The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Sixteen Singles to Sidmouth
This year’s early May Bank Holiday trip was to the home of cream teas in Devon, but handy for the fossil heaven of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.
With various people having all or part of the Thursday off work, a good number of us arrived at the hostel in Beer with time to sample the hospitality of the village pubs. We found a nice little fish restaurant that seemed to have nice beer and settled down there for the evening. The others arrived as the evening went on and managed to join us for pudding. This was a good start to the holiday.
Saturday dawned a little cool and grey, but not bad, so we decided to bag a bit of coast path by bussing out to Sidmouth and walking back to the hostel. Using public transport meant Dave P buying a 2 metre bus ticket!
Sidmouth is a quiet, traditional seaside town built on a lovely bay between mudstone cliffs to the west of Beer. As Sidmouth is in a dip, one of the first things you have to do is drag yourself up the hill to the next cliff head. This was the taste of things to come, as the coast path here is something of a rollercoaster. All this up hill and down dale generated an appetite somewhat greater than our delicious sandwiches (thanks Cress!), so being in the home of clotted cream teas we simply had to hunt one down. Our luck was in as we descended into the village of Branscombe and found a National Trust tearoom with seats to spare! Quality.
We still had half the walk to go, but now were more than adequately fuelled to take on the spectacular landslips, including the Hooken landslide, in the chalky cliffs as you approach Beer.
The extended pause at the tea rooms meant quite a late arrival at the hostel. An advance party arrived and knuckled down to chopping chillis and onions for dinner, but as an hour passed we started to wonder where everyone had got to. It turned out that the long walk had generated a powerful thirst in some of our members and they had found it impossible to pass the pub in the village unquenched.
Sunday was a much sunnier day. We decided to complete a bit more coast path, but this time took the bus out to Lyme Regis to walk westwards back to Beer. The scenery was a similar, in that we were going up and down on cliffs and landslips in the Triassic Mudstones, but much of the route was through beautiful woodlands. This included the biggest landslip of them all at Bindon. This huge area famously slid down the cliff virtually overnight in 1839 and formed what is now a vast nature reserve.
Sunday’s walk was a little less civilised than Saturday’s in that the refreshments were only available at the far end. A little café in Seaton did a nice trade in Dorset apple cake as we passed through on our way back to Beer. And again it proved impossible to pass that pub in Beer village, condemning Andrew and Carol to preparing our dinner unaided (oops, sorry about that).
Bank holiday Monday started grey and drizzly, so most of us headed underground for a tour of Beer quarry. The fine stone from this quarry has been the source material for many of the finest cathedral carvings in the country, but the story was one of poverty, smuggling, death and the church. Sobering stuff.
After the quarry the sun had come out so some of us headed over to Lyme Regis to enjoy the museums & beach. I even managed to pocket a few small fossils before winding up the trip with a final serving of tea and cake. A splendid weekend.
Happy Birthday Doug!
Many thanks to Doug for organising a drought-busting walk to celebrate his Significant Birthday. Whilst the walk started dry, if a bit grey, it quickly descended into drizzle followed by steady rain after lunch before the sun came out for the last half an hour. If you dared to peek out from under your Goretex there were some lovely views and beautiful expanses of bluebells. All this dampness did serve to enhance our appetites for the magnificent buffet that Doug had prepared. Although we did our best to do it justice, I think Doug was living off carrot cake for a week.
Lavenham: "England's Finest Medieval Village"
Dave and Helen led a lovely walk in Suffolk on a sunny Sunday in May. As well as beautiful views across rolling countryside, highlights included the fine wool churches at Lavenham and Long Melford (15th-century stained glass including the 'rabbit window', featuring three rabbits sharing three ears), tea and scones in Long Melford, and a stroll around the timber-framed splendour of Lavenham.
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