Sand, shells and Shreve



Coco enjoys 'No Restrictions'
 I suppose we're used to it now - restrictions. We can't do this, we can't do that - most are commonsense, some are madness. Health and Safety sleeps with Nanny - in our Nanny State.

So it was refreshing - as refreshing as the fresh air I breathed - to find that on a visit to a beach, there were no restrictions.

No-one wants to make their sandcastle with pooped parapet, so we can appreciate why some beaches have a 'no dog' policy. What that actually means is a 'no irresponsible dog owner' policy.

Back to my beach - Studland Beach, the crown in the jewel of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.

This stretch of coast was once owned by the Bankes family. Much of the village of Studland was theirs too. Like a lot of our green and pleasant land, it was eventually bought by the National Trust.

Apart from their logo on the occasional sign, you wouldn't really be aware of it. The car parks demand feeding - but where can you ever park for free?

Studland Beach is a very special place. Part of it is named Shell Bay - simply because of the beautiful shells that wash ashore. The sand is fine, finer than any I've come across in this country. I'm not sure if it's because of the tidal movement, but there's very little in the way of rubbish washed ashore. Anyone who's a devotee of Anita Shreve's novel Sea Glass will be disappointed - I walked for an hour and didn't spot a slither of her precious gems.

Despite visiting during one of the busiest times of year - the Christmas break - the beach still had room for all - children, walkers, horses and of course, dogs.

Dogs are so welcome on Studland Beach that the National Trust have marked the stretch with special signs. What a delightful surprise - and not a sniff of a poop either!