Splashing out in Toddlers Cove
In the 19th century a tributary of the Stour, possibly following the original course of the ancient river, looped through the area that became Toddlers Cove.
This site was transformed into an open air swimming pool in 1876, when numerous Roman artefacts were unearthed.
The pool immediately became very popular – and remained popular until well into the 20th century.
Older readers may remember how Toddlers Cove provided the city with its own ‘riviera’ –with boating lakes and a paddling pool as well as the swimming pool. There were also donkey rides and sand pits.
The area continues to be a children’s play area and riverside picnic site. Some new, gym-style equipment was added in 2011. For many, Toddlers Cove has become a starting point for the Great Stour Way, a path shared by pedestrians and cyclists which follows the river to Chartham.
Strange goings on in the Cove
A crazy coven of witches or warlocks?
An ancient ceremony to see the light?
What kind of close encounter was going on here on a humid night in August?
I remember the ‘feisty’ donkeys
From Anne Belworthy: My uncle, Bill Dunk, looked after the donkey-rides – he was also the landlord of the Oddfellows Arms in St Peter’s Place. Some of the donkeys, although loved by my uncle, were feisty.I well remember one running away with me on its back and hanging on for dear life when it stopped to drink from the river.
Why not send us your memories of Toddlers Cove – and pictures from the family album too.
Contact us by email or write to Friends of Westgate Parks, c/o Canterbury City Council, Community Development and Outdoor Leisure, Canterbury, CT1 1YW.
Sisters Lynette Coleman and Jennifer Reed both sent in this picture of them playing in the sand at Toddlers Cove with their brother Nicholas and cousin David in the 1950s.
Test your knowledge of the area with our Westgate Parks Quiz