The Perimeter

Wareham Quay, Dorset. Wareham Quay, Dorset.

Wareham has many fine historical buildings and a rare architectural unity that I’d last seen in Faversham. I’d like to linger but it’s still dark when I start. My admiring glances up and down the street are mistaken for bewilderment and a friendly local asks if I’m lost and tells me where I can buy tea at this early hour. There is just time for some tripod work by the quay before heavy rain encourages me to continue.

Slepe Copse I, Purbeck, Dorset. Slepe Copse I, Purbeck, Dorset.

Entering woodland the rain stops for a time but large drops continue to fall from the leaves into the peaty black pools below sending inky circles rippling outwards.

Slepe Copse II, Purbeck, Dorset. Slepe Copse II, Purbeck, Dorset.

Hartland Moor, Purbeck, Dorset. Hartland Moor, Purbeck, Dorset.

Undulating Middlebere Heath radiates saturated winter colours: golden grasses and deep red bracken very like the Southern Uplands in Scotland. I’m enjoying the hills and the…

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The Perimeter

Harry Ramsden’s, Bournemouth, Dorset. Harry Ramsden’s, Bournemouth, Dorset.

I can just about make out Old Harry Rocks this morning – the dramatic chalk stacks near Swanage that are geologically connected to the Needles on the Isle of Wight. The rocks mark the start of the Jurassic Coast and a much more rugged landscape heading West – I can’t wait!

But now in Bournemouth beach huts are arranged by hue like paint swatches. A tractor passes to and fro methodically scraping the sand flat. Branksome beach cafe brings back happy memories of walking through the pines with my parents many years before.

Bournemouth Pier, Dorset. Bournemouth Pier, Dorset.

Peering through the window of an Sandbanks Estate Agent reveals that most properties here are in the £1-7 Million price range. Surprised at the lack of architectural quality of these expensive houses, their main selling point seems to be bigness. Walking through the area is an underwhelming experience of high…

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The Perimeter

Fog at Highcliffe, Dorset. Fog at Highcliffe, Dorset.

Thick mist amongst the trees in Chewton Bunny, a chine that marks border of Dorset an Devon and an old Smuggling route. Finger sign proclaims “To the Sea”.

Fog near Chewton Bunny, Dorset. Fog near Chewton Bunny, Dorset.

At the waterfront a CCTV camera rotates high on a post in the fog.

Foggy beach at Steamer Point Nature Reserve. Foggy beach at Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

Sea fog at Friars Cliff, Dorset. Sea fog at Friars Cliff, Dorset.

A man strikes up a conversation “Normally you can see Old Harry Rocks and the Polar Bear in the cliffs of the Isle of Wight, but it’s too misty today” I nod enthusiastically trying to imagine these wonders from the tracing paper vista before us.

Foggy Groynes at Mudeford, Dorset. Foggy Groynes at Mudeford, Dorset.

Dewy web, Highcliffe, Dorset. Dewy web, Highcliffe, Dorset.

Two women wearing gilets in plum and navy blue each carry little plastic bags of dog shit, the creators of which ignore the commands shouted urgently in their direction.

Chewton Bunny, the valley marking the Hampshire & Dorset border, Dorset. Chewton Bunny, the…

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The Perimeter

Sowley Brooms I, New Forest, Hampshire. Sowley Brooms I, New Forest, Hampshire.

Two dozen wild horses roam freely on the lanes. Most of the occasional vehicles passing are Land Rovers which have to wait as the horses saunter past. Flocks of pheasants rise squawking from the side of hedgerows as I walk past.

Pylewell House, Boldre, New Forest, Hampshire. Pylewell House, Boldre, New Forest, Hampshire.

Pylewell House grandly isolated with its private shore is still in aristocratic hands with a thatched cricket club house adjacent. Damp bonfire smoke wafts across the lane.

Sowley Brooms II, New Forest, Hampshire. Sowley Brooms II, New Forest, Hampshire.

Otters Crossing, Drive Slowly. In Lymington a lot of the men wear boating brands and wander about looking tanned and leisured even though it’s off season.

Kill Cord, Lymington Yacht Haven, Hampshire. Kill Cord, Lymington Yacht Haven, Hampshire.

At upmarket Lymington Yacht Haven a ‘Danger of Death’ sign replete with a skull and cross bones leaves me unsure as to what danger could possibly exist here different to any…

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The Perimeter

Fawley Power Station I, Hampshire. Fawley Power Station I, Hampshire.

The Hythe Pier train clatters empty at 6am preparing for the first passengers. My legs are having difficulty bending this morning after the previous days exertions. On leaving the street lights I attach a torch to my backpack chest strap so I can see the path as it’s inky black in this wooded area. The ancient track slopes up on both sides feeling like it would have been the perfect place for highwayman to pounce from.

It’s a beautiful thing to walk as dawn emerges, something I started on this walk out of necessity in order to cover the distance and now come to relish. The dark misty sky glows orange with the lights of the Fawley Oil Refinery. Emerging from the forest past a depot of fuel trucks a large crucifix glows outside of Hardley Methodist Church.

The dawn sky streaks with orange and violet…

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The Perimeter

The Bargate Constructed circa 1180 in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, Hampshire. The Bargate Constructed circa 1180 in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, Hampshire.

A dark wet start, beads of rain slide down the shiny developers hoardings of WestQuay Watermark abutting a section of Southampton Medieval city wall. Pavement glistens under orange sodium lights.

Southampton Container Port I. The country's second largest such terminal, after that at Felixstowe. Southampton Container Port I. The country’s second largest such terminal, after that at Felixstowe.

Most of the city was destroyed in the Blitz and the now has an ironically spacious and continental feel as a result of the rebuilding.

Holyrood Church Built in 1320, destroyed during the Southampton blitz in November 1940, one of 45,000 buildings that were damaged or destroyed, Holyrood Church Built in 1320, destroyed during the Southampton blitz in November 1940, one of 45,000 buildings that were damaged or destroyed,

Escape from the rain momentarily in Town Quay Starbucks. All the coffee sippers around me are in full corporate mode.

To my left “As a line manager I have to mention this is preventing me doing my job”

To my right “I’m drip…

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The Perimeter

Container Ship in the Solent from Gilkicker Point, Hampshire. Container Ship in the Solent from Gilkicker Point, Hampshire.

Golden morning light illuminates golfers and container ships passing between Fort Gilkicker and the alleged spy training centre at Fort Monckton.

Browndown Range I, Hampshire. Browndown Range I, Hampshire.

Browndown Range doesn’t have a flag flying – first time I’ve been lucky on the walk so far and not had to detour around an MOD site due to live firing.

Browndown Range II, Faggots & Queers, Hampshire. Browndown Range II, Faggots & Queers, Hampshire.

Browndown Range III, Lookout, Hampshire. Browndown Range III, Lookout, Hampshire.

Browndown Range IV, Outfall, Hampshire. Browndown Range IV, Outfall, Hampshire.

Browndown Range V, Sand Ladder, Hampshire. Browndown Range V, Sand Ladder, Hampshire.

Browndown Range VI, Butts, Hampshire. Browndown Range VI, Butts, Hampshire.

Beach Huts, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. Beach Huts, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire.

Decorator / Handywoman Van parked outside the Hovercraft museum

The Solent from Hill Head, Hampshire. The Solent from Hill Head, Hampshire.

Glistening jellyfish two feet across, a sandy footprint neatly placed on one side of its body.

Private Beach, Hill Head, Hampshire. Private Beach, Hill Head, Hampshire.

A row of precious houses each with variously phrased notices all stating the privateness of their tiny…

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