Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walk around Grenham Bay

Grenham Bay, Birchington on Sea
After spending an enjoyable time at the Whitstable Harbour Day, as it was a beautiful day, with hardly a cloud in the sky, we decided to take a drive further along the North Kent coast towards Margate.

We had no fixed plans as to where exactly we were going and eventually ended up in Birchington on Sea about four miles outside Margate.

Birchington on Sea is said to be the largest village in Kent with a population of about 9800. The village lies on top of chalk cliffs looking out over the sea and boasts four sandy beaches - Minnis Bay, Grenham Bay, Beresford Gap and Epple Bay.

We parked the car at the top of the cliffs, loaded up the bucket and spade and followed a footpath down to Grenham Bay.

At the base of the cliffs there is a wide concrete pathway which was constructed in the 1950's as a sea defence to prevent further erosion of the cliffs. If you follow the pathway to the left it leads into Minnis Bay, a very popular family beach.

However, not really knowing where we were going, we decided to go in the opposite direction and followed the pathway along the coastline.

Despite the glorious weather that afternoon we hardly encountered a sole and it was a very pleasant walk. Looking out to sea we could see the Kentish Flats wind farm off Herne Bay and the ships anchored in Margate roads waiting to take a pilot for the River Thames or Medway.

A bit closer to shore we encountered a turnstone making the most of the weather.

The pathway follows the curve of Grenham Bay into another small bay called Beresford Gap. As the name suggests, there is a gap in the cliffs here and another path (quite steep) leads back up to Birchington on Sea.

We continued following the pathway past Beresford Gap into the next and final bay of our walk, Epple Bay. The most remarkable thing we noted about this bay was the vast quantity of seaweed in the water.

By this time, the tide had started to go out further and junior had finished his afternoon nap so we headed back to Grenham Bay for a spot of beachcombing!

Contrary to popular belief you don't have to spend a fortune keeping kids entertained. He would have been quite content to carry on looking through the rock pools for hours.

Whilst looking through the internet for background information for this post, I came across a good web site by the Birchington Heritage Trust which has old pictures of the bays taken as far back as the late 1890's.

Please have a look at the links below if you are interested to see how they used to look.

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