The Goodwin Sands is a 10-mile-long sandbank in the English Channel, six miles off the Deal coast. It comprises a deep layer of fine sand over a bed of chalk. Tides and currents constantly shift the sands which can be covered to depths of around 20ft to 50ft and, at times, exposed to provide a "beach" favoured by basking seals and, on rare occasions, a pitch for an impromptu (and fast!) game of cricket.
The proximity of the Goodwin Sands to the major shipping lanes through the Straits of Dover has proved a major factor in the loss of more than 2,000 ships. Notable shipwrecks include the HMS Stirling Castle in 1703, VOC ship Rooswijk in 1740, the SS Montrose in 1914 and even the South Goodwin Lightship, which broke free from its anchor moorings during a storm in 1954.
Over the years, several major development ideas have been suggested for using the Sands. These include:
a 1968 proposal to the Ministry of Transport for construction of a deep water port;
a 1985 proposal for developing an international freeport with a two-runway airport by consultants Sir Bruce
White Wolfe Barry and Partners; and
in December 2012, proposals by engineering firm Beckett Rankine for a £39-billion UK-hub airport with up to five offshore runways.
The proposals have remained just that - proposals.
In January 2013, the Sands yielded up the wreckage of a German Dornier bomber shot down during Battle of Britain in 1940. The aircraft was described as being in 'remarkable condition' with wings and engines intact.
Following restoration, it is scheduled to join other exhibits at the RAF Museum at Hendon.
Read more about the Goodwin Sands...
The Goodwin Sands: Ships’ graveyard or Britain’s heritage?An article by by David Chamberlain published in the former Deal Today magazine in 2007. DealWeb local history feature.