The full version of this article is available in edition 5.
Making Lobster Pots

Triangulated above the ancient minepocked cliffs of Winspit and Seacombe stands an old chicken shed. It looks a little flimsy for this side of the ridge, being all wooden, wind-battered and leaning ever so slightly, but it’s been there a while and looks comfortably settled. The erstwhile coup is now a workshop, spilling over with the kind of paraphernalia that naturally gravitates to empty nooks in the often vain expectation of being ‘needed one day’. For five or six weeks over the bleak mid winter, these walls also play host to an extraordinary, living link with Purbeck’s heritage.

Making Withy Pots

To nothing other than the occasional cackle of a marine radio, with no firebox or heating of any kind in the hardest of the winter, Alan Lander and Roger Brown are making withy lobster pots. Their gnarled digits twist and thread to rhythms laid down sixty years or so ago when they first learned this craft from their fathers, uncles and grandfathers. Weathering all in open-topped clinkers, they lowered the traps onto the shifting seabed and hauled them back in the next day, day after day, month after month. Families relied on these hand-made traps as the means to a vital stream of income – to pay tithes, to feed and clothe. Manufacturing them was not a task taken lightly…