Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Widemouth Bay to Bude (South West Coast Path 83)

Widemouth Bay

Only a short stretch of Coast Path today as I have hurt my ankle again. We continue along the back of the beach to reach the headland of Lower Longbeak. This is the view north with Higher Longbeak in the foreground and the white satellite dishes of Bude GCHQ in the background.

We walk along the cliff top to reach Higher Longbeak and quite a dramatically rocky shoreline. The tip of a pinnacle of rock has just caught the sun in the foreground.

Phillip's Point, at the end, has attractive folds of sandstone, unusual in Norther Cornwall.

Looking back, the stone pinnacle can be seen with a sort of stone doughnut behind it.

After the hamlet of Upton, the road which has been nearby heads off to the east and the path crosses an unexpected wide grassy area behind Efford Beacon and along to Compass Point on the edge of Bude. This is marked by Storm Tower built in sandstone in 1835. It is based on the Temple of the Winds in Athens and has the points of the compass marked on each of its eight faces.

Just beyond this you turn inland and walk above the sprawling beach and small harbour.

The beach huts on the opposite side provide a nice splash of colour.

Then you pass the massive sea lock which marks the end of the Bude Canal. This rather surprising structure was built in 1823 and runs only a few miles inland to merge with the river Neet. Its main purpose was the transportation of sea sand inland for use as a fertiliser. The sand was collected from the beach and conveyed by a narrow gauge railway to the jetty on the right of this picture.

We diverted slightly at this point to see Bude Castle, built in 1830 by the polymath and inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney.

In front of the castle is the rather lovely Bude Light, a millenium homage to Gurney by Carole Vincent and Anthiny Fanshawe. "The cone incorporates fibre optic star patterns which sparkle at night" (Pevsner). The colour-scheme is very pleasing.

Conditions: warm and sunny.

Distance: 3.4 miles (distance now covered 506.2 miles).

Grading: Easy.

Map: Explorer 111 (Bude, Boscastle & Tintagel)

Rating: Four stars, surprisingly interesting and emjoyable.

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