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Landscapes Of England: Brean
As a child I can remember thinking of Brean as the most boring place on earth. The bright lights of Blackpool were much more exiting. Countless arcades and video games would ebb away your time, as well as your money. The possibilities were endless.
Age helps you appreciate the finer details in life. Suddenly Brean had become a beautiful stretch of coastline boasting windswept sand dunes and several miles of golden sands.
So the funfair may have grown and its visitors gotten younger, but Brean retains an inner calm, somewhere for the weekend to relax and recharge your batteries, run dangerously low by the rigours of city life.
And what a wonderful, panoramic view that unfolds before you. To the left, reaching out towards the horizon lies the rugged coastline of north Devon. Gazing straight ahead over the Bristol Channel, your eyes are drawn towards the south coast of Wales.
On a clear day, with the aid of binoculars, you can make out the Cardiff docks. Nearby is the magnificent Millennium Stadium, pride of the nation and home to the Welsh rugby team and many other great sporting events.
The summer months bring a large influx of tourists and are busy days for beach patrol. The flat sands leave a huge area of beach exposed at low tide, revealing dangerous mud flats.
The warning signs emphasize the danger of walking too far out towards the sea. Lives have been lost in the past, victims of the sinking mud and sand. The lifeguard’s jeep patrolling up and down the beach is a familiar sight in summer.
“Move inland away from the sea,” bellows the coastguard through the jeep’s loudspeakers. It’s incredible the number of people who ignore the warning signs, remaining oblivious to the dangers around them.
The receding tide has exposed a path of shells leading northwards along the shore to Brean Down, a narrow piece of land jutting out into the sea.
The one hundred or so steps to the top are a challenge. An ideal spot for binoculars, the summit of Brean Down casts its eye many miles. The coastlines of South Wales and southwest England feature predominantly in the skyline.
A clear day yields some memorable views. From up here, Brean appears to be carpeted with caravans spread as far as the eye can see. Holiday parks are everywhere; it’s easy to appreciate why Brean is so popular with caravan lovers.