WITH ITS spectacular beach views and cliff-top outlook it would be easy to mistake this image for California.

But, for anyone living in Poole or Bournemouth might be more interested in it as the answer to a local dream - acquiring a chine of one's own.

No tarmac footpath, no butchered trees, just heather and tropical plants in their own micro-climate, leading down to a private gate to the beach and looking almost as it would have done 100 years ago - providing what must be one of the most beautiful views on the south coast.

Estate agent Steve Isaacs of Luxury and Prestige Properties of Sandbanks says the £3.5 million house, which is situated on the cliff in Branksome Chine's Westminster Road, is 'the perfect beach house'. "Not only can you see the waves breaking on the beach, you can hear them from the house and that, coupled with the view, gives a magical effect," he said.

The word chine means 'deep, narrow ravine cut through soft rocks by a water course descending steeply to the sea. Whilst chines, or similar geographical features can be found the world over, the word is peculiar to the Dorset area, and also the Isle of Wight.

Mr Isaacs believes the chine may have been so well preserved as the property's private gate used to be the same one as the gateway to the Branksome Towers Estate.

"It's quite rare to get something like this, where the setting looks so unchanged," he said.

The three-storey property is just over a mile from Sandbanks but, he says, has a completely different atmosphere to the busier peninsula.