There is something about a seaside spot as autumn kicks in. Whilst windy walks are spectacular, there are still those days in October when, if the sun is shining it’s warm, the light has a special quality and the kids can still be out in the fresh air, albeit with a big jumper.
So, if the forecast looks okay at any point over the next few weeks why not jump in the car with some crabbing lines, a packet of bacon and a bucket for a spot of fishing off Mudeford Quay in Dorset, (but close to Hampshire).
At the entrance to Christhcurch Harbour, the walks are idyllic for couples, but kids will spend hours hauling in crabs, watching their antics through clear buckets and then releasing them again back into the sea. Wholesome free outdoor fun, guaranteed to have them exhausted and quietly curled up on a cosy sofa by the time Strictly comes on.
The Quay has a traditional fishing village feel more akin to Devon or Cornwall. Fishing boats land their catch to the delight of the gulls, and lobster pots wait patiently on the quayside for their turn to go to work.
There are traditional fishing cottages and beach huts built on sand dunes which look like they’ve been created for a Visit England advert.
Although the view is fantastic, don’t be fooled, the current is very fast as it enters the harbour so be sure to head towards the shelter of the harbour itself.
The RNLI lifeboat launches from the Quay. Having always lived by the sea and made the most of everything it has to offer, it does gives us goosebumps when you see a crew scrambled – but these are brave, well trained men and women and watching them move into action is a sight in itself.
If you’re a proper fishing fanatic rather than the kids crabbing kind, then the catch is often good – and on the occasions you’re not so lucky there’s The Fish Stall which sells freshly caught fish and shellfish at reasonable prices.
The great outdoors can make you hungry – but there’s the Haven House Inn with its picnic tables overlooking Mudeford Spit or a table inside by the log burner depending how hardy you are – perfect for a bowl of chips, transporting you right back to when you were kids yourselves.
In May there’s the free Mudeford Seafood Festival which is definitely worth getting in next year’s diary now – but for the moment its time to be outside while we still can before the winter rolls in.