As with all the beaches along this prehistoric sweep of English coastline, it has so much to offer visitors and because we usually head to Charmouth or Lyme Regis for our beach-fix, it is always a treat when we head towards this small characteristically rich coastal town.
Of course it has no connection with the drink that goes by the same name but does in fact take its name from the Anglo Saxon ‘bearu’ meaning grove; there having being an extensive forested area surrounding the original ancient settlement.
Beer is famed for its pirate and fishing activities, the latter continuing to this day. It also has Pecorama and the Beer Quarry Caves that have been in use for over 2,000 years.
However, interesting as these tourist attractions are, my trips are usually to enjoy the wonderful natural harbour cum beach and whilst it is made up of stones and pebbles in varying sizes, it is sheltered from the wind and the water is crystal clear.
My trip today was with my youngest son and as it was an impromptu visit, we arrived with nothing more than a yellow bucket for our rock-pooling exploits.
The tide was obviously not going to go out very far but it was sufficient to create several oasis’ of miniature sea-beds that were teaming with all manner of life. We caught two crabs, a shrimpy looking creature, shells and stones; but as every rock-pooler will tell you, it’s not the treasure you find, it’s the treasure hunt that gives you the thrill; the anticipation that under the next rock you will find something quite brilliant!
I also love the different seaweeds that take root on whatever they manage to grab that happens to pass them by. I imagine them as the hippies of the marine algae world, wafting from place to place and hitching a ride where they can!
The anemones that were caught out by the falling tide and left high and dry look like scooped blobs of red jelly sitting in their squelchy squashed spoldges.
Flash-mobs of limpits, cling resolutely to their rocks with their cemented undersides, you can almost hear their hushed chant…‘we shall, we shall not be moved; we shall, we shall not be moved, just like a tree that’s standing…’
You will also find masses and masses of flint, it was this endless cache that kept Oliver Cromwell’s army supplied with the vital element of their flintlock guns during the English Civil War.
There is evidence of cliff fall and whilst it is not as active as Monmouth beach for instance, it is still unwise to walk under the cliff edge.
There were a few brave souls who were ‘taking the water’ and you’d be wise to wear suitable swimming shoes to protect your feet from the stone sea bed.
After our rock-pooling we enjoyed a plate of cheesy chips from Ducky’s, the beach café, and an ice cream from the parlour on the high street before heading back to the car.
It was such a warm and sunny day, I regretted having left home without the mandatory beach trip equipment: blanket, chair, picnic, etc but then again, that’s the best part of an impromptu trip out, setting off on a whim…a bit like the hippy seaweed, we go where the mood takes us…