34a – Broadstairs to Ramsgate

Today the sky was a rich blue; the tide was out.  There was only the hint of a chill in the air, and Dumpton Gap was looking very appealing indeed.

The chalk cliffs just to the south of Dumpton Gap are full of shallow caves, eroded by the sea over many years.  Some are quite deep.

Having investigated a cave or two, our children turned their attention to beachcombing.  Whereas last week’s scavenging produced a hoard of crab and mussel shells, there were none of those to be seen here.  Instead, limpets ruled the rocks.

We were able to observe something about limpets I had found out about only recently:  limpets have a home base.  Whilst they move around when the tide is in, when it goes back out again they return to exactly the same place, time after time.  They attach themselves to exactly the same piece of rock, and over time they form a little depression, known as a scar.  You can see it in the photo below:

A short time later we found a scar without a limpet.  Presumably the limpet had died, leaving only a chiseled gravestone for its epitaph.

Further out to sea was a strange little stone post, close to the breaking waves and completely on its own.  There was no inscription on it, but its smooth corners suggested that it had been there for many years.  I think this was a “snubbing post” which barges used when loading tar and coke here a long time ago.

As we approached Ramsgate, we stopped beachcombing and came in closer to the cliffs.  Here we found the “Great Wall of Ramsgate”.  This is rather a grand name for what is actually just a hoarding around a building site where luxury flats are being developed.  At first glance it looked to me to be little more than something of passing interest, designed to make a temporary hoarding slightly more attractive.

How wrong could I have been?  We didn’t count all of the paintings, but they were many and varied.

Some of the paintings were colourful and dramatic.

Some of the paintings were altogether more calm.

Some were there just to be stared at for hours on end (this was my favourite one):

Some were of places we had already passed.  Compare this picture of Dumpton Gap with the first picture I happened to take for this post.

This place has been on our horizon for weeks.

Some paintings were of places we have yet to reach (I think we’ll see this on our next walk).

Some seemed to defy the laws of gravity – surely the sea should drain away to the left of this picture? (This painting is of Ramsgate harbour.  We arrived there later in the day and every photo I took seemed to be slanting one way or another, so in fact this picture is quite accurate!).

Some were lighthearted and amusing.

Some were asking for trouble.  The Queen flashing a bit of thigh?

And if Queen Elizabeth might raise an eyebrow about that one, I worry about what Queen Victoria would have made of this:

Many of the paintings are by local artists.  Some of these local artists are school children.  There are over 100 paintings which line the walls of this building site.  It is sad to think that the hoarding will, when the development is complete, be removed.  I hope these paintings will be kept and moved to a gallery, and then added to.  If Margate can build the Turner Contemporary then surely Ramsgate can rise to the call.

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Dumpton Gap:  N 51° 20.905 E 001° 26.375
  • Great Wall of Ramsgate:  N 51° 19.994 E 001° 25.522

Walk #34 Statistics (the entire walk from Dumpton Gap to Ramsgate and on to Cliffsend, of which this post forms the first part):

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5 Responses to 34a – Broadstairs to Ramsgate

  1. Jody says:

    Wonderful post! I really enjoyed your commentary and the great photos. Love the limpets, too!

  2. Jill says:

    Ditto what Jody said – great post and I loved the limpet story too 🙂

    Are the chalk walls you’ve been seeing the past couple of posts *really* chalk – or are
    they just called chalk because they are white? Just curious 🙂

    • Wingclipped says:

      Hi Jill – yes, they are really chalk. All the way along the cliff section there is graffiti where people have picked bits up and declared undying love for someone, or just scribbled their name and the date on the sea wall. Nic

  3. Pingback: 34b – Ramsgate to Cliffs End « The Coastal Path

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