The View from the West Hill

View from the West HillThe West Hill in Hastings is an open space that separates the Old Town with the town centre. As well as the castle and smugglers caves, the hill was once the site of a windmill and used for farming.View from the West Hill

Now it is a pleasant green space that offers, as it always has, the best views of Hastings. Here a some photos of those views taken as morning showers left the town and headed over the channel.View from the West HillThese photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Cliff End

Cliff EndCliff End at Fairlight marks the point where Pett Level starts. On the beach, below the cliffs, you can see millions of years of geological and natural history all within the same area. On that beach are fossil evidence and footprints of dinosaurs, the remains of a Bronze Age forest and the detritus of the modern world.Dinosaur FootprintThe footprint above is one of several found along this stretch of Cliff End beach. It’s likely to have been an Iguanodon, who left the footprint whilst grazing near a river. The beach is full of huge rocks that have fallen from the cliffs above. This stretch of cliffs all the way west to Hastings is highly unstable, and is slowly falling into the sea. Looking at them, it is clear why this is happening. Great fissures run up and along them, which are easily widened by plant roots, rain water and the endless work of the sea.Cliff EndThe geology here is fascinating, and best explained on this website. The Bronze Age forest, which is around 6,000 years old is found a short distance from the cliffs, and is visible when the tide is low. pett-level-walk-4This BBC article provides a good history about these ancient forests. Lots of other things can be seen on the beach, and the modern world is well represented. Most notably along this stretch is the axle and wheel stuck between some rocks. Cliff EndCliff End beach is a great place for a seaside walk, particularly at low tide, when the rock pools and sand is revealed. It is even more enjoyable knowing that in one 360 degree view you can see a substantial part of the history of the Earth.pett-level-walk-6All of these photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Between Rain Showers

Between Rain ShowersQuite often I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to rain. On this day however I was lucky enough to have picked the part of Bexhill beach that lay between rain showers.

So, at low tide, on a typical summer’s day I was able to get these photographs of the rain showers as they passed over Hastings and Bexhill. I stayed dry for a change.

These photographs can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.Between Rain Showers

Cloud Formations

Cloud FormationsSeveral hefty cloud formations moved across Sussex earlier this week. These were patchy however and blue skies appeared in between the showers. The sun shining on these great formations of cloud created interesting skyscapes. The one moving out over the Channel from Hastings had been delivering wintery showers. These were taken along Pett Level.

These clouds looked very dramatic. They had delivered wintry showers to Hastings during the day, so perhaps the cold and the wind and the heat from the sun affected how they formed. I think though that with a little imagination, you could imagine these photos depict a meteor striking the sea.

Both images can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Cloud Formations

Storm Imogen

Storm Imogen

I didn’t have time to get down to the harbour arm to witness Storm Imogen smashing against it. Instead I briefly stopped down by Azure and took some photos down there. The tide was going out, which was fortunate as it was clear that the sea had been throwing shingle and other debris up onto the promenade at high tide.

The seagulls were on the shingle, keeping low to avoid the worst of the wind. They were reluctant to fly, but some noisy walking encouraged them to take off. I could only manage to take one photo at a time before the spray from the sea started to collect on my lens. So I had to bother the gulls several times before I had a shot I was happy with.

Storm Imogen

I’ve always like the contrast between the rigid and unyielding lines of Sidney Little’s concrete promenade and the sea. The straight lines and uniformity are at odds with the waves and the spray. Storm Imogen brought the two elements much closer together than usual.

Storm Imogen 3

These photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Storm Imogen




Here are a couple of photos showing reflections of the clouds over St Leonard beach one calm evening. These were taken on the same day as the lugworming photos but have a different feel about them.

Both of these photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.Reflections

Sunset on the Sands

Camber Sands SunsetSunset at Camber Sands when the tide is out provides stunning views across towards Fairlight. There wasn’t any wind so the wet sand and standing water created lovely reflections. Rain was coming in from the west, and a bank of clouds were looming in the distance. This could be described as the calm before a storm, but that would be inaccurate as the weather that night couldn’t really be described as a storm. So it was the calm before the rain came.

Camber Sands Sunset

Hundreds of sea birds were wading at the water’s edge, enjoying the last few minutes of the day. There were several people on the beach too, walking their dogs or simply taking in the scenery.

These photographs of Camber Sands at sunset can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Camber Sands Sunset

A Walk on the Beach

West MarinaA walk on the beach is always nice but on certain days it can be magical. When this photo was taken the tide was at its lowest and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Usually there is the constant noise of the waves breaking on the shingle. The noise of the waves and shingle is one of dominant sensory inputs when you are on the beaches of Hastings and St Leonards. It is only because the sound is constant that no one that lives by the sea particularly notices it.

It was quiet on this day though. It’s strange how the absence of noise can make a familiar place seem different. You could hear the distant sound of traffic on the road and the occasional cry of a seagull. These sounds seemed muted though. The quiet emphasised the beauty of the scene with the clear reflections in the wet sand and still rock pools. The feeling of space. That’s why living by the sea is great.

The photo can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

Hunting the Lugworm

LugwormWhen the tide is out and the sand along the beach exposed, it is usual to see men on the beach carrying a shovel with them. These men are on the hunt for the lugworm. The lugworm is a marine creature that lives in a U shaped burrow in the sand. They are the type of creature that don’t really seem to have much of a purpose, other than being excellent bait for fishermen.

And that is why men go out on the beach to dig them up. You can buy lugworms from certain specialist shops, but they are not cheap. Lots of money can be saved by getting them yourself. In a way you are fishing for the bait you intend to fish with. It is not easy either.

This website spells out the techniques used to catch lugworms. Even armed with that knowledge I think I would need to accompany an experienced lugwormer before I knew what I was doing.

That would not be an unpleasant way to spend some time on the beach. Particularly on a day like the day when these two photographs were taken. I wasn’t on the beach to hunt lugworms myself, but this chap was. He acted as an unknowing focal point for my pictures.

Both images can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.Lugworm

Rye Bay

Rye BaySometime ago I was walking along the access road that runs between Winchelsea Beach and Rye Harbour. When walking in places I visit often I’m always on the look out for new perspectives to avoid taking the same photograph. The weather and time of day can offer plenty of variety to a scene, but a view across Rye Bay to Dungeness Power Station is still the same view no matter the weather.

About halfway along I noticed that someone had placed a large rock on top of one of the groynes. There was something about the composition of the two that was appealing to me.

I wondered for a while who placed the stone there and why. Perhaps the person wanted to create a different photograph themselves, or maybe to paint the view. I think it was deliberately placed for a reason, rather than someone sticking it there thoughtlessly. Whatever the reason it worked for me. I certainly wouldn’t have thought of creating a beach sculture to add a feature to a scene.

It’s something I’ll bear in mind for the future though.

You can view this scene of Rye Bay full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.