Friday, 4 April 2014

D is for Dunes, Deckchairs, Disguises ...


Dunes develop where windblown sand becomes trapped by specialised dune-building grasses such as Marram grass.  Sand dunes are essential for wildlife and conservation of the shoreline ...
 
Marram Grass in dunes at
Gwithian Towans, St Ives Bay


... sand dunes develop in the intertidal zone and where onshore winds are prevalent.  In Britain there are about 56,000 hectares of dunes ... they cover old villages ...



St Ives Bay with its dunes marked,
and bays and villages named.

... a classic example are the Gwithian Towans, which cover an archaeological Bronze Age farm site, and are situated across the bay from St Ives, Cornwall ...


... towan is a Cornish word (Tewyn) meaning “sand dune” ... the habitat of dune and grassland suited to a variety of wildlife and plants, including the pyramidal orchid, the glow worm, the silver-studded blue butterfly and the skylark ... adders, sand lizards too ...



Walking to Lelant/Hayle estuary,
in modern times!  When we did it, it
was just a dune path down ... 
This was our area of holidaying: St Ives Bay ... including Carbis Bay, St Ives, or at Lelant or here at Gwithian ... the home of “To The Light House” by Virginia Woolf ...


My grandmother lived at Carbis Bay, my mother's family came from St Ives and we would holiday at whichever beach suited us and the weather of the day!  


Deck chairs and pretty beach huts -
East Anglia


At Lelant we would walk across the golf-course, over the small branch line with its puffing train (St Erth to St Ives) ... and nestle in the dunes with Marram Grass to plait, or to play ... before a long walk down to the incoming tide ... 





That deckchair


Deckchairs ... 8.5 metres x 5.5 metres (28 x 18 feet) ... the world’s largest was put up on Bournemouth beach at the start of Spring in 2012 ... for the Jubilee and Summer Olympics ...




Winkles - so easily
mistaken for a pebble

No-one knows which side of the Atlantic they were first made ... but a British manufacturer patented two types:

 ... ‘the Waverley’ described as the “best ship or lawn tennis chair”, 

... and 'the Hygienic', which was a rocking chair “valuable for those with sluggish or constipated bowels”?!



Pipefish hiding in eel grass,
Jurassic Coast
Disguises found in rock pools ... a patient watcher may see a hazy-looking area of sand that walks away: it is a prawn ... or a small bobbly pebble sliding off: a winkle grazing on algae ...


... or a pipefish swimming in an upright position merging in with the ribbons of seaweed, or eel grass in which it hides ...


That is D for doughty Dunes, doddery Deckchairs and darkly Disguises from Aspects of British Coasts ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

58 comments:

Ida Chiavaro said...

Oh Hilary I loved fossicking around rock pools when I was a kid - still do... I am enjoying travelling around the British coastline with you, - this post is particularly poignant with memories of your youth, and images of ancient villages under sand dunes.... but I caught with your C post as well and am still stuck with the thought of houses collapsing into the ocean... Reflex Reactions

Weekend-Windup said...

Nice to read your post. Beautiful pictures aside. Pipe-fish looks so great. It looks like a grass!

Matt Luedke said...

I have very little knowledge about any of this geography, so your posts are always fascinating! Thanks!

paulareadman1 said...

Thank you for sharing our coastline with us, Hilary. It has been a joy reading about it. It reminds me of my time building sandcastles with my son on the beach in the Isle of Arran and at Whitby North Yorkshire

Bob Scotney said...

I have never made it to St Ives on our trips to Cornwall. We must put that right and not miss out Gwithian Towans.

Patsy said...

We're just packing for a week of coastal visits. I don't think we'll see any dunes and doubt we'll have time to sit in deck chairs, but I will be disguised ... as a holidaymaker when really I'll be a hard at work writer. (you believe me that I'll be working, right?)

Gattina said...

I will discover this area end June !
Looks so beautiful !

Sue McPeak said...

St Ives Bay sounds like a wonderful place for a 'Holiday'...I like that better than 'Vacation' as we say in Texas. In parts of West Texas we have miles and miles of Sand Dunes, but not a Deck Chair to be found as there are no beaches. Neat post...really enjoyed it.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I've only ever been in dunes once when much younger and all I remember is that the sand was slippy :). As for deck chairs, I sometimes think they were created to test us. If you don't put them up right then you're shafted :). We used to have one we played with in the garden when we were children.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Love the pictures and my virtual trip to the beach, Hilary!

