Sunday in Shell Bay

welcomeME AND Bindy fancy a Sunday adventure, so we catch the ferry from Sandbanks to Shell Bay.

There’s a clanking as the chain ferry approaches, and a shuddering as we begin to cross.


We pay on the other side and park at Shell Bay. Tide’s out. Surf is a muffled boom. Watered-down sunrays glimmer on pale blonde sand.

Bindy’s busy in the sand dunes, running, sniffing, jumping, chasing crows and trying to chew on rushes.

It’s quiet, apart from gulls shaking water out their wings. Seaweed squelches underfoot. I spot some tiny fungi among the dunes, and rabbit poo – no wonder Bindy’s loving it.

The clouds break, and we’re bathed in ethereal gold. A sailing boat breezes by. Other dogs bark in the distance.

Unhurriedly, we stroll along a heather walk dotted with hoof prints, studded with glowing gorse.


It’s not boggy, not marshy, but a kind of tangled, serene wetland.

The clouds have parted again and we’re walking in sunshine. Bindy’s got a hairy halo.


Now she’s clattering in the rushes, collar tinkling. We follow the trail past dazzling white birches.

All the while, the sound of the sea beckons us on. A little labyrinth of sandy tracks brings us back to the beach.

We find ourselves in front of Old Harry Rocks.

I paddle in the surf. Bindy begs to play chase on the beach.

The sea might be a jaded turquoise, yet a heavenly blue patches the sky above.

All of a sudden I’m hopscotching over oyster shells, clam shells, razor clams and limpets. Then I find this.

So this is why they call it Shell Bay!


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