The weather was stunning, so it seemed like a good idea to go to the beach. We went to Lyme and as the tide was well out, we took the opportunity to explore the rock pools. We found some sea squirts, anemones and one crab. There was a huge diversity of seaweed. Then, we played in the waves and whilst B watched the kids, I went for a swim in the surprisingly warm water. We sat on the sand with the intention of making sand castles, but by this point, the kids had started whingeing. The salt seemed to be irritating E’s skin, who suffers from eczema and Izzy had got a bit cold. So, we headed back to the car, past all the very tempting ice cream stalls.
Total wild time – 1 hour 50 mins
We had a great afternoon on East Cliff Beach, between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. We skipped down the 114 steps, past some sculptures, patches of Bristly Ox-tongue and a couple of Clouded Yellow Butterflies. There were some great rock pools to potter around in and we saw several crabs and little fishes. Izzy slipped rather dramatically on the green algae and ended up with her feet in the air. Undeterred, she continued to jump from rock to rock. We arrived at the beach at the same time as a load of students, who looked very busy with tape measures and clipboards. Skirting around them and the jagged bits of metal, which have apparently come from a tip exposed by the eroding cliffs, we found a boulder on which to unload our stuff. From there, we searched for fossils (yet again the best one, a tiny shell, was found by E), collected sea glass and paddled in the sea. I tried to make a picture of a dragon with the sea glass, but it was hijacked by Izzy, who turned it into a fish. We took a photo, before it was covered by the incoming tide, then we changed E’s soggy trousers and socks, before climbing the 114 steps back to the car park.
We had thought the kids would be worn out, but apparently not – Izzy serenaded us with Christmas songs all the way home.
Total wild time – 2 hours
I had our towels and cozzies at the ready, but sea-swimming had to be shelved due to the unexpected return of winter to East Devon. Instead, we visited the beach at Charmouth, with the new aim of finding some fossils. B picked up a fragment of ammonite almost immediately, but unfortunately that was our sole find for the day. I have memories of tripping over fossils on this beach on a childhood holiday, so I’m not sure why we found it so difficult to find any. Perhaps it is just because I am further from the ground than I was then. The sea was pleasant enough for a paddle and the kids enjoyed jumping over the waves. We found a couple of tiny silver fish washed up on the shore and Izzy threw them back into the sea. Then, we happily lost track of time poking about in the rock pools, where there were loads of crabs smaller than a fingernail (and a couple of biggies), tons of shrimps and even a little flatfish. Before long, the kids were filthy and soaked. We changed them into clean, dry clothes and headed home for dinner.
Total wild time: 1 hour 40 mins