As I child I was *dying* to play in the dunes, but they were protected at the time (still are at many Atlantic beaches here) and my parents would fuss at me. Which, naturally, made me want to play in them more...

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love sand dunes!! The place we usually vacation in Florida usually has some pretty cool ones.

Manzanita said...

Rocking chairs... good for sluggish bowels???? Really? I'll have to add that one to my natural remedies bag of tricks.
for 25 years we lived just feet from the dunes and i was panic stricken most of the time. Every storm I could feel us being swept out to sea. Then goofy tourists pick the grasses and there are huge fines for that. What I did like best about the dunes were the turtles coming on land to lay their eggs, of which we were very protective...... turning off lights and keeping people away from the nests.

mail4rosey said...

I think it would be cool to sit in that big ol' beach chair!

Jo said...

No, I never made it to St. Ives either. Went to Cornwall for our pre honeymoon. We stayed in Mevagissy. I enjoyed your post. I didn't know that dunes had covered farms and such. I guess they were already abandoned. I know that Deserts do similar things.

Inge H. Borg said...

Oh, I like this theme...must mark your blog so I can come back to enjoy the scenery.
Great to be here.

Trisha F said...

I have always been mesmerised by sand dunes. We have some here in WA, but they're fairly small compared to the bigger ones around the world. I'd love to see the mountainous dunes in some other parts of the world.

Shirley Wells said...

Another great post, Hilary. I love St Ives Bay - such a beautiful area.

What a brilliant deckchair!

Julie Flanders said...

Oh my gosh the hygienic chair cracked me up!
St. Ives must be such a gorgeous place. All of your posts have me dreaming of the sea.

Lisa Moles said...
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Lisa Moles said...
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Bossy Betty said...

I so want to go sit in a deck chair at the dunes now!

Jen Forbes said...
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Jen Forbes said...

I've loved this trip to the coast this past few days Hillary. Like most who think NY is all city I tend to think of England as country villages and city and forget about the beautiful coastline your county is blessed with! Thank you for taking me on this lovely trip :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

What a great theme, Hilary!

LOVED how you tied all three together... I always enjoy reading your informative and fun posts!

Thanks for sharing some of you childhood memories with us....

Bish Denham said...

In the Caribbean we have a pretty little snail shell called a periwinkle. I wonder if they are related. I also wonder how many people that giant beach chair can hold.

KT Did said...

Yummm... deckchairs and a beach. Who could ask for more but maybe a drink in hand. Your C post is beautiful too!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm almost positive I've seen East Anglia in movies. Can't remember which one though. Love the deck chair. Wish I were there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a big chair...
Cool you got to go to the beach whenever you fancied.

David P. King said...

I love dunes. And beaches for that matter. :)

LittleCely said...

It really is like a virtual visit to a British coast. I've never been but I'd love to visit some day.

Paula said...

We have visited the great sand dunes in the Colorado mountains. Who would have thought such beauty could exist hidden in the mountains.

loverofwords said...

"As I was going to St. Ives, I met seven wives. . . ." Love the post. I can pretend I am on the shore not looking at the snow here in Colorado.

cleemckenzie said...

I'll have to make a journey to Gwithian and carry my Virgina Woolf with me. You made me long for the beach.

Jennifer Fischetto said...

Sluggish or constipated bowels. lol Nice chair. ;)
Great post. I used to live across from the beach. I took it for granted.

Silvia Villalobos said...

What a great area for holiday, Hilary. Thanks for sharing a little about your family's history. East Anglia looks amazing. By the way, in East Europe, we refer to Britain and Anglia.
Now, I look at that deckchair in the single shot and imagine the wind blowing and the sound of the sea. Must be a joy.

Andrea said...

Yes! There is a beach we go to when in Cape Cod with tons of those periwinkles...Hmmm...I might need a new chair!

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

I can just me sitting outside my beach hut, in a chair, rubbing my feet into the sand--oh and maybe writing my best seller novel.

