Steamer Point Lodge with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021. During Covid 19 and not knowing what was going to happen we went ahead and booked a 2 weeks dog friendly holiday back in September 2020, with fingers crossed that we would be able to go on our staycation. One week in Dorset (Steamer Point Lodge) and the other to our dog Archie’s favourite place, The Park in Mawgan Porth, (see separate blog The Park Mawgan Porth with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021)
We thought as the 30th April 2021 approached that we did not know what covid restrictions would be in place, but it was confirmed that on the 12th April, self catering accommodation and pub gardens were allowed to open, so the green light had been given and we could go.
Friday 30th April 2021
We left our house at about 10.45 and made a stop in Exeter to look at a Fiat 500 electric car. I am going to change my petrol Fiat 500 for an electric one explaining why we stopped at Exeter.
We planned to stop for lunch on route to Christchurch Dorset, at Lyme Regis. I packed a picnic and we were going to have it on the beach. Well after over 4 weeks of dry weather it decided to rain on the journey up. Not just light rain but heavy and at one point it looked d like sleet with the temp plummeting to 6 degrees.
We had showers all the way but luckily when we got to Lyme Regis it dried up and we parked the car and walked down to the beach. The only problem was that dogs had to be kept on a lead, so Archie could not have a good run.
Because of the inclement weather we decided not to take the picnic down to the beach but consumed it on a picnic table at the top of the car park, when we got back.
Another disaster as when I opened the rucksack it was soaking wet as the top of the flask that Steve had been asked to secure was not, and nearly the whole contents of the flask had leaked all over the food and the bag. Still after mopping up the spills with a now soaking kitchen towel we enjoyed our picnic.
Journeying onto Christchurch we had frequent showers and we did hit some heavy traffic but we finally arrived at our destination Steamer Point Lodge at around 3.45. It is situated in the depths of Steamer Point Nature Reserve that we had to access via a locked 5 bar gate which we had the code to unlock, as only authorised vehicles were allowed to drive through the reserve.
We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the lodge as it was a lot bigger than expected with a super large garden ideal for Archie and with stunning views out to sea, including the Needles and the Isle of White. It also had direct access down to the beach through the garden fence and then down 75 very steep steps, so it was indeed a lovely location. To make it even better it was now dry and the sun came out. I have only included a couple of photos of the interior, but there was another twin bedded room and of course the bathroom.
Steamer Point Lodge with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021
We unpacked the car which took a while as it was full to the brim with bags of clothes, food for breakfasts coffee, tea etc and drink and of course all Archie’s stuff, which included his dog blaster, as we cannot go anywhere without taking that.
Archie however seemed a bit stressed as he does not like change so he was a bit unsettled. We found homes for all our stuff and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee out in the garden, before our first (of many) visits to the beach below, which was half sand and half shingle. Archie enjoyed his first dip in the water.
Before we left home we were not sure of the actual situation of Steamer Point Lodge with regards to food, so after doing some research found that there was a dog friendly pub, The Oaks, Highcliffe a 15 minute walk from the lodge so decided to book a table for for each night of our stay here, as it did not look as if there was much else around and with only pub gardens open we thought that they would get busy. Being there every night for a week, we would be able to try out most of the menu. Fingers crossed that it was okay.
The pub can be accessed by walking along the beach and then a short walk through a housing estate or through the Nature Reserve passing Highcliffe Castle and then along the road. The first night we sat out under canopy with a heater with the tables socially distance from each other.
The rest of the week we booked one of their individual beach huts (more about that with some photos to follow).
As promised when I booked for the 7 nights and spoke to a very nice gentleman when we were seated he brought us over a complimentary bottle of Prosecco (probably just to make sure we would be returning for the rest of the week) but it was a very nice gesture. I did ask him are we getting a complimentary bottle each night? to which he replied “unfortunately no.”
