THE WHITE CLIFFS OF HAVING A DREAM ACCOMPANIED ME AS A CHILD
The white cliffs of Dover, a dream that has accompanied me since I was a child, since when I looked through a book of elementary school, I saw the image of the cliffs, which was fixed in my mind. Recent and past history tells us that they played an important role, as well as being immortalized in numerous movie sets. They are limestone formations overlooking the sea and their height exceeds 100 meters. They overlook the English Channel and are the closest point to France, only 33 km away. On a clear day you can see the French coast, which with the English Channel and the port are for those arriving from continental Europe, the gateway to England. One of the theories on their genesis is the canal was created by erosion of the sea, in fact near Calais in France there is a white cliff identical to Dover.
During one of the bank holidays in May I decided together with my roommate, to visit this beautiful landscape. So, we left on Friday evening with a convenient National Express bus departing from Victoria Station and in just over two hours we arrived at Deal, a small village a few kilometres north of Dover. Here we found a comfortable room in an Air BNB, which we had previously booked online. I recommend in any case that you always take your in time, since the area is very popular with tourists who love photography and landscapes. Coming back to us, the house seemed very nice and cared for and the couple who hosted us (A German gentlemen full of ideas and a distinguished English lady) comfortable and really nice, with whom we spent a part of the evening exchanging anecdotes about the area. The next morning, we woke up early and after having had a filling breakfast with homemade bread and blueberry jam to say the least was very delicious, we began our discovery of the territory.
WALMER E KINGSDOWN
We departed from the castle of Deal built by Henry VIII in 1539 to counter the invasion of possible enemies. The first part of the walk to get to Walmer is flat on the seafront in the early hours of the morning accompanied by the smell of fish and chips that comes from kiosks and stalls. A peculiarity of this street is the presence, on the sides of numerous memorial benches. The road continues along an asphalt path, then passing on a pebble beach, all to land in the village of Kingsdown, from which we can finally catch a glimpse off the cliffs. Right here in Kingsdown, arrived Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926, a Guinness fatigue, a Guinness effort, says a swimming instructor like me!
From here we started the climb, from where we could admire a real natural spectacle: wide expanses of green meadows, the classic English countryside, the white cliffs and the ocean to our left. With a beautiful sunny day, like the one we found ourselves, all these colours, green, blue and white, shone; together with the air we breathed gave us feelings of joy and excitement.
We continued to Saint Margaret’s, where the path had led us to the bay. Following the stairs, you go down to the sea, but be careful, because there will be some steep and narrow passages. At the end of the descent, we found ourselves in an enchanting secluded bay surrounded by cliffs, where there was a historic pub called “The Coastguard”, where we could have lunch.
SOUTH FORELAND LIGHTHOUSE
After this pleasant and rejuvenating stop, we resumed our journey to the South Foreland Lighthouse, a Victorian lighthouse that was built to guide sailors across the Strait of Dover. At about 5km from the coast there is a 16km long and constantly changing sandbank, known as Goodwin Sands, which causes panic on the unsuspecting ships that call in the area. The lighthouse can be visited at a cost of £6, and inside there is also a lovely tea room, with a wide choice of tastes. You cannot miss the view from the top of the tower. I think that it was the first lighthouse in the world to use electric light!
The city of Dover is not far away. The last part of the route that remains is first on a dirt road, which takes us along the undulating cliffs with breath taking views towards Dover (remember to look back every now and then!) and then instead the path becomes gravel. On a clear day you can see France and we were lucky because we succeeded! Finally, we arrive at the port, which is the most important in England and then we arrived in front of the majestic castle.The castle being the most important monument of the city, which offers a fantastic view of the landscape below.
It’s was now time to revive some of energy, first in an English pub (as usual) and then with a delicious dinner in an Italian restaurant, which I recommend, called “Dino’s”. We came back by train from Dover station to Deal and so our day, after this walk of about 16km, had come to an end.
END: Dover priory
HOW TO GET:
- by train: there are direct trains that leave from London St Pancras station, the journey takes 1h 20min www.southeasternrailway.co.uk
- by bus: from London Victoria Coach Station you can take the National Express bus, the journey takes 2h and a half you can check the website for schedules and tickets www.nationalexpress.com
DISTANCE: 16 Km
TIME: for the walk and some stops keep 5/6 hours
WHEN TO GO: all year round
- The trek can also start from the city of Dover, you have to climb ladders from the port and follow the sign “Footpath” and at the top you will find the sign for the white cliffs.
- Comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Bring water and food. There are not many refreshment points along the way.