Wanderings in Wessex eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Wanderings in Wessex.

Embryo watering places, the conception of the “real estate” fraternity whom Bournemouth has set by the ears, line the low shore of Christchurch Bay between Hengistbury Head and Hurst Castle.  First comes Highcliffe, this has perhaps the most developed “front,” then Barton, nearly two miles from New Milton station, and lastly Milford-on-Sea, the most interesting of them all, but suffering in popularity by reason of the long road, over four miles, that connects it with the nearest stations, Lymington or New Milton; possibly its regular habitues look upon this as a blessing in disguise.  Milford is well placed for charming views of the Island:  it has good firm sands and a golf links.  An interesting church stands back from the sea on the Everton road.  The thirteenth-century tower will at once strike the observer as out of the ordinary; the Norman aisles of the church were carried westwards at the time the tower was built and made to open into it through low arches.  The early tracery of the windows should be noticed.  The addition of transepts and the enlargement of the chancel about 1250 made the church an exceptionally large structure for the originally small village.

Southbourne, one and a half miles south-west of Christchurch, will soon become a mere outer suburb of Bournemouth.  It almost touches Boscombe, that eastern extension of the great town that has sprung into being within the last fifty years.  Southbourne is said to be bracing; it is certainly a great contrast to the bustle and glitter of its great neighbour.  There is a kind of snobbishness that strikes to decry any large or popular resort, seemingly because it is large and popular, but surely there must be some virtue in these huge watering places that attract so many year after year, and if Southbourne pleases only Tom, and Bournemouth Dick and Harry and their friends, well, good health to them!  That their favourite town does not start off a new chapter may offend the latter, but they will perhaps admit that although it is on the west side of the Avon the town among the pines forms, with its sandy chines and the trees that gave it its first claim to popular favour, an extension and outlier of the great series of heath and woodland that has just been traversed and that it makes a fitting geographical termination to south-western Hants.

Though the pines themselves have not been planted much longer than a hundred years, they now appear as the only relics of a lonely and rather bare tract of uncultivable desert.  Local historians claim that the beginnings of Bournemouth were made in 1810, but it would appear that only two or three houses existed by the lonely wastes of sand in the first few years of the Victorian era.  One of these was an adjunct to a decoy pond for wild fowl.  The parish itself was not formed until 1894, and although fashionable streets and fine churches and a super-excellent “Winter-garden” had been erected when the writer first saw the town, not much more than twenty

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Wanderings in Wessex from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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