Teresa Cypher said...

Wonderful, wonderful post! We vacationed at the Outer Banks, NC USA last autumn, and this brought all those great memories rushing back in. Very enjoyable post. SO much information. I'd love to visit the area. I had no idea about sand dunes ccovering archeological sites. :-)

River Fairchild said...

Winkles and chairs designed to move your bowels...always love your posts! It's been so busy but I'm going to spend my Sundays combing through your posts and dreaming of visiting you. Thanks for stopping by and meeting the Dreean! *wiggles snout at you*

River Fairchild – A to Z April Challenge
Untethered Realms

Inger said...

I've always wanted to go to where you grew up. I loved this post.

Stephen Tremp said...

I grew up in Michigan and there were some awesome dunes on Lake Michigan. We'd go camping there in the summer all the time. Great memories.

Margie said...

You are making me smile.
I love sand dunes.

You do entertain, Hilary

Anne Young said...

I really enjoyed your posts. Beautifully written and illustrated. They remind me of Famous Five adventures and other books I read as a child
Greetings from the antipodes
Anne
Ayfamilyhistory.blogspot.com

Siv Ottem said...

Sounds like you have some wonderful childhood memories by the beach. Lovely post as usual!

Leandra Wallace said...

All those beach pics are so lovely- the water is so blue!

Maggie Winter said...

Lovely images that bring such wonderful memories. We spent many a happy afternoon at Lytham, St Annes or Southport sand dunes...happy days.
On the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ida .. I love that word “Fossicking” ... I’ve noted for next year! Just delighted you’re enjoy your coastal eclectic tour ... the posts allow me to wander around – years gone by and my love of history and information with views that are appropriate ...

@ Weekend-Windup ... thanks so much .. the little pipe fish is amazing isn’t it ...

@ Matt – glad my geography is entertaining you – thanks so much ...

@ Paula – it’s lovely to think back – you with your son .. and the sandcastles we used to build .. the places we visited .. I’d have loved to have visited Scotland and the Scottish Isles .. we got as far the Lake District!

@ Bob – well another place I see you’re going to be visiting – then you can do the Mounts Bay Causeway too ... and perhaps use the little train from St Erth to St Ives ... that chugs along the westerly towans and you can look out across the bay to Godrevy and Gwithian towans ...

@ Patsy – you’re off: after our email this morning! Enjoy ... it sounds an amazing trip – wonderful scenery on this island and that other large one! Enjoy ... and write well – inspired as you will be ... and you can’t stop writing!

@ Gattina – you’ll love Cornwall and I shall be interested to see your photos etc ...

@ Sue – the St Ives area was stunning and we were very lucky to be there every year for many a time ... I too am not that fond of vacation ... Your Texas sand dunes must provide lots of hide-outs to enjoy the sun in ... deck-chairs seem to have gone out of fashion ... though perhaps they haven’t thinking about it ... I keep seeing new ones with logos on ... and Eastbourne prom certainly has them stacked up ready for the summer ...

@ Tasha – the sand does slip and slide ... the deck-chair test has always been around hasn’t it ... as too the squashed thumbs and fingers ... what fun that you had one to play with in your garden ... and good memories now ..

@ Elizabeth – thanks so much .. it’s a pleasure to write up the posts ... How sad that you were prohibited from clambering around in the dunes – they are surprisingly vulnerable though ... and when we think of the protection they offer our coasts in times of stormy weather as adults of course we can understand your parents ‘fussing of you’ ... to stay away ...

@ Keith – Florida sounds lovely and one day I hope to visit and perhaps see those dunes ...


part 2 following ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Manzanita – I loved that sluggish bowel snippet – made me laugh and thought an ideal ‘fact’ to slip in to a post ... 25 years of living just behind the protective dunes – I think I’d have loved it, but like you been somewhat agitated at times.

Sadly we, all of us, don’t always remember or appreciate what’s under our feet and how important it is to keep it pristine .. especially if you were nurturing turtles on the beach – must have been so wonderful to see the little ones scampering to the sea ... lovely addition to the post ...

@ Rosey – thanks .. I’m not sure where the beach-chair is now .. but it was a good marketing tool ...

