Nature TableOut and About

For those who don’t know it, Cogden Beach is a marvel. Last Sunday the skies were blue and the sun was warm – time for an early morning walk.

Cogden Beach is a stretch of shingle owned by the National Trust towards the western end of Chesil Beach. It is a very special habitat for plants and wildlife – like a mini Dungeness without the power station. It featured in a blog post way back in 2011 – this is by way of an update.

At this time of year it’s just frothing with sea kale (Crambe maritima).

All the plants are specialists – coping with salty air and little or no soil. Roots penetrate deep down, leaves are waxy (like the kale) or hairy like the yellow horned poppy, Glaucium flavum (not yet in flower).

Others, with tiny leaves, grow in tufted carpets, hugging the ground….

…like the sea campion (Silene uniflora)….

…and masses of sea pinks or thrift (Armeria maritima).

Hard to photograph close up as it flutters in the breeze.

You can walk along from Burton Bradstock to the west. But better still, park above Cogden beach itself and walk down and west from there towards West Bexington. There are no facilities whatsoever, so it’s never very crowded – hardy souls only!

Just behind the beach there is a reed bed, a little nature reserve called Burton Mere or Cogden Reedbed. You’ll find more about the wildlife here in this article. You can walk around the back (and avoid that annoying thing of walking back the way you came). The air is alive with birdsong, and you’ll generally come across the odd birder or two.

Looking back towards the sea from here it’s a landscape of simple verticals and horizontals…

…before the path winds along a boardwalk through a grove of holm oak.