Pegwell Bay

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Pegwell Bay is a shallow inlet in the English Channel coast astride the estuary of the River Stour north of Sandwich bay, between Ramsgate and Sandwich in Kent. Part of the bay is a nature reserve, with seashore habitats including mudflats and salt marsh with migrating waders and wildfowl. The public can access the nature reserve via Pegwell Bay Country Park, which is off the A256 Ramsgate to Dover road.

Pegwell Bay in 1858 is recorded in a much-reproduced landscape painting by William Dyce, now in the Tate Gallery: Pegwell Bay, Kent – a Recollection of October 5th 1858.[1]

In the 19th Century a pleasure pier was built in an effort to establish a seaside resort to rival nearby Ramsgate. This was not a success however, and was dismantled before the end of the century.

A full-size replica Scandinavian longboat complete with shields is situated by the main road on the low clifftops above Pegwell Bay to commemorate the first Anglo-Saxon landings in England hereabouts. The replica, named Hugin, sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949 to celebrate the 1,500th anniversary of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, the traditional landing of Hengist and Horsa, and the bethrothal of Hengist's daughter, Rowena, to King Vortigern of Kent. Out of 53 crewmen only the navigator, Peter Jensen, was a professional seaman. Historic conditions were faithfully observed but with the addition of a Sextant. The Hugin was offered as a gift to Ramsgate and Broadstairs by the Daily Mail in order for it to be preserved for centuries. The ship underwent extensive restoration in 2004–5.[2][3]

Nearby Ebbsfleet is the site of the landing of the first Christian mission to southern England, St. Augustine, in 597 AD, commemorated by St Augustine's Cross.

The Bay has extreme tides, similar to those of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as treacherous bogs at low tide amongst the otherwise firm sands. These are used as plot points in Dennis Wheatley's 1938 thriller, Contraband. The attached map of Kent in the book shows two of the heroes in difficulties at Pegwell Bay.

At the north east corner of the bay are the remains of Hoverlloyd's cross-channel hoverport. Vehicle and passenger carrying hovercraft were operated here from 1969 until 1982.

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Coordinates: 51°18′N 1°23′E / 51.300°N 1.383°E / 51.300; 1.383