Red Sea

A mid-August afternoon in Devon. An impromptu trip to Sidmouth. Warm enough weather that there were even people in the water.

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Sidmouth is part of the “Jurassic Coast” World Heritage Site, which includes the more famous Lyme Regis, known for its rich pickings for fossil hunters. I had to resist the temptation to do my best Dickie Attenborough impersonation. “Welcome…to Jurassic Coast!”

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But on this particular day in Sidmouth people seemed more interested in buying a little plastic nets and hopping across the rock pools in search of live specimens.

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Beaches all along this stretch of coast have cliffs made of distinctively terracotta-coloured sandstone. It’s soft and crumbly, which makes rockfalls common and puts cliff-top properties in frequent danger. It also makes it easier to carve a message of undying love into their surface.

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Climbing the set of steps known as Jacob’s Ladder to the top of the cliff allows you to see the extent to which the sea, particularly on a day like this with a bit of wind and a strong current, has been stained red by the eroded cliffs.

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