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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Featured, Place, Writing |

Sugary Cove, low tide

Sugary Cove, low tide

Although dark and murky, the sun was trying to come out and on occasion lit up the entire cove. A swimming expedition on the way to the rest of the day’s events out and about. The storms of recent days have left the seas churned and neither easy nor fun to swim, so came back to Sugary Cove for N to swim. The cove is so protected that as long as the tide-time is correct it’s almost always possible to swim.

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It was remarkably warm particularly in this south-facing protected cove which acts as a sun-trap. When the sun did appear from the increasing cloud bank (there was yet another sou’westerly on the way, unbelievably), it felt amazingly warm and luxuriant; even the blackbirds and the jays darting around the woodland were singing their pre-spring pre-mating not-songs.

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People love to leave their marks on landscapes they love. Along the short walk down to the cove this is apparent in a number of ways. There are benches looking out to sea all along the way, each memorialised and left as a gift from those left behind. These can be found all along the coast of Britain. But there are also the official marks: the marking of the byway, and the marking of the setaside of Sugary Green as a Village Green. This latter is yet another way in which precious land can be protected on this crowded isle, a clever grassroots re-working of ancient laws about common land and land usage belonging to the many rather than the few. Around the corner from one of the most-owned by the most-wealthy, this feels refreshing.

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But there are also the less formal markings. Here at the base of the footpath marker which is the entrance to Sugary Cove is a sign marked in concrete to honour lost beloved dogs who presumably were frequent visitors here. It took a very special effort to bring wet concrete to this place and to mark by hand this remembrance, all the better for its illegality and informality. And all the more touching for the moss that now marks the words more strongly than ever.

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The cove felt calm and friendly after the violence of recent weather. Only last evening N and I were walking along the seafront / sea defences at Tor Cross where twenty foot waves were crashing and breaking well over the defence. It was quite possible to see how, without these defences in place, half of the houses in the village lost their frontages and how the breakers were documented breaking over the houses and on to the adjacent road, back in the 1970s.  The rains have left their mark, and down in the cove the rocks were dripping and leaking everywhere.

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As we were leaving, N found this remarkable egg-casing, from a Nursehound, or Dogfish as it’s known – actually a catshark.  Read more here.

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Herald the Spring.