@ Jo – Mevagissy is just so pretty isn’t it – and in those days travelling around Cornwall wasn’t easy – we used to visit great friends a little further north ... it’s fascinating to find out how much the land does change and how much is hidden under dunes, or under the sea ...

@ Inge – thanks so much .. so pleased to see you here ..

@ Trisha – our sand dunes aren’t that tall ... but the desert dunes in Namibia I saw were huge – I’d love to visit your part of the world .. must be so beautiful ...

@ Shirley – thanks .. St Ives is just stunning isn’t it ... and the deck-chair was a great addition to the Olympics ... and fun to see now ..

@ Julie – couldn’t resist the ‘hygienic deck-chair’ ... I chuckled happily when I read it! ... Well you have one of the best places to go home to: Aquinnah .. must be lovely writing about it and setting your book there ..

My memories of my early life is one of wonderful times ... St Ives Bay being at the centre of it ...

@ Betsy – it would be lovely to just have some peaceful time by the sea wouldn’t it ...

@ Jen – so pleased you’re enjoying my posts ... and we are an island with a huge length of coastline ... but the landscape is amazing too ...

@ Michael – I just had to include a few aspects of the coast – otherwise I’d never do it any justice – mind you there’s so much more ... and by writing these – the memories come back ... lovely to see you ...


Thanks everyone .. part 3 coming up ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish – it looks like the periwinkles may well be related – they were brought over on those early ships ...

I couldn’t find out how many people the seat would hold .. but standing in a deck chair would be quite difficult .. as it doesn’t have a flat area – and if it’s made of canvas or plastic – then there’s less stability ... the people in the middle would get squashed!

@ KT – great to meet you here .. and thanks .. exactly drink in hand .. so pleased you enjoyed C as well ..

@ Joylene – East Anglia definitely would have been used in movies and tv serials .. I can’t think exactly which at the moment ... the deck-chair was a great success ...

@ Alex – it was an enormous chair ... and living by the sea and usually holidaying by it when we were kids does make me love it ..

@ David ... dunes, beaches and shores are fun aren’t they ..

@ Cely – I hope you can get across sometime to see us ... so pleased you’re enjoying my take on our coastline ...

@ Paula – I guess you must have sand dunes in the Colorado Mountains .. but it took me back a bit to contemplate it ... the eroded rock has to go somewhere doesn’t it ... how interesting to find out ...

@ Tasha – I should have put that nursery rhyme in shouldn’t I ... but I’ve another for S – and keeping the posts short?! Sorry about your snow – you’re having a long season this year ...

@ Lee – it’d be great to have you visit – and would make sure I went down to Cornwall and to that Cornish sea again ... I must read Woolf’s book To the Lighthouse ...

@ Jennifer – great to see you here .. I know that ‘sluggish or constipated bowel’ advertising snippet was such a fun find ... Don’t we all so often take things for granted .. and then remember and yearn ...

@ Silvia – just delighted you’re enjoying the look around ... I love learning about Romania too ... East Anglia is very pretty – I’m not that knowledgeable about the area ... How interesting you refer to this land as Britain and Anglia ... I wonder why?! A few hours by the beach would be lovely wouldn’t it ..

@ Andrea – looks like the periwinkles came over on ships as we explored the Americas ... Cape Cod must be stunning to holiday in ... a new deck-chari – sounds like a good buy ...

@ Teresa – I’d love to own a beach hut – I’m not sure if my grandmother (my father’s mother) owned one when she moved to Bexhill along the coast from here – I seem to remember playing/using one for a season or two .. but not very strongly remember!

@ Teresa – so pleased this post brought back so many memories of your recent holiday to the Outer Banks, NC ... and as you’ll have gathered I like to put in lots of bits and bobs of interest ... I’m always staggered at how much the land itself moves ... and covers villages or ancient sites ...

@ River – oh I have fun writing my posts! Thanks so much .. and enjoy your trawl through the first 5 posts ... I enjoyed your Dreean – lovely name and that description of his face parts ...

@ Inger – I’d love to visit Sweden and see America the way you did .. and then see your Desert Canyon! It’s so good to be able to travel vicariously ...

@ Stephen – the Great Lakes must be incredible to live near ... they are so enormous .. how lovely you were able to go camping in the dunes as kids – as you say great memories they bring back for us ..

