The early morning sun glinted off the calm waters of the fleet. A Low-level shingle bank stretched out into the distance, white gulls swooped across the blue surface, It was a fantastic start to a glorious week at East Fleet.
East Fleet Farm is a well-run site with Pub and the best-stocked shop I have come across on a touring site. It stocks most caravan accessories and camping gear. The site has mobile catering three nights a week where you can purchase food and take it into the pub to eat, they will even provide plates and cutlery and do the washing up for you.
This site really does pull out all the stop with individual toilet, shower and wash basin cubicles available, modern and spotlessly clean. There is a good children’s playground and indoor games area for when the weather turns.
Access to the fleet path running around the lagoon provides a great place for dog walkers, however fishing is not permitted so a minus point for anglers.
The weather forecast promised a sunny week with warmer than average temperatures for early June so we decided to purchase a Cadic BBQ. Go Outdoors had a good offer on the Gillo-gas Brai model which was reduced to £120. So reserving one online, which arranged to pick up in Poole Just down the road from East Fleet to combine the shopping trip with a day in the old town of Poole and a stroll along the Harbour.
We arrived at the store to discover the reserved item was nowhere to be found. They did have one in the store but could not find the bag or box. After speaking to the store manager who was very apologetic he offered to discount the item further to £90 and included 2m of high-pressure hose.
At that price we could live without the box and bag. A quick print out of manual and we were the owners of a new Cadic
Poole’s Old town is a great place to spend some time with great views along the Harbour where you can admire the million-pound floating pleasure palaces of the rich and famous. A walk around the bay provides wide vistas of Brownsea island owned by the national trust which is a wildlife sanctuary and Sandbanks peninsula providing an alternative sanctuary for the wealthy.
Poole Harbour is a drowned valley, created at the end of the ice age and now renowned for its calm waters and sailing. It is also the estuary of several rivers and on a good day, you can see remains of Corfe castle nestled between the low hills in the distance.
Watching the children and parents crabbing on the harbour wall brought back happy memories of my childhood with my dad and sister and more recent thoughts of our own daughter pulling crab after crab out of the sea hanging tightly to the streaky bacon. (My dad taught me long ago that Bacon will attract more crabs than the fish bait the gift shop normally sells you)
Poole has developed a new shopping centre with typical stores found throughout the UK. However, this appears to be at the detriment to some of the traditional shops where many have to let signs or have been turned into the ubiquitous charity outlets. One can’t help feeling that we are slowly losing a part of our heritage. A few years ago you could always find lots of interesting independent shops while strolling around most holiday resorts but these are becoming harder to find.
East Fleet to Weymouth
Britain is a great country which occasionally has periods of good weather and we were certainly blessed during this trip. The following day we decided a walk down the fleet would be a wonderful way to experience some of the wildlife residents in the fleet. We set off in the direction of Portland and as the army were training, we diverted around the firing range. Passing the prone soldiers taking aim at the pop-up targets you could hear the sound of the air movement as bullets as the passed down the range and impacted in the raised bank.
Re-joining the Coastal path and the nature reserve of the fleet lagoon the is an abundance of birds and wildlife that make their home on the brackish water. Although it is only about 4 miles it was a good 2 and a half hours before we reached the causeway joining Portland to Weymouth and time for a sandwich. If you prefer to travel light the Crab inn provides a tasty lunch menu.
Having Eaten our sandwiches we decided that the walk into Weymouth was a step to far, so we jumped on the bus which runs every 15 mins to enjoy a well-earned ice cream on the promenade. Sometimes just sitting, people watching and enjoying the warm sunshine is all the entertainment you need.
Weymouth is a bustling town popular with holidaymakers, with plenty to do. A Visit to Nothe Fort is an interesting day out. First built in 1864 by the Victorians to defend Weymouth Harbour the Fort has gone through many changes in its existence. From a place of military strength through to a derelict building boarded up and left to decay when the Navy left in 1961. After a period of neglect, the structure was saved by individuals and help and support from the Weymouth Civic society.
The fort is now one of the best-preserved examples of its kind in the UK today. This is an interesting museum which tells the story of the Fort through scale models, exhibits and narratives to keep young and old entertained. With a good restaurant and cafe on site, I would recommend you put aside a good few hours to fully appreciate this attraction.