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Pegwell Bay - Infilled Dry Valley PDF Print
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Grid Reference: TR354644

The Pegwell Bay RIGS lies within the Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve and is part of the Thanet Coast SSSI.

The site consists of an asymmetric valley, steeper on the westward facing side, cut into the Uintacrinus zone of the Cretaceous Upper Chalk. This chalk has been reduced to a diamicton (a mixture of chalk fragments ranging in size from small boulders to paste) by Ice Age frost action. Filling of the valley began before about 88,000 BP and continued until at least 74,000 BP. The fill consists of a basal flinty gravel 1m to 2m thick followed by 5m of silty loams and capped by solifluction flint gravel and loess. Some of the gravels are disturbed by involutions. A major involution occurs just west of the main valley fill. A 4 metre thick layer of loess, dated at about 19-14,000 BP, blankets the site. Its lower 3 metres are a yellowish calcareous silt whilst the upper metre is completely decalcified and a chocolate brown colour that exhibits a rough prismatic jointing.

The reasons for designation as a RIGS are:-

  • The site is one of only two sites where a section through a filled dry valley is available for study; the other is at Birling Gap.
  • The site contains a classic deposit of loess (wind blown dust) known to be amongst the thickest and most studied in the UK.
  • The site is excellent for demonstrating the effects of Ice Age periglacial processes on the chalklands of Britain. It is a valuable resource for schools, colleges, universities and life long learning.

Access And Safety

The site is safe to visit except if people want to examine the cliff face after very wet or frosty weather, when it is advisable to maintain a distance of at least 5 metres from the cliff, in case of falling cliff debris. Hard hats should be worn whenever research or close examination of the cliff section is carried out.


RIGS in Kent


(Regionally Important Geological Sites) 

RIGS are geological sites that are important for historical, scientific research or educational reasons.

Important information about visiting RIGS >>

SSSI’s in Kent 

sssi(Sites of Special Scientific Interest) 

SSSIs give legal protection to the best sites for wildlife and geology in England. 

Important information about visiting SSSI's >>