@Margie – thanks so much ... delighted to know I entertain and bring smiles to your thoughts ...

@ Anne – thanks so much, good to see you here ... our children’s books were fun weren’t they – lots of exploring went on – looking forward to my blog hop down under .. very soon ...

@ Siv – we were very lucky with our holidays ..

@ Leandra – delighted to meet you and thank you ..

Cheers everyone – many thanks for your generous comments - Hilary

kaushikgovind said...

The deckchair brings me good old memories! Great post with amazing pictures :)
Cheers ~ Kaushik

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The Louisiana coastline is all about erosion. Sigh. And that deckchair does bring back great memories for me, too. Always lovely photographs and fun info.

Lisa said...

I LOVE that name "Towans." It sounds so pretty in my head. We have dunes and protected habitat here in Georgia, and in Florida as well. As you said, very important for conservation of the shoreline. In this area we aren't too far above seal level, in fact the highest point in Florida is believed to be about 354 ft, or 105 meters above sea level, and that is a hilltop in the "panhandle" up close to where we live... Do you get sea turtles laying on the beaches around St. Ives, or Carbis Bay, or Lelant or Gwithian (I love that name too!)?

Michelle Wallace said...

Dunes... trail your toes through the sand... deck chairs... rock pools... such lovely images conjured by your posts... it's always a multi-sensory experience here at your place...

Tina said...

I really thought I left a comment...seriously...went back to see what you might have responded, and now it's not here...I sure hope that hasn't been happening all over the place. Sigh. I really need to get a grip.
LOVE that giant beach chair, and that rocking is good for your bowels. All I know is that I love to sit in a low chair at the shoreline and let the sea come in and get me wet. Eventually I move my chair...lovely memories you gave me with this.
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Lynn said...

Rocking is good for your bowels? Who knew? :) I love the beach - especially the natural parts of it. I've read all of your posts so far, but can't comment on the E post. For some reason it keeps timing out. I'll try again later.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Maggie - that's lovely you remember those early days in the north-west .. it's an area I don't really know that well ... but sounds similar ...

@ Kauchik - I'd have loved to have seen the deckchair - sadly only via the tv or newspaper ..

@ Roland - Louisiana is so 'new' in geological terms and most of it is sedimentary (soft) rocks ... hence it's eroding so fast ...

@ Lisa - Cornish names are such fun ... we are protecting more and more areas now, I'm pleased to say. East Anglia is quite low and not very high above present day sea level - Florida hasn't got much height protection has it ... 354 feet is not as high as our Beachy Head here ...

No we don't get sea-turtles here ... if we did - we wouldn't be able to holiday there .. but I'd love to see sea-turtles some day ..

@ Michelle - many thanks .. I try and make the posts as interesting as I can - as I realise the more bases I cover, the more likely readers will enjoy themselves and be happy to come back ...

@ Tina - you did on the other posts .. sometimes they do get lost, I agree and think too ...

The history of the deck-chair and the advert for improving your bowels - just made me laugh out loud ... and then yes letting the tide lap our feet ... while just being at peace by the sea-shore ..

So pleased it brought back memories for you ...

@ Lynn - I know isn't it fun ... rocking in a deck-chair for your bowels ...

I too love the natural seaside ... and living in or visiting Cornwall is extra special, to me ..

Thanks so much to you all .. always lovely to see you - cheers Hilary

Viola Fury said...

Hillary,

The deck chairs, or beach chairs, as they are called on this side of the pond are very familiar, and I remember lugging them to the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan as a kid.

We moved to San Diego, California from Michigan, when I was 7, and the beach chair was less seldom seen. Instead, we all had giant beach towels, about the size of a sleeping bag, very colorful and unique. Every kid (my cousins and I; I'm an only child) got a new one at the start of every summer and that was the unofficial start of summer. From there on, we spent every day at the beach of the Pacific Ocean! Thanks, Mary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary - those old deck chairs were heavy weren't they ... and lugging is the right word!

Well I think everyone got fed up with lugging these inconvenient seats around .. so towels became the sensible seating areas ..

San Diego is a lovely place -I must say .. I'd like to do more exploring there ..

Cheers Hilary