Mude­ford Sand­bank

Landscape (UK) - - In the Kitchen -

When the Long Groyne was built, it solved Hengist­bury Head’s ero­sion prob­lems, but had an ad­verse ef­fect on the spit, pre­vent­ing long­shore drift. Ex­ten­sive work was needed to sta­bilise the sit­u­a­tion, with small sea walls built in the 1960s and rub­ble groynes added in the 1980s. To­day, no cars are al­lowed, and peo­ple are re­quired to take a ‘land train’ that runs reg­u­larly from the car park at the foot of the Head, a vin­tage ferry across Christchurch Har­bour from Tuck­ton or a ferry across the small stretch of wa­ter from Mude­ford Quay. As a re­sult, a sense of peace and tran­quil­lity per­vades. The own­ers of the beach huts, known as Hut­ters, can stay overnight from March un­til Oc­to­ber. How­ever, dur­ing win­ter, only day vis­its are al­lowed. The only building with mains elec­tric­ity and run­ning wa­ter is the Black House at the far end, next to Mude­ford Quay. This lo­cal land­mark fea­tures in a va­ri­ety of smug­gling and Civil War leg­ends. How­ever, records in­di­cate that it was not built un­til 1848, for the man­ager of the Hengist­bury Head Min­ing Com­pany. Nowa­days, it con­tains hol­i­day apart­ments. Its black walls come from tar used by fish­er­men on their lob­ster pots and for wa­ter­proof­ing boats.

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