Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sidmouth, East Devon

This post is full of landmark moments for me as I have now reached the south coast of England for the first time in the lifetime of this blog. As I continue my "antidote for winter thematic 2009 south west trip", I turn back the clock to my very first weekend in the digital experience after converting from film. The second and third images may be familiar to you as they are shown in the right hand sidebar which I inserted at blog construction. Lastly, as time moves on and circumstances change, I wasn't to know that this could have been the last time I visited the place. It's not the easiest place to visit in Devon for me from the north and I have replaced film prints with digital images.

Sidmouth - IMG_0057 copy_edited-3

Sidmouth, historically was a small fishing village that due to it's location had no adequate facilities for harbouring boats and consequently remained that way for some time.

The village eventually grew into a small fashionable, quiet and exclusive town during the late 18th century becoming a place of rest and relaxation for the rich and famous of that time. It was well documented that Victoria, the future Queen, visited here as a child for several weeks.

As a example of quietness and peacefulness, by Victorian tourism standards the railway was comparatively "late in arriving" in 1874 and didn't manage to survive past Mr Beeching's infamous 1960's Axe. Somehow the town escaped the mass tourism that other seaside locations have had to endure which can be characterised elsewhere with an evolution of exclusivity, progressive exploratory tourism, flooding of the market and lastly ...  Hen and Stag weekends  or "why did I come here?, it's not how I remember it" !

Two years earlier when I last visited Sidmouth, there was a news story occurring about Pirates in the English Channel. Not the fictional sort with swords, hooks and eyepatches but people rescuing contraband for their own benefit from a shipwreck of The Napoli. This kind of story encouraged more tourists to visit the town and watch the stricken ship from the seashore.

The East Devon and Dorset coastline is a natural World Heritage Site known as the Jurassic Coast due to the magnificent cliffs, rock structures and coastline, the most famous being Durdle doorLulworth Cove and Chesil Beach.

The two exciting things happening here this weekend according to the brochure were a World War II display and ... a scrabble competition !! Apart from the classic cliffs, the two things that I associate with the town are an ageing retirement population and ...... the small and short term stay car parks ! Yes, you did read that right.

One of the problems when visiting Sidmouth for a day is that the council with their car parks do not allow enough time to visit the whole town. Most people spend the short allocated time (3 hours) looking around the shops with enough time maybe for some refreshment before leaving for another place.

This was the third occasion I was here and it seemed like a good idea to stay overnight from my base in Bristol so as I didn't repeat the activities of the two previous occasions.

Berwick House had a warm welcome and all the facilities that you would expect from something in this category at what seemed to be a reasonable price at the time.

It was a good to be able to walk along the sea shore to the west end and explore Connaught Gardens...

... where the peace and tranquility was even more in evidence here than at the seafront

Even the seagulls respect the peace of the town.... and if you believe that, you'll believe anything. He's just eyeing up my lunch of Fish and Chips !! ....

"Sid" keeping his "mouth" closed

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1st February 2016 ... As a postscript to these images, I was a little naive and digitally uneducated back in the day when this post was published. By chance I unfortunately discovered via Google images that one of these pictures had been taken without permission by a website designer and placed on The Sidmouth Harbour Hotel website.

I knew it was mine because this was my first weekend with a digital camera and the horizon wasn't straight. A few e-mails later, an apology, removal of the image and an offer of a cream tea, I took a blogging break to work out how to watermark images. It has taken me a few years to return to this post to finally update the watermark. It may seem a bit long winded to photographers but I had to vertically straighten the image first in photoshop before I could rotate it clockwise to maintain the pole of the left boat and the shadow of the one to the right. A simple cloning of sea and sky repaired the peripheral defects. A lesson learned the hard way ... never overcrop the composition of the original image !

Horizon straightening the difficult way  IMG_0057 copy_edited-1

Horizon straightening the difficult way part 2    IMG_0057 copy_edited-2

Sidmouth - IMG_0057 copy_edited-3


  1. Sidmouth looks like a lovely quaint little village--nice place to leisurely stroll down the street and windowshop. The beach looks nice (seagulls and all). I once had a gull swoop down and grab a sandwich right out of my hand. Wonderful photo of that gorgeous yellow rose. Nice post. Mickie

  2. What a beautiful village. Such a nice contrast to the dreariness of winter, for certain.

  3. I'd like to be resting by the shore in Sidmouth. Love the picture through the arch!

  4. Another excellent post..........the market hall has a vaguely Spanish look about it.
    A good set of images all round.

  5. A charming place, J_on_tour! I love that entrance at Berwick House! It is the way British houses enchanted me since my first visit in UK.

  6. Ciao J., I like your antidote to winter, I think very effective!
    I love the fishing villages and the second picture came into my heart, the others are all very beautiful and describe well a delightful place!

  7. Lovely post, makes me want to visit Sidmouth.
    P.S. I had read your Glasgow post, actually I have visited it from time to time when I needed a little reminder of home. Thanks, Marian

  8. Well, better to live in your blog than in real life! See? Even Queen Victoria took off her dress
    (on Sidmouth coast) and forgot about everything!ha ha
    Thank you for this sunny post, for amazing entrance of Berwick House, for that flower( how did you know that I like yellow roses ?..ha ha)and for each grain of warm sand on those beaches!
    Today is the 1st of March! Here in Romania we have some sort of celebration of the beginning of spring.
    I wish you a great happy sunny spring!
    My regards!

  9. Good to see my general walking/cycling area in this latest post.
    No problems with the short parking times for me when I visit on my bike.
    As always great images..!!

  10. In just over 50,000 square miles, how is it there can be so many interesting places to visit?! Looks like a lovely town and beach. Especially like that stone arch - and of course 'Sid.' :-) The door of the Berwick House, flanked by flowers is gorgeous!

  11. It's like holiday: I love the boats!

  12. The sky and sea in your pictures are of a beautiful blue, and the boats inviting us to go fishing.
    Judging by its entrance Berwick House seems to be a welcoming place indeed.

  13. Perfectly lovely! But as I have a 3 yr. old impatiently sitting in my lap- I will be coming back in a bit to really look through these photos & read your information.

  14. Those cliffs are breathtaking- and I so enjoy reading the history and stories you share. And I agree with Cranberry Morning- how can there be so many interesting (& beautiful) places?!

  15. Beautiful post and a wonderful place!!

  16. Wow, what images!!
    How beautiful. I can see the difference with
    your digital camera..
    I think the colors are so different!

    Wish you a very nice weekend!

  17. I do truly enjoy looking at your fabulous pictures which are so good and artistic in a certain point of you. My compliments.

  18. Hi there. Thank you for visiting my blog. Really nice one you have here, hope you don't mind if I follow along for a while.

  19. Mickie... Thanks, thought you might like the rose. The seagulls are a bit cheeky.

    Farmchick... Thanks, Quite a peaceful and residential place, the perfect antidote for winter.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze... Thanks, Nice place to relax through the Arch. I would have liked one more day here to do that.

    Adrian... Thanks, If I had known what I know now, I would have taken a few shots of the main street and inside the Market Hall. As it happens you can't change the past and photography is also a journey.

    Traveling Hawk... Thanks, Berwick House had a wonderful welcoming front door.

    Sciarada... Thanks, It's a shame there were not more fishing boats but I think this shot captured the essence of that aspect.

    Marian... Thanks, I have a lot of Glasgow material to go on here from a date earlier in 2010 and I will be going on saturday coming too.

    Wind... Thanks, Hope the yellow and sun has warmed you up. Hopefully the weather is getting better for you too.

    Trevor Woodford... Thanks, Yes, the car is a problem here and the bike would be ideal.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, Pleased you liked this one, it's not the obvious choice of place but somewhere a little different with it's own unexpected character.

    Joo... Thanks, I could have spent a bit longer here to relax.

    DUTA... Thanks, The weather was amazing this weekend.

    Denise... Thanks, It's always nice to put a brief bit of history in as it adds another dimension of interest I think.

    Andras... Thanks for your great comment.

    Monika... Thanks, All the images I have posted on blogger have been with a digital camera as I don't own a copier yet. It so happens that this particular post by date order (20th - 21st June 2009) was the first photos you have seen from me.

    Phivos Nicolaides... Thanks for your great comment, it's always good to see you here.

    Kris... Thanks, I hope to see what you are up to as well.


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