I have been giving my choice of beaches some thought and have decided exactly on the “from the past” category. Going clockwise round the coast of England and Wales these sites are:
- Holkham Bay, Norfolk and the sands each way: towards Wells-next-the-Sea in the east and west towards Overy Creek
- Shingle Street, Suffolk and the beach south towards Bawdsey
- Leigh-on-Sea to Southend, Essex: specifically from Leigh station to the Kursaal
- Brighton beach from Brighton Pier past the Marina (not there in the old days!) towards Ovingdean
- Marazion, Cornwall – east from the village to about Long Rock
- Broad Haven and Little Haven, Pembrokeshire
- The Lavan Sands off Llanfairfechan, Conwy
As I have intimated, the Jurassic Coast from Charmouth to Cogden Beach will be the central/pivotal stretch of coast.
In some ways the choice was difficult – I felt almost churlish leaving out certain beaches – but in the end each of the 7 sites has been significant to the way I think about our coastline as well as being a place of lodgement of personal, emotional ties to place and time. For example, I couldn’t decide for a while on which of the Pembrokeshire beaches to choose. Marloes, in my mind, offers the most scope visually and intellectually for artistic inspiration and produce; Newgale inspired drawings and sculpture on my Foundation Course; Whitesands Bay (Porth Mawr) and St David’s Head connect deep in me with an ancient longing about the landscape; I have a black stone with fine scratchy lines of pink-brown from Druidston Haven on a shelf behind me that I have kept close for 40 years; but, when it came down to it, it is Broad Haven and Little Haven that have hooks in my heart, hooks that have drawn me back over the years and which over the years have made me want to share the mystery of my attraction with people I love and care about.