Steve had a starter of a smokey sausage with potato salad and I had a cheese soufflé. Steve then had a steak and I had a burger. It was all very nice.
We then walked along the beach, which Archie enjoyed back to the Lodge and it was now a lovely evening. Although the steps leading up to the Lodge were steep, particular after a couple of glasses of Prosecco.
Enjoyed a glass of wine and then started our Uckers holiday competition (sad I know) and Steve started on a winning streak and beat me 2 games to nil. Then time for bed which we fell into as we were all tired, it had been a long day.
Saturday 1st may
Beautiful morning so sat out in the garden overlooking the sea and enjoyed our croissants for breakfast.
Steve has an electric car so he wanted to charge it so we drove to a Tesco to do that and also to buy a mascara for me as I had forgotten to pack mine which was a major catastrophe!!!
Got back to the Lodge and the sun came out and we were able to sit out in the garden and have a glass of wine and some pate and French bread that I had bought for lunch.
Then we had a long walk along the beach in the afternoon which Archie enjoyed. He had a paddle in the sea although not an actual swim. The beach is probably about 10 miles long (some parts dog friendly, others not, but all signposted) and we walked the whole length during the course of our stay going in both directions.
Back in time for coffee and then we walked back along the beach to the pub for our 2nd nights meal which we had booked for 8.15 (they were fully booked up until this time) but this time it was our first introduction to eat in one of the beach huts.
It was quite novel but with open fronts and backs it was quite cold. They did however provide blankets if you wanted one.
We both chose the steak and tribute pie which was very tasty. We didn’t have a starter but had a dessert instead. Now I am not a pudding person but rhubarb crumble was on the menu and as I love rhubarb I could not resist and it was delicious. Steve had sticky toffee pudding.
When we finished it was now dark so decided we would not walk back along the beach but along the road. The nature reserve closes at 8.00 pm and all the gates are shut. We found a path which cut through a golf club in the pitch dark. Steve had brought a torch that was provided in the lodge and I also used my mobile phone torch.
Then after this long path we did find a gate which was actually open into the nature reserve so we were able to cut through. However we had no idea where the path would come out in relation to the lodge. I have to say it was very eerie and scary walking through here in the pitch dark, with rustling in the bushes and owls hooting in the trees. We then saw a light through the trees in the distance which we were sure were the lights of the lodge, which thankfully they were and we were all very glad to be home. I did not want to do that again.It was now quite late so it was then time for bed.
Sunday 2nd may
Got up to another nice morning and started the day with a croissant sitting out in the garden. Decided to walk to Christchurch (about 3 miles). Packed up a picnic and checked the weather and the Met Office and the BBC weather showed no rain. Believing the forecasts (big mistake) chose not to take any coats, the sun was out, the sky was blue with no clouds and it looked settled.
We left just before 11.00 am and it was lovely walk along the beach passing loads of little beach huts.
We found a nice place to stop for our picnic in a large recreation park which was very pleasant and made even better as I took some wine as we we were car free.
However as we were finishing off the picnic we felt some rain which got heavier as we moved off. I only had a short sleeved tee shirt and a waterproof gilet but as it got heavier we got soaked. We tried sheltering under a tree but as the leaves were not really out yet it was a waste of time.
We walked around Mudeford which included a quay and along the walkway there were loads of children crabbing. The rain was still coming down when we arrived at Christchurch.
We passed the church and then followed the path around the quay.
Can you spot Archie?
The place was buzzing with plenty of people, kids and dogs. Loads of swans in the river and lots of little boats moored up.
As we were feeling quite cold and wet we did stop at a kiosk and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee, and pleased to say that the rain stopped and it started drying up. Most people we saw had obviously seen a different forecast as they were all geared up for the rain!! So never believe any forecasts.
We then turned around and made our long walk back and arrived at the lodge just after 3.30, Archie needed washing off as he was covered in sand, mud rain and seawater, then blasting with his pet blaster. Once he was nice and dry and as we had walked about 6miles it was a much needed sit down with a cup of coffee. It didn’t take Archie long to collapse in the land of nod.
