Birchington, Epple Bay And Minnis Bay

A Memory of Birchington

Birchington with two bays and a village atmosphere 'in town'. A rail station with the most wonderful ice cream parlour opposite - wicker chairs on those old fashioned curved steel bases and circular wicker tables with glass tops - and ice cream to die for! Mr Whippy was barely born when ice cream in glass or metal dishes on stems with tasty wafers (unlike those of the 21st century) were the treat of all time! Models of knickerbocker glories and banana splits at 5 times the price of ice cream in dishes lined glass shelves behind the counter, always aspired to - disappointing when actually had one at what used to be Pelosi, Ramsgate in 1993! Birchington High Street full of little shops with interesting windows leading to the church, square and war memorial, a junction of roads leading out into Kent sea and countryside - and to the Thanet Way to London. Easterly from the High Street through attractive residential areas is Epple Bay. From the cliff top road sweeping round the golf course and blue and green tiled roofs to West Bay, a long slope leads down under a bridge to the Bay, perhaps the only undeveloped utterly natural habitat for rock climbing, caving, rock pools, and sea creatures, the views across the North Sea exhilarating as the wind off the sea and huge waves lashing the rocks. To the west, the once smart Bungalow Hotel at Minnis Bay, one of the few shingle beaches in Thanet but offering wide vistas out to sea and along the promenade to Reculver Towers. An advantage in the 50s was free parking right opposite the beach offering sea views from driving seat and perhaps putting on the nearby golf course. Variety indeed for a village as Birchington became known, many homes in prime position on the cliffs for outstanding sea views. One particularly attractive chapel style bungalow on Epple Bay cliffs with others nearby began losing its garden to the sea. One wonders how much exists in 2011! A family home across the road was always glad of comparative safety. What a shock the writer had in the 1990s to see the family chalet bungalow demolished and about to be replaced! With Margate and nearby resorts enjoying a seaside heyday, Birchington retained its slightly 'select' atmosphere. Quex Park and Museum held a fascination to local children as they cycled past on days out. This 1950s Thanet child always suspected it was haunted and never actually visited the Museum for some reason. To see high profile outdoor music festivals advertised there in the 21st century seems to expel such myths! But then a giant was supposed to live in one of the caves at Epple Bay!

A memory shared by Sandra Dudley , on Feb 2nd, 2011.

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