 22, a former Lloyd’s Bank branch became Trader’s hotel where David Tennant’s character stayed.
We had planned to photograph the pier at sunset but it was still too cloudy. The pier partly collapsed in the 1970’s during an insurance stress test. However after a long campaign it has been loving restored.
Walk 3 miles grade easy
Bus from Bristol bus station
Car junction 20 M5
You can find more details and a map of the trail here.
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