Pegwell Bay

Pegwell Bay

One of the benefits of living on an island is that we have a coastline of enormous variety, scenic beauty and interest. Artists through history have got inspiration from the coast and have left us with an historical record.

In the 19th Century Pre-Raphaelite artists were particularly fond of the Kent coast and have left us an accurate record of the landscape at that time.

Pegwell Bay Dyce

Pegwell Bay Dyce

William Dysce’s Pegwell Bay, Kent – a Recollection of October 5th 1858 captures the sighting of the Donati’s Comet in the sky. The painting shows the artist’s wife, her sisters and his son on the beach collecting shells at low tide.

Foraging

Foraging

When I visited there was no one collecting shells but there were a team of foragers. Will, a very pleasant young man introduced me to the two types of samphire; rock and golden. Their harvest ends up in a few local restaurants but mainly to top end ones in London. Other than a couple of dog walkers and the foragers the scene was empty and very much like Dysce’s picture.

Erosion Pegwell Bay

Initially you can be fooled into thinking the landscape hasn’t changed that much in 150 years but look again the evidence of erosion is abundant. Trees grow on perilous overhangs and are close to inevitable collapse. Smooth chalk stones that were once part of the cliff face now form a pathway between the foreshore and the cliffs.

Erosion Pegwell Bay

The light was hazy and the sun blocked by a solid sheet of cloud. Flocks of shell ducks were grazing in the exposed pools and other than the birdsong it was extraordinarily quiet.

Empty egg cases Dog Fish

Empty egg cases Dog Fish

There was an abundance of empty dogfish eggs and unfortunately too much rubbish. This is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world and collecting the rubbish must be like painting the Forth Bridge.

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