We live close to the South Devon coast. Straight south of Knightstone at the sea is one of our local towns, Sidmouth, where both Mikee and Eric started their schooling (well, as far as Mikee is concerned her English schooling). Sidmouth’s history goes back to the 13th century, but it blossomed in Victorian times. The railway made it possible for Londoners to come down to the warmer climate and the beaches in southwest England. Even Queen Victoria visited Sidmouth as a child.
Along the seafront the Esplanade, the street along the coast, was erected with a large area for a “promenade” between the street and the sea. Many of the regency buildings along the seafront can testify to this elegant period in Sidmouth’s history.
Sidmouth was and still is a small market town and it supported up to the nineteenth century a small fishing fleet, but without a natural harbour the fishing industry didn’t expand. The “boom” came with the railway that opened up opportunities for more affluent “early-day tourists” from far-away London to travel to the seaside long before they could travel abroad to Nice and the Cote d’Azur.
But now the railway has long gone and a lovely walk along the river Otter, where previously the railway to Sidmouth run, is the only reminder of this epoch of our history.
Both to the west and east of Sidmouth the sandstone cliffs rise up and offer interesting walks with lovely views along the coast. In another blog a few weeks ago, Beer Before Breakfast, I described the fishing village of Beer, surrounded by cliffs of white chalk contrasting to the sandstone cliffs around Sidmouth. The images from both places were taken at the same time of the day, the first half hour or so after sunrise. The colour of the sandstone lit by the low-lying sun is magnificent, but at daytime it turns a more mundane brown-reddish colour.
My morning photography at Sidmouth was at high tide. At low tide the sandy beaches are seen, but when the tide comes in it covers up the sand and only the vast expanses of pebbles higher up on the shore can be seen.