Dover Walk 1
THE WHITE CLIFFS AT LANGDON
DISTANCE 3 miles (5 km) ALLOW 1-2 hours
Start at the Market Square. Dover. Walk down King St. and Bench St.. cross the dual carriageway, along New Bridge to Marine Parade. Turn left and walk along the promenade to the roundabout outside the entrance to the Eastern Docks. Cross the road, and walk up Atholl Terrace.
Follow the footpath, under Jubilee Way (A2). to the Old Coastguard Cottages. Bear right onto the lower cliff terrace. Walk along the wide terrace for about 800 yards, until you come to a fine view of Langdon Hole and the cliffs. A little further on, turn sharp left up the steep slope and walk in front of the Coastguard Station. Follow the path to the road and terraced car park.
Turn right and walk uphill along the road, following the path ahead when the road turns sharply left Follow this curving path, over Foxhill Down with a clear view of Dover Castle, to the entrance to