Thursday, 21 April 2011

MUDEFORD/HIGHCLIFFE

Hengistbury Head is a headland with a spit at the end which creates the narrow entrance to Christchurch Harbour. Mudeford, named after the River Mude, started out as a fishing village, but has more recently expanded into a large residential area, forming the outfall of the Avon and Stour rivers. Mudeford Spit houses 300 beach huts which have been known to change hands for as much as 140,000 pounds. This may seem like a lot, but the setting is fantastic, fringed by golden sand, and with superb views of the Isle of Wight. The town still has a Quay, which is used for watersports and as a base for fishing boats, and the pub here is renowned for its seafood. The pub also has an interesting history, having been the scene of a battle between the Royal Navy and smugglers in the 17th century, culminating in the grisly sight of one George Coombes hanging from a gibbet outside the pub.

Highcliffe is dominated by Highcliffe Castle, a gothic revival dating from the 19th century which owes its existence to a large amount of masonry which was shipped across the Channel. The castle was built mainly between 1831 and 1836 by Lord Stuart de Rothesay. The building nearly came to grief as a result of fires in the 1960s, but was saved by Christchurch Borough Council, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For events at the castle, see here

Map of the area.

File:Mudeford Harbour sunset.jpg
Photo by George Buckingham, via Wikimedia Commons


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