A Heavenly Holiday Walk: Kingsdown to St Margaret’s Bay Along The White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay, Kent, August 2013

White Cliffs of Dover near St Margaret’s Bay, Kent, August 2013

How strange it is that only a week after writing  Ann of Adam’s Garden – in which I mentioned my first encounter with rock pools – I found myself splashing around in the sea amongst rock pools.

I had been desperate to get away, longing for the sea and to walk. We took a holiday cottage in a little seaside village on the East Kent coast. It was situated a few minutes up from the beach and close to a stretch of the long distance walking route the Saxon Shore Way.

The route is named after the line of historic fortifications that defended the Kent coast at the end of the Roman era. We’ve already walked, a few times, a different stretch of this ancient route.

Top of Path Leading to White Cliffs ingsdown Beach The day after we established ourselves – and cat – in the cottage, we equipped ourselves appropriately and set off across Kingsdown Beach. At the end there’s a steep path that climbs up to the White Cliffs.

The walk follows the edge of the cliffs on a gentle incline until it gets to Leathercote Point where a tall war memorial commemorates the Dover Patrol – a First World War Royal Navy command.

There’s a café there, converted from a coastguard lookout, where we revived ourselves with a shared Ploughman’s Lunch and pot of tea for two, followed by a shared Kentish Cream Tea, consisting of date and walnut cake and fruit scone with clotted cream, strawberry jam and butter, washed down with espresso and latte.

Butterfly: Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

Butterfly: Common Blue
(Polyommatus icarus)

We then moved on to St Margaret’s Bay and toured the village’s celebrated Pine Gardens.

St Margaret’s Bay represents the shortest distance between England and France.  It’s the starting off point for channel swimming attempts. Our mobile phones piped up here and welcomed us to France!



We were accompanied on our walk by butterflies, feeding on purple and gold wild flowers – tansy and wild thyme – and orange rather than red poppies. Gulls wheeled.

The air was rich with the scent of aniseed on account of the tall tough drifts of wild fennel wearing caps of frothy yellow flowers.

Wild Fennel

Wild Fennel

It was harvest time and there were succulent bilberries and here and there clumps of ripe apples hanging from wind-sown trees.

All of this is endangered. The National Trust – usually associated with stately homes and castles – owns and maintains a stretch of the land here. Posters exhort us to respect it.


About AnnIsikArts

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3 Responses to A Heavenly Holiday Walk: Kingsdown to St Margaret’s Bay Along The White Cliffs of Dover

  1. Pingback: Conquering the White Cliffs of Dover | My Green Juice

  2. Susan says:

    Love the common blue butterfly.


    • annisik51 says:

      It’s a misnomer to call any butterfly ‘common’, I think! We are pleased that the renovation of the rather neglected garden we inherited has resulted in visitations by this ‘common’ creature.


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