Photographer: Philip Hadland
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Grid Reference: TR132675
Thanet Coast amalgamates four SSSIs: Bishopstone Cliffs, Plumpudding Island and North Thanet Coast previously notified under the 1981 Act, and North Cliff Broadstairs notified under the 1949 Act. The site incorporates large extensions, and part is managed by Canterbury City Council as a Country Park. Parts of this site will also be noted in "A Geological Conservation Review".
The site, extending almost uninterrupted from Swalecliffe to Ramsgate, comprises mainly unstable cliff and foreshore (including shingle, sand and mudflats), with smaller areas of saltmarsh, coastal lagoons, coastal gill woodland and cliff-top grassland. There are a number of biological, geological and geomorphological features of interest within the site.
The section of coast between Beltinge and Reculver exposes the Thanet Formation, the Woolwich and Reading Beds Formation, the Oldhaven Formation and the London Clay Formation. It is the key on-land Palaeocene site in the London Basin, and is one of Britain's most important palaeobotanical localities. The Thanet Beds contain a range of plant organs including as-yet-undescribed fruits and seeds. In addition, this section is the only locality to yield determined wood from the Woolwich Beds and one of only two sites to have yielded plant material from the Oldhaven Beds. The clays here contain a substantial assemblage with two families, six genera and numerous species unique to this site in the London Clay flora. Three genera Palaeobruguier (mangrove), Shrubsolea (Rutaceae) and Jenkinsella (Ceridiphyllaceae) are unique to this site. A rich invertebrate and vertebrate fossil fauna also occurs within the site and the section has been extensively studied over many years. The best exposures currently occur on the foreshore, and many of the best are towards the Spring tide and Low Water mark.
The stretch of coastline between Epple Bay and Ramsgate is the national reference locality for the Santonian stage of the Upper Cretaceous chalk in Britain.
For more detailed information on this remarkable SSSI site visit the English Nature website.
(Regionally Important Geological Sites)
RIGS are geological sites that are important for historical, scientific research or educational reasons.
(Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
SSSIs give legal protection to the best sites for wildlife and geology in England.