All refreshed so another walk to the pub but chose to go through the nature reserve and passing Highcliffe Castle which we had to pass on the way out of the nature reserve.
As it was Sunday in addition to the normal menu they did a roast at a special price of 2 courses for £25 or 3 courses for £25 so we both chose the roast beef and Steve plumped for the golden chocolate feuilletine and I chose a pistachio soufflé with chocolate ice cream (although as I said previously I am not a pudding person) but I have to say it was delicious
Then it was the back along the beach.
Monday 3rd May Bank Holiday Monday
As the forecasts were so wrong yesterday we were hoping that the strong winds and heavy rain that was forecast for today might be wrong again. Well we woke up to sunshine although quite windy but we still had our breakfast in the garden, so far so good.
Went shopping to get a few bits as we had friends who live in Dorset coming to visit us on Wednesday and invited them to lunch socially distancing in the garden, fingers crossed the weather is kind to us.
After a light lunch we walked around the nature reserve which was very pleasant and still dry
Steamer Point Lodge with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021
Then the weather did as the forecast said and the rain started in addition to the strong wind, so today unfortunately the forecast was right.
Our beach hut at the pub was booked for 8.15 tonight but we decided as the weather was so bad that to avoid getting drowned walking along the beach to get there and getting soaked coming back we took the car the short distance. On the road there were plenty of branches strewn around and a very big tree that had fallen into the road.
However the weather was even too bad for us to sit in the beach hut, as they have open fronts and backs and the wind was blowing in the rain, so they sat us on one of the driest tables under the large canopy with a heater right above us. It was very windy and very cold and we were even given blankets to put over our legs (only us British would do this, but we had no alternative, we had booked a table and we had nowhere else to eat, so we stuck it out).
We decided to only have a main course so as not to sit too long outside with a howling gale and heavy rain. Steve had the beef burger and I gad a halloumi burger which came with sweet potato fries and a delicious coleslaw which was very nice.
We were actually glad to get back to the lodge and even though we were in the car it was still eerie driving through the nature reserve at night. Good job we had put the heating on before we left as it was nice and warm. A nice cup of coffee and 2 games of Uckers (which I won both) before we retired to bed.
Just to reiterate we were the only ones in the whole of the nature reserve so the lodge feels very isolated at night. It is very peaceful though apart from the birds and you can hear the waves crashing against the beach if you listen very carefully, except of course tonight it was gale force winds blowing the trees and the rain lashing against the Windows.
Tuesday 4th May
After a terrible night with strong winds and rain we woke up to a dry and sunny morning but the cold brisk wind was still there. However we did eat breakfast out in the garden. We decided not to drive anywhere today and go for a walk along the miles and miles of beach walking in the opposite direction to where we went to Christchurch. I packed up a picnic and off we went. Even though the sun was out and it was dry but the strong wind was very cold but we soldiered on towards Barton on Sea.
We found a reasonably sheltered spot out of the wind and consumed our picnic. We then turned around and headed back to the lodge.
The wind dropped a little and we sat out in the garden and enjoyed the sunshine which was quite warm and enjoyable. So much so we sat on the deckchairs and Steve read his book whilst listening to the waves crashing on the shore below.
Our table in the beach hut at The Oaks was booked for 7.00 and tonight we were able to walk there and back. It was very pleasant and so much different to last night’s weather. Steve had the cheese soufflé and I had a baked cheese with honey and truffle, bread to dip, celery and apple which was very nice. Steve had gammon, duck egg and chips to follow and I had marinated 1/2 glazed chicken with soy and paprika with a lime glaze, sweet potato wedges lime zest mayonnaise which was delicious. Both full so no dessert.
Back to the lodge and so to bed.
Wednesday 5th may
Got up to a lovely sunny and much less windy morning. Enjoyed breakfast out in the garden and the weather looked promising for our plans for the day, for our friends visiting. Prepared some sandwiches and rolls, with all fingers and toes crossed that we would be able to have lunch in the garden.
Well hope turned to doom as around 10.15 am black clouds accumulated above and down came the rain. Sea fog also formed, so the stunning sea view we were going to show to our friends was no longer there.
But we still had an hour to go before they arrived so again all fingers crossed that the sun would come out again and the sea mist lift. Pleased to say that the sea mist did lift after a few minutes and the spectacular sea view thankfully came back. The passing shower also gave way to the sun, just hoping that another one was not going to make an arrival.
Our friends arrived and the sun was still out so we managed a little time in the garden and Archie met their 5 little Havanese bitches, which he was brilliant with. He thought it great fun having a harem of 5!!! It took quite a long time to capture this photo as you can imagine, but we were quite pleased with the result.
Steamer Point Lodge with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021
Then would you believe it down came the rain, so my plans were scuppered for lunch in the garden as we had to socially distance inside to have our lunch and their dogs were put out in their car, much to Archie’s disgust. During lunch it then started to thunder with lightening thrown in. Our walk along the beach was now looking in jeopardy.
However we spotted what we hoped was a dry window so we donned our anoraks and boots and ventured down on the beach.
It didn’t stay dry for very long as the heavens opened an we then had torrential rain and hail. Our walk was cut short as we decided to head back to the lodge, now all soaked through.
We enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and a piece of cake and then our friends headed home. Archie also enjoyed a slice of cake that he stole from the plate when it was put out in the kitchen. It was a good job that he pinched the raspberry one and not the chocolate one or else it would have been a trip to the vets. So the weather was not kind to us but we enjoyed meeting up as it must have been about 12 years since the last time we saw them.
Our beach hut was booked for 7.30 tonight, so after a short walk earlier Archie was eager to go out again and walk to the pub and back.
Steve had duck liver parfait for starter and I had jack fruit fritters with a green papaya salad, Thai dressing, toasted cashew nuts and crispy noodles and very tasty it was.
We both chose the glazed chicken for main the same as I had the night before.
Walked back to the lodge for a cup of coffee and 2 games of Uckers, with each winning one game. Then to bed.
Thursday 6th May
Last full day today. Nice morning to breakfast again out in garden. Weather forecast was for showers this morning with sunshine and cloud this afternoon.
Decided to take a short drive to Milford on Sea after breakfast and were most underwhelmed by the place (apologies to residents who live here). We parked in the village and then walked up to the sea front and the beach which was a large shingle beach and not very nice at all.
We stopped on the promenade and had a quick cup if coffee in a beach front cafe which had a few outside tables and then walked back to the car. Today the forecast was wrong but in a good way as it kept dry with no rain.
We headed back to the garden of the lodge and ate the leftover sandwiches and rolls from yesterday with a glass of wine in the lovely warm sunshine, which was very pleasant indeed. To walk off lunch we decided to go on our last walk along the beach. Forecast wrong again as it was supposed to be dry and sunny but we had a few spots of rain and it was cloudy.
Then started to pack in readiness for our departure tomorrow and hard to believe we had been here week. Then the sun came out and it was nice and warm so enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the garden.
Last walk to The Oaks for our last meal in a beach hut. Steve having the cheese soufflé and I had the chicken liver parfait and then we both had the steak and ale pie. Now I said we had our last walk along the beach in the afternoon but it was such a beautiful evening (the best evening weather we have had all week) we decided to have one very last walk along the beach back to the lodge, which Archie was very pleased about.
We then finished off the evening with 3 more games of Uckers and me winning 2 games to 1. So the winner of this leg of the competition was me winning 7 games to 2. Roll on the 2nd leg in Cornwall. Read the blog of our 2nd week here
Steamer Point Lodge with Clumberdoodle Archie 2021