Originally called the "Green Man"
this pub is now titled the "Coastguard" to honour the original coastguard
station built in 1737 housing six men and a boat.
It changed name after being rebuilt in 1951 after being accidentally flattened
by the Canadians on target practise during WW2.
Historic pub opens its doors once more
From the Dover Mercury 16 August 2001
NEW LIFE: Nigel Wydymus and Sam Robinson-Wildman at The
A NEW lease of life has begun for an historic pub at St Margaret's which
only a year ago was threatened with closure.
New licensees Nigel Wydymus
and Sam Robinson-Wildman officially opened The Coastguard, overlooking
St Margaret's Bay, on Monday.
There had been fears the 300-year old pub
would close after an application was made to convert it to a dwelling.
The proposal for the only pub in the Bay stirred much opposition from
locals and the Campaign for Real Ale. It was thrown out by Dover
District Council in January.
The picturesque seafront location is a main
attraction for Mr Wydymus and Ms Robinson-Wildman who are taking on the
business, having previously tackled high-powered London jobs.
Robinson-Wildman's parents live in the village and she knows the spot
The pub is the nearest British hostelry to France with good views on a
clear day. There is a shipwreck a few hundred yards off shore and a pill
box and Napoleonic wall behind it.
Mr Wydymus has Scottish roots, but previously worked in London as a
project manager for large scale events including rock concerts.
Robinson-Wildman's background is in theatre and catering. She has worked
as stage manager for West End hits including Oliver and Phantom of the
Their vision for the pub is to create an active and lively
community asset which attracts both locals and
visitors. Special events such as Beaujolais nights will be on the
It will be open daily from 11am to 11pm around the year with
food being served throughout the day.
Developing a reputation for
excellent cuisine is a priority and the plan is to open up the first
The emphasis will be on modern British cuisine, using local produce
including game, seafood and vegetables.
"Being on the beach is such a
good location and the main thing we love about the spot," said Ms Robinson-Wildman.
The pub was originally called The Green Man. It was
accidentally flattened during the Second World War by the Canadians on
target practise. It was re-opened and the name changed in 1951 to The
The pub of his dreams.
From the Dover Mercury 17 January, 2002
CHANGE OF SCENERY: Nigel Wydymus, new landlord of the
Coastguard Ref 27623
Two years of scouring the South
Coast has given Nigel Wydymus, with his fiancée Sam Robinson-wildman,
the pub of his dreams - The Coastguard at St Margaret's.
"There's the location, the views, the atmosphere, the relaxed mix of
people, the gorgeous scenery and you can just sit and watch a couple of
ships going past."
Which is as dramatic a contrast as can be imagined from working on
Rolling Stones and U2 tours and delivering the Millennium Dome contents
His unusual surname is owed to his father's luck in escaping his
homeland at the outbreak of the Second World War.
"He was on the last ship to leave Poland," said Nigel, 42. "He went
to Canada, then to Britain to join the Free Polish Navy and saw service
on the convoys and a good few battles.
"Stationed in Scotland, he met my mother and in 1948 they
Nigel was brought up in Ardrossan on Scotland's West Coast and friends
introduced him to the music business. "I started hanging out with them having a great time and ended up going
to Glasgow for training."
It was an endlessly challenging and rewarding experience as he worked on
the concepts and designs for the Rock world's greatest talents.
"You have to be tremendously focused, because everything is to an
absolute deadline - if you have 30,000 fans waiting you've got to get it
right first time there's no room for: 'Sorry, oops, it'll be another
"Outside it looks a really aggressive place to work but it's very, very
focused and a hell of a lot of fun! People are relying on you to get the
tour on to the next night, the next country, the next
continent and you have to make sure that Part A fits into Part B every
Delivering the Dome contents meant that he and Sam knew what would be
inside years before the rest of Britain and he has very positive
memories of what it meant to non-politicans.
"The Dome was absolutely brilliant - it's just a shame that it became
a politicians' football."
They found The Coastguard because they were visiting Sam's family in the
area and knew-instantly it was all they hoped for in a pub/restaurant.
Now they are busy preparing for their wedding: "We've chosen January 25
- it's Burns Night so there's no danger of me ever forgetting the date"
From the Dover Express, 16 April, 2009
Coastguard has sole
Report by Yamurai Zendera
Cooking up a storm: Head chef and joint owner of The Coastguard Pub, St
Margaret's Bay, Sam Wydymus.
A HEAD chef has had the honour of writing a recipe for the new Kentish
fresh fish guide from Produced in Kent.
Sam Wydymus, 39, who can be found
cooking up a storm at the Coastguard pub and restaurant in St Margaret's
Bay, was approached by the food group to provide the sole recipe on
which the Soul to Sole Fish Trail guide is based.
mum-of-two, who is also co-owner with husband Nigel, 47, said she was
delighted to be given the honour of contributing to the latest offering
of the firm's Food Trails series - which highlights some of the products
most closely associated with the county.
She said: "It's such an honour
to be asked, especially when
there are so many other great fish restaurants in Kent.
Coastguard to be asked to write the recipe on which the book is based is
like being asked to represent Kent in the food Olympics."
who is due to give birth in August, added: "As the closest UK
restaurant to France, we've always felt duty-bound to be an ambassador
for Kentish food, drink and hospitality.
"We have the Garden of Kent
behind us and the wide open sea in front. People come here expecting
amazing local fish."
Despite this latest honour, the
award winning business has seen trade hit by the credit crisis and
Mr Wydymus, a former production manager for the Rolling
Stones and U2, said: "Our growth is not as high as we would have hoped.
"We aim for 10 per cent growth a year in sales and income, but our
growth has been about five per cent.
"We are not overly concerned about
it but it's something to be aware of People are being more cautious
about what they do with their money.
"We have to make sure we still
offer value for money and quality."
The couple started their business in
2001 and employ 28 people.
From the Dover Mercury, Thursday 21 January 2010.
SOUR BREAD IS A SWEET ADDITION AT RESTAURANT.
CHEF Sam Wydymus is reviving the old tradition of bread being baked
in St Margaret's.
"Many moons ago, long before supermarkets took over the world, the
little village of St Margaret's at Cliffe had its own bakery," she said.
"In my never-ending search for good bread, I have decided to
re-establish the tradition."
Armed with a bucket, some grapes, some Crabble Mill flour and a
rolling pin to bash it all up with, she is growing her own wild yeast to
make the first sour-dough loaf to be baked in the village for many
Sam is head chef at The "Coastguard" in St Margaret's Bay, which has
been known for the freshly baked bread served in its restaurant since
opening nine years ago.
"When snow recently cut the village off from the rest of the world, I
was called upon to bake extra and the idea was born. We are making bread
the way our Neolithic ancestors would have done," she said. "We have to
feed it twice daily and you are under no doubt you are dealing with a
living breathing organism - we've even given it a name!"
Making bread entirely from scratch using local ingredients not only
fits in with The "Coastguard's" local produce ethic, but has the added
advantage of making bread with character and a naturally long life. The
first loaves of St Margaret's Bay Sour Dough will be available in late
February with plans for a twice-weekly baking service.
Now Sam is researching some historical recipes for spring including a
yeasted simnel cake and even a beer brewed from the mother yeast just in
time for Easter.
From the Dover Express, 18 February, 2010
SAM BAKES UP A FLAVOUR OF THE PAST IN THE BAY
THERE was a time when every village would have had its own bakery,
producing wonderfully fresh and tasty loaves day in and day out. The
rise of the supermarket and changing tastes may have put an end to this
tradition in most places, but in St Margaret's it looks as if the smell
of fresh bread being lovingly bakad could be wafting over the village
once again. So we sent reporter RHYS GRIFFITHS to find out why old
traditions are coming back to life.
AS you wind your way down into the depths of St Margaret's Bay, an
everyday piece of technology reminds you just how isolated this
beautiful spot at the foot of the cliffs really is.
Down at sea level, the chalk rising up around you means your mobile
phone loses contact with the network - then picks up a signal beamed
across the Channel from France.
This can make this picturesque part of the village feel slightly
removed from the rest of the country behind it, but it is nothing
compared to the very real dislocation caused by extreme weather.
As the bay is linked to St Margaret's-at-Cliffe by steep roads, when
it snows those living below can find themselves cut off from the wider
This was exactly what happened during last month's cold snap, as
conditions meant villagers could not get out for essential supplies.
For Sam Wydymus, head chef at The "Coastguard" which she owns with
husband Nigel, this could have been a disaster for business but instead
it became the start of a whole new venture.
The 40-year-old, who took over the pub and restaurant almost a decade
ago, explained how conversations with regulars during the snowy weather
led to the idea of setting up a bakery on site.
"It was one of those bizarre conversations you have," she said. "We
could not get further than the village, but we said at least we had
bread and lots of beer, so it went from there.
"We wondered what would happen if we couldn't get yeast. WeIl, you
can still make sourdough."
The talk in the bar, which has a reputation for producing good food
using locally sourced ingredients, turned to the village's past and the
days when bread was baked there.
This led mum-of-three Sam to decide to revive that tradition.
She said: "We were talking to people about the last bakery in the
village years ago. Now people go to he supermarkets, but this was
harking back to the days of the I shop on the corner."
"So it was a little bit of that nostalgia and the fact that we have
kitchens which brought this about. Making bread entirely from scratch
using local ingredients not only fits in with The Coastguard's
local-produce ethic but has the added advantage of making bread with
character and a naturally long life."
Now Sam, who appears regularly on BBC Radio Kent as a foodie expert,
is producing a range of different sourdough breads and is hoping to
create new flavours through experimental recipes.
It is hoped that once these have been perfected, customers will be
able to place orders for bread tailor-made to their own taste.
The first loaves of St Margaret's Bay Sourdough will be available
from the pub later this month, with plans for a twice-weekly baking
service, but Sam joked that, if it really takes off, she could always
send her kids out on their bikes to deliver to homes in the village.
Whatever the future does hold, one thing is for sure - the days of
the smell of freshly baked bread wafting over St Margaret's have
returned for good.
The bread is on sale for £2 a loaf. For more Information, call 01304
Helping hand: Reporter Rhys Griffiths mucks in under Sam's watchful
What is sourdough? Sourdough is one of the oldest breads, made using
only flour and water, harnessing the wild yeast that is in the air
Using natural yeast means it has an individual taste, depending on
where it is made, an example of terroir, usually a wine concept.
Sourdough probably originated in Ancient Egypt, and remained the most
common bread in Europe until the Middle Ages.
How Sam makes sourdough. All you need is water and flour mixed up in
To speed things up, Sam uses organic grapes in a muslin bag, bashed
with a roiling pin to release some juice, then placed in the bucket.
This mixture, which will become the "mother" of the sourdough, is
covered and left for two weeks.
For the next week. It is fed with flour and water twice a day.
After this, a small amount of mix is taken, water and flour are
added, and it is all mixed together and left to prove. After three to
five hours, the dough should have doubled in size, then more flour is
added and the dough-kneaded.
This final dough is left for another 3-5 hours before baking.
From Your Dover 20 February 2010 BY NICK AMES
Pub turns back clock to revive village bakery.
AN AGE-OLD tradition is being resurrected at a pub at St Margaret's Bay.
Using techniques dating back to pre-history, The Coastguard - a popular
inn by the sea - is baking its own bread.
In the past the small village
had its own bakery, which partially inspired the idea, and the plans
received a boost when the pub started making its own bread to feed
customers when the village was cut off by recent snow.
Head chef Sam Wydymus explained why she decided to take on the challenge.
"Many moons ago, long before supermarkets took over the world, the
little village of St Margaret's at Cliffe had its own bakery. Now I want
to re-establish the tradition."
Using a bucket, some grapes, some
"Crabble Mill" flour and a rolling-pin to bash it all up, Sam is growing
her own wild yeast to make the first sour-dough loaf to be baked in the
village for many years.
She said: "The Coastguard has been well known
for the freshly-baked bread served in its restaurant since opening nine
"When snow recently cut the village off from the rest of the
world, I was called upon to bake extra and the idea was born.
making bread the way our Neolithic ancestors would have done. We feed it
twice daily and you are under no doubt you are dealing with a living,
"Making bread entirely from scratch using local
ingredients not only fits in with The Coastguard's local-produce ethic
but has the added advantage of making bread with character and a
naturally long life.
"The first loaves of St Margaret's Bay Sour Dough
will be available late February with plans for a twice-weekly baking
From the Dover Express, Thursday 2 September, 2010
FOODIES PREPARE FOR BATTLE WITH FRENCH
Pub festival celebrates traditional food and drink
Report by Rhys Griffiths
FOODIES: Chef Sam Wydymus is looking forward to this weekend's
Historical Food Festival.
A GASTRONOMIC battle between Britain and France is set to take place
in St Margaret's Bay this weekend.
The Coastguard pub, which sits in a picturesque location by the
Channel, is hosting a Historical Food Festival celebrating the very best
in grub from both sides of the Dover Strait.
Getting underway at 10am on Sunday, the event will feature competing
foodies from both nations facing off in what the organisers describe as
their "little medieval encampment" by the sea.
Among those taking part from France will be master cheesemonger
Phillipe Olivier, Opal Coast brewer Christophe Noyons and fish smokers
JC David of Boulogne.
Representing the home nation will be the enigmatically-named Tom the
Cheese, brewers from Gadds of Ramsgate and tasty treats from the Weald
Chef Sam Wydymus, who owns the venue with husband Nigel, said: "All
of these guys are specialists in their fields with tons of awards and
worldwide following, they are also passionate about their subjects. None
could be accused of being shy or retiring.
"This really will be France versus England - south coast verses
north, knives and glasses drawn and ready."
The aim of the festival is to celebrate traditional methods in
production of food and drink, something Sam is very passionate about.
She is know for producing her own sourdough bread at the pub, a
venture inspired during some particularly wintry weather which saw the
village snowbound and cut off from the outside world.
The food festival has been many months in the making, and Sam admits
their could be a some good-natured banter between the two countries.
"These doyens of the French and British foodie world have never
knowingly been in the same county as one another, let alone a tented
village," she said jokingly.
"There is every possibility of an international incident not
dissimilar to Waterloo taking place."
From the Dover Express, Thursday 9 September, 2010
BOMB DISPOSAL TEAM CALLED
A BOMB disposal unit was sent to St Margaret's Bay at the weekend
after reports of a suspicious object on the shoreline.
The specialist team from the Royal Logistics Corps arrived on the
scene on Sunday afternoon after a walker had alerted the coastguard the
On closer inspection the offending item was revealed to be an oil
A coastguard spokesman said: "We encourage members of the public to
report these things. As a precaution we sent the Langdon Bay coastguard
team and the explosives team to check it out."
From the Dover Mercury, Thursday 6 January 2011.
FRANTIC SEARCH AFTER CHALK CLIFF COLLAPSES.
Pictures by MAX HESS and PHIL LOWRY
A HUGE rumbling noise and clouds of dust marked the massive fall of
chalk from the White Cliffs at the bay at St Margaret's on Saturday.
Walkers on the beach fled and at first there were worries children,
seen playing on the foreshore, could have been trapped under the 30
square metre mass.
Emergency services were called and specialist equipment brought in
from across Kent, but no one was found.
Nigel Wydymus, from The "Coastguard" pub and restaurant at the bay,
said: "Luckily the children had moved away literally seconds before the
chalk fall. "They thought it was all great fun, but the parents were not
Mr Wydymus said chalk falls were not so much a surprise after 10 years at
the pub, which was built on the edge of the sea front.
"Thankfully there are no cliffs behind or to the side of us, but
people should have a healthy respect for the area. I do try to
discourage walkers, especially visitors who want to walk from St
Margaret's to Dover along the shoreline."
Mr Wydymus paid tribute to the big response from the emergency
services, who he described as fantastic.
The Coastguard's restaurant supervisor Karen Phillips, who said there had
also been a small cliff fall on December 23, heard Saturday's crash
about 1pm and saw the huge puff of chalk.
She added: "Customers came running in to tell us and we raised the
alarm. It was a worry when we thought there were people trapped."
Fire-fighters from Deal and St Margaret's were called, as well as the
coastguard and ambulance service, police, Kent Air Ambulance and Walmer
Lifeboat. There were also Kent Fire and Rescue's search and rescue dogs.
Deal fire station watch manager Dave Potter said; "It could not be
confirmed that everyone had been accounted for, so a thorough search was
carried out in the joint exercise.
"It was fortuitous that the tide was out and the incident closed at
LIFEBOAT JOINED IN SERACH
WALMER'S RNLI inshore lifeboat was called out shortly after 1.20pm
after fears people were trapped under the huge cliff fall.
The crew searched the shoreline and joined other emergency services on
the beach at St Margaret's on New Year's Day.
Walmer Lifeboat Station's
press and publicity officer Andy Roberts said the 999 call came into
Dover Coastguard from The "Coastguard" pub on the foreshore.
He added: "We were informed that a nearby section of cliff had collapsed
and it was feared that two people were missing and one person was
trapped under the rubble and chalk.
"Walmer ILB helped in searching the foreshore near the fall and the
crew interviewed members or the public who had witnessed the collapse of
a large section of the cliff.
"After an extensive and thorough search it was decided that there was no
one missing and the lifeboat was released and returned to station at
4pm," Warmer lifeboat operations manager Denis Brophy said:
"Following the recent lengthy cold-snap, coupled with a wet few weeks, the
alternating freezing and thawing of water in the fissures in the cliff
have made certain areas very unstable. "People should treat both the
cliff edges and below the cliff
face in that area with extreme caution."
STEVENS P J & MAIN R 1974+
Charrington & Co
WYDYMUS Nigel 2001-10+ &
ROBINSON-WILDMAN (WYDYMUS) Sam 2001-11+
Library archives 1974