Monday, January 27, 2020

The pebbles on Budleigh Salterton beach

We came across Budleigh Salterton beach from Exeter via Exmouth. Approaching the pebble beach, it didn't look anything special, but once we were walking on the pebbles it was a different matter. In fact, I don't think either of us looked up once, until suddenly we realised we'd walked to the end of the beach, transfixed by the patterns on the pebbles.

The beach is famous for its pebbles. Some can be split open and contain fossils. The pebbles have unique patterns. Walking along the beach felt like a history lesson in 20th century abstract art, encompassing abstract expressionism to minimalism. There were Pollock, Riley, Kline and Rothko pebbles. Some were striped, some were blobby, some were birthmarks, some were geological maps. They were all smooth as if polished. Many were so perfectly oval-shaped and smooth they could be sold in crystal shops as semi-precious stone eggs.

The beach has a local bylaw prohibiting the removal of any pebbles; the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The fine is £2000 per pebble. It's going to take my daughter a while to save up and pay the £8k fines.

Previously on Barnflakes
On the beach at Lyme Regis
Sea urchin shells


Anonymous said...

Quotes from Blithe Spirit

Elvira Condomine: Nobody but a monumental bore would have thought of having a honeymoon in Budleigh Salterton. I was an eager young bride Charles, I wanted glamour and music and romance. What I got, was potted palms, seven hours of every day on a damp golf-course and a three piece orchestra playing “Merry England”.

I love the 1945 movie. They've made a new one, which is due out this year I believe.

:) Ray

Anonymous said...

(Although I'm sure it's very nice - as long as you're not on your honeymoon). R

Barnaby said...

She obviously wasn’t into collecting pebbles then.

Further east along the coast, Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach similarly has a honeymoon go wrong. What is it with shingle beaches and honeymoons?

There was uproar amongst Radio 4 listeners when McEwan let it slip he had collected a few pebbles from the beach which he kept on his desk whilst writing the novel. He received a threat from the local council to pay the £2000 fine or return the pebbles. He returned them to the beach.