THE THANET COAST PATH
Stage 2: Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay
Thursday, August 19th 2010
I walked this final six-kilometre section of the Thanet Coast Path on Thursday, August 19th 2010 -- a day that started out cool and overcast, quite similar to the day before. Retracing my steps of the previous evening, I returned from Ramsgate Station to the fountain by Victoria Parade where I had left the path (picture 1). Just like the previous evening, a sea bird of some kind was perched on the fountain and I was able to get a good picture before it flew away (picture 2).
Near the fountain, a road descends from Victoria Parade to the waterfront, where a number of buildings shelter under the cliff (picture 3). The path now passes Ramsgate Sands, a small sandy beach lined with restaurants and amusement parlours (picture 4), before starting to circle the marina.
Part of the way around the marina, the path begins to climb again, giving good views back across the large fleet of small boats moored in the marina (picture 5) and over the outer harbour, where one of the large car ferries that sails the route between Ramsgate and Ostend in Belgium was loading (picture 6). As the path levelled out above the harbour, the sun came out for the first time in the morning.
The path continues along the West Promenade, a grassy strip of land along the top of the cliffs overlooking Pegwell Bay (picture 7) with views along the coast as it runs south to Sandwich and beyond.
Part of the way along the promenade, the path passes a large sculpture of a pair of hands holding a molecule (picture 8). The sculpture was commissioned by Pfizer (there is a strong biotech industry in this part of Kent) to celebrate the opening of the National Cycle Network in Thanet in 2000.
Towards the end of the promenade, the road below enters the Pegwell Tunnel (picture 9), which carries the traffic for about five-hundred metres under the suburb of Pegwell.
Beyond the tunnel entrance, the Promenade ends at a high brick wall, forcing the path inland for a short distance before it turns left along a footpath through a pleasant shady park (picture 10), and then follows a quiet lane alongside the high brick wall of the Pegwell Bay Caravan Park.
The lane becomes the narrow main road through the Victorian buildings of Pegwell (picture 11), passing the side-by-side Belle Vue (picture 12) and Sir Stanley Gray pubs.
The road briefly meets the coast again above a wooden boardwalk where the houses of Pegwell end. Here there are good views across Pegwell Bay to the three smokestacks of the disused Richborough Power Station (picture 13), before the road curves away from the coast again.
A short distance up the road the Thanet Coast Path turns left along a footpath, passing a couple of old coastguard cottages before following a rough, shady footpath above the edge of the bay (picture 14). The path passes the big white farmhouse of Little Cliffend Farm before rounding the corner of the bay with the houses of Cliffs End visible ahead (picture 15). After passing through a brief section of dense scrub, the path emerges in a long grassy park between the A256 Sandwich Road and the shore (picture 16).
A short distance along the park, the path passes the Hugin (picture 17), a replica viking longship that was sailed from Denmark in 1949 to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of the Saxon landing at nearby Ebbsfleet.
The path continues south, following a tarmac cycle track behind a petrol station and then heads across some marshy land before bearing off to the left of the cycle track and taking a fairly straight route through Pegwell Bay Country Park (picture 18).
After around a kilometre the path takes a right-angle turn to the right and 500 metres later the path comes to a metal kissing gate and the end of the Thanet Coast Path (picture 19).
From here, I rejoined the cycle path, which soon joins the main road past the old Richborough Power Station (picture 20). A little under an hour's walk along the cycle track beside the road leads the former Cinque Port town of Sandwich, where I had a nice pub lunch in The New Inn before setting off to complete the Sandwich to Deal stage of the Saxon Shore Way.