Water quality continues to improve at popular Cliftonville bathing spot

Walpole Bay

Water quality at Walpole Bay in Cliftonville has maintained its ‘sufficient’ rating for the second year in a row.

Thanet council say the designated bathing area, which includes the ever-popular Victorian tidal pool, is one of “steady improvement” following Poor gradings in 2015 and 2016.

The Environment Agency has been working with the authority and Southern Water on improving bathing water quality since 2014.

TIDAL POOL: The popular swimming pool lies within Walpole Bay

It is one of eight designated bathing areas across Thanet and all others recorded either Good or Excellent readings.

A spokesman from the council says the classification narrowly missed out n achieving a Good grading . “ We were pleased to see that in 2018, Walpole Bay maintained its Sufficient status. Out of 20 readings, only two fell below an Excellent standard meaning it only just missed out on moving up to Good,” they said.

In 2017, the classification moved up from Poor to Sufficient,  this has been since a new stricter four year sampling period came into effect in 2015.

Community groups  organise regular litter picks and encourage bathers to keep the area clean. But Jo Goodson of Walpole Bay Swimmers says more could be done to further improve water quality and the beach’s cleanliness, especially as the number of
bathers visiting the area has grown rapidly following high-profile coverage of the Grade II listed tidal pool.

She added: “We are pleased with the progress made with the water quality and it is thanks to the amazing community, including dog walkers, who regularly clean the beach that there has been a big reduction in litter.

“We would really like to have some toilets and a shower. “It would be great to see the lift working again so that more people can enjoy the beach as we do.”

In  2017 the council allowed dogs on leads to be on the beach. They say this has not had a negative impact on bathing water results.

Designated Bathing Water Testing – Definition by the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency takes up to twenty water samples at each of England’s designated bathing waters during the bathing water season between May and September each year. A classification for each bathing water is calculated annually based on samples from the previous four years. These classifications are, from best to worst:

Excellent – the highest, cleanest seas
Good – generally good water quality
Sufficient – the water meets minimum standards
Poor – the water has not met the new minimum standards. Work is planned to improve bathing waters not yet reaching Sufficient

If water is classified as poor, then a sign advising against bathing will be displayed. However the beach remains open for people to enjoy.

Thanet Designated Bathing Area Grade


Minnis Bay – Excellent


Viking Bay – Good

Botany Bay – Excellent

Stone Bay – Excellent

Joss Bay – Good


Fulsam Rock – Good

Main Sands – Excellent

Westbrook Bay – Excellent

Walpole Bay – Sufficient


Main Sands –  Good

Western Undercliff – Excellent


St Mildred’s Bay – Excellent

West Bay – Excellent


  1. Walpole Bay would be greatly improved if TDC fined dog owners for allowing their animals to chase thrown stones into the tidal pool. This happens daily all year round.

    • Not sure how this affects the situation.

      1. Recent research shows that people with pets and exposed to their normal bacteria are actually healthier than those who don’t own pets.

      2. Dogs would never voluntarily enter water in order to urinate or defaecate. The same cannot be said for humans, especially young children.

  2. Quote “The ever popular Victorian tidal pool”..
    Hardly victorian as an article in this very publication in June 2017 states that Walpole Bay tidal pool is 80 years old. It was opened on the 25th June 1937. That would make both my parents from the Victorian age.. I don’t think so but I’ll ask my mum..

  3. The fresh water springs rising from under the beach in the confinements of the pool walls along with the water being changed twice a day may be a part reason why it is improving. Also, the fact that the sewage treatment outlet at Forness Point hasn’t failed over this time period would be another reason for cleaner waters.
    Walpole is getting more and more popular and last summer saw the biggest crowds each day for years. There is a need for the toilets and Lifeguards to be brought back again to serve the crowds. It would help with policing the fools using barbecues on the promenade along with blasting out noisy music whilst stoned or drunk, to the annoyance of beach users.

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