I really do like this time of the year and it is not because I like getting up early on dark mornings or enjoy the bitter cold mornings of Ramsgate Station. It is just that I am looking forward to the wintry changes in the weather that will have an effect on our coastline turning up lots of interesting things to be found. I suppose in all the years I have combed Thanet's beaches the period between November and March does account for over most of my finds.
Last year between November and March I concentrated most of my efforts around Ramsgate with the occasional search at Margate when the weather conditions have been favourable. It is amazing just how different the Margate and Ramsgate coastlines are for finding things. Margate is like a well preserved time capsule of history with coastal erosion and shifting sands unearthing the towns historical and seaside past which I have no problem finding things when conditions allow, but then I have focused on Margate for over 40 years and I have well researched the town's history and found over 10,000 items in that period.
Ramsgate on the overhand I am finding a harder nut to crack with its volatile beaches of constantly shifting sands and very little preserved and buried in its sands. During the early 1980's there was a amazing loss of sand on Ramsgate main sands exposing features that have never been seen in living memory before. There were some interesting finds then, mostly coins which were in poor condition and a discovery of a wreck of a customs cutter out off the East Pier.
In the few years that I have worked the Ramsgate beaches I have found that the majority of interesting items are not buried beneath my feet like Margate. They come in off the tide from the seabed offshore which makes the beachcombing more unpredictable and a bit of a challenge. The Western Undercliff and Pegwell Bay has probably the best range of natural history specimens to be found than anywhere else in Thanet and this year I did find my first pieces of Chinese mitten crab.
Today I gave Margate a look, finding a unidentifiable animal tooth, some clay pipe stems and two very old glass bottle necks which is not a bad start to the season.