A placid air had swept through town and once again the bay was a picture of calm. Children played upon the shore as the gentle waves lapped about the beach. Gulls swooped overhead, their merry chatter a sure sign that spring was in the air and warmer times here for all.
Across the bay a narrow strip of sand had defied the tide and stood as dry land. Hundreds of seabirds took refuge, safe from predators. A whole community chatted amongst themselves, discussing the options for lunch. The clouds that had earlier looked so threatening had now subsided; the bay was soaked in sunshine.
Burnham-On-Sea is a quiet little coastal town in south-west England inside the county of Somerset. Within easy reach of the M5 motorway, Burnham-On-Sea is a very popular resort with owners of caravans and motor homes.
A quick glance along the shore revealed Burnham-On-Sea’s most recognisable landmark, the beach lighthouse. It’s unusual in that it’s actually built on the sand itself. Originally found to be too low down to emit its light effectively, they decided to raise the lighthouse on stilts. It’s still in use today, helping keep ships safe in the Bristol Channel.
Burnham-On-Sea has grown from a tiny residential village with a couple of sand tracks to a popular seaside resort. The completion of the Haven caravan park confirmed its place on the map and resulted in a tourism boom.
In the early days sea defences were non-existent, leaving the village open and vulnerable to flooding. Though rare, flooding would cause devastation, the worst of which hit the town in the early part of the 17th century resulting in severe damage and heavy casualties.
At a cost of Ł7.5 million, the sea wall now provides Burnham-On-Sea with a safe and stable environment for both her residents and visitors. I left the seafront and headed inland towards the high street. I was greeted by the usual mishmash of shops. Hidden amongst the tacky seaside souvenir stores were some genuinely interesting shops.
I entered a cosy little bookshop and quickly scanned the shelves for anything of interest. My eye was drawn to the travel section. Unfortunately the rather chubby shop assistant provided something of an obstacle stood directly in front of the shelves.
In the greatest of British traditions I decided not to inconvenience him and so feigned interest in the cookery books whilst waiting for him to move. Mind you, I did find a cracking recipe for a curry.
photo by Ken Grainger