Views of South Beach, Studland, in November

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Rainbow picture: Rainbow in the storm clouds over Studland Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast, November 27th 2009 (1) 

Even on a bleak, late November afternoon, Studland Bay is magnificent. Each part of Studland has a really different character. As black clouds and heavy rain passed over South Beach last week, the dramatic dark sky temporarily opened to allow passage of a shaft of  sunlight. Dodging the raindrops, and with much wiping of the lens, I managed to get a shot of the wonderful rainbow that formed far out on the horizon and arched right over the bay. The rainbow’s end was on Knoll Beach where it illuminated the great long golden strip of sandy beach and dunes. 

Studland Bay view: View from South Beach of a rainbow's end illuminating the long sandy strip of Knoll Beach, Studland Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast 27th November 2009 (2) 

The yellow sands of South Beach itself were partly obscured by fallen sweet chestnut leaves from the trees topping the low cliff. The amazing red and yellow sandstone rocks of the cliffs brightened this beach even though it remained in the cloud and the rain.

Studland Bay beach: The red and yellow iron-bearing sandstone strata in the cliff at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast, 27th November 2009 (3) 

The cliff face has thousands of small holes which are the entrances to burrows excavated in the warmer months by miner bees for their eggs. In the winter, these tunnels seem to be occupied by spiders that festoon them with cobwebs. 

Rock picture: Detail of miner bee burrows and spider cobwebs on red and yellow ferruginous rock in the cliff face at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (4) 

In stark contrast to the remarkable natural features of South Beach, is a remnant from World War II. A concrete ‘pill box’ fortification leans tipsily seawards right on the promontory which is the junction of South Beach with Middle Beach. I imagine that it may have once stood on the top of the cliff because the rock is soft and continually eroding back. I’ll have to look into the history of it.  

Concrete World War II "pill box" fortification at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (5) 

The cliff colours vary along the length of South Beach and the rock strata show interesting layers, patterns, sculpturing and cross-bedding. The soft sediments have attracted generation after generation of rock carvers.

Coloured cliff strata with bare overhanging trees at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (6) 

Picturesque old-fashioned beach huts nestle at the base of the cliff amongst the trees; boarded up against the winter elements now – the same as the little wooden cafe. Small boats have been hauled high up the shore – hopefully safe from being washed away with high tides.

Seashore image: View of wooden beach huts among the trees and small boats on the sand at South Beach, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (7) 

The beach itself was strewn with mostly red seaweeds and individual heaps of flint pebbles washed up by stormy seas. Blackened strands were scattered everywhere from the underwater eel grass beds just offshore – home to rare species.

View of South Beach showing piles of red seaweed and flint pebbles on the strandline, with small boats on the sand and beach huts among the trees, Studland, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast 27th November 2009 (8) 

Revision of a post first published 3 December 2009


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7 Replies to “Views of South Beach, Studland, in November”

  1. The first photo reveals how weather can have such sharp edges. What a marvelous image.

    Who would have thought spiders sub-let from bees during the cooler part of the year?

    The last two pictures look like they might have been taken in North America.


  2. Thank you, Amy Lynn. For some reason, there often seem to be dramatic skys when I visit this beach. On that day it was amazing how you could actually see the band of black storm clouds passing over with that neat boundary edge.
    Re the spider webs, in the animal world creatures frequently seem to be opportunist in taking over the homes of other creatures – just think of the hermit crabs.
    I wonder if it is the beach huts that make the scene look like North America? Apart from garden sheds, this kind of building is one of the few to be built with timber in England – while on your side of the Atlantic a really high proportion of construction work is with timber. The trees had some lovely autumn colours too.


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