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THANET COAST PATH - PART 1
Reculver to Birchington

The Thanet Coast Path is a 20-mile route around the coast of the Isle of Thanet from Reculver via Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay. I did this part of the walk on 25th November 2007 after finishing off the last stage of the Wantsum Walk which had conveniently left me only a mile or so away from Reculver.

St Mary's Church, Reculver
St Mary's Church, Reculver
Northern Sea Wall, Reculver
(1) St Mary's Church, Reculver
(2) St Mary's Church, Reculver
(3) Northern Sea Wall, Reculver

From Reculver I headed down past the twin towers of St Mary's church at Reculver, photos 1 and 2, and on to the Northern Sea Wall, photo 3. To my right I passed alongside the beds of the shellfish hatchery.

Northern Sea Wall, nr Reculver
Northern Sea Wall, nr Reculver
Turnstone
(4) Northern Sea Wall, nr Reculver
(5) Northern Sea Wall, nr Reculver
(6) Turnstone

To be honest this was a fairly boring section of path to walk along with the fields of the Wantsum channel on my right and the sea to the left, particularly as I had only walked along it a few weeks earlier when doing the Wantsum Walk. The broad tarmac path along the top of the sea wall continuing ahead for some 3 1/2 miles with little variation, photo 4, except for the colour of tarmac which changes from pink to black and then back to pink again, photo 5. The one major difference though from when I had last walk this stretch of the coast was the amount of birds about, in fact I can't recall a walk when I have seen such a variety of birds in such a short distance and I spent a considerable amount of time stopping to watch them although most flew off out of camera range when ever I approached near enough to get picture. Happily the Turnstones, photo 6, were less shy as they ran up and down the shoreline.

Comorant
Coastal Lagoon, nr Birchington
Brent Geese
(7) Comorant
(8) Coastal Lagoon, nr Birchington
(9) Brent Geese

The beach along this stretch of coast is regularly split by a number of stone groynes, each one marked at its seaward end by a red topped pole which made a popular resting place for comorants, photo 7. About half way between Reculver and Minnis Bay, at Coldharbour, the sea wall curves round a small costal lagoon that nestles behind a shingle bank, photo 8 which also provided shelter for a number of birds including a Little Egret. Coldharbour once marked the Northern end of the Wantsum channel which used to separate the Isle of Thanet from mainland Kent. In several places in the fields besides the path were also large flocks of Brent Geese, photo 9.

Minnis Bay
Oystercatchers
Tidal Pool, Minnis Bay
(10) Minnis Bay
(11) Oystercatchers
(12) Tidal Pool, Minnis Bay

The route passes another small lagoon known as Plum Pudding island and eventually reaches the broad sweep of Minnis Bay, photo 10 where for a while the route leaves the sea wall and heads along a grassy path over the low cliff top to reach The Parade. Close to the start of Minnis Bay there were a flock of a hundred or so Oystercatchers on the beach, photo 11. I followed The Parade round to the small tidal pool at the end of Minnis Bay, photo 12, before leaving the road and taking the promenade the runs along the base of the cliffs.

Coastal Path, Birchington
Curlew
Grenham Bay
(13) Coastal Path, Birchington
(14) Curlew
(15) Grenham Bay

The promenade, photo 13, runs underneath the low chalk cliffs and the area's of beach being exposed by the receding tide were very popular with birds, as well as the Curlew, photo 14, I also saw a large number Sanderling along with the Turnstones, Oystercatchers and gulls. Continuing along the path the route heads round Grenham Bay, photo 15.

Beresford Gap
Birchington on Sea station
(16) Beresford Gap
(17) Birchington on Sea station

It was staring to get quite gloomy as I made my way round the end of Grenham Bay towards the Beresford Gap where the route of the Thanet Coast Path leaves the coastal promenade, heading uphill to reach a road. The route then turns left along Spencer Road however I continued ahead up Beach Road which leads to Birchington on Sea station where I had parked the car at the start of the day.

Reaching the car the total distance I had walked along the coast path was 5.2 miles and the total distance for the day, including the walk along the Wantsum Walk, 13.3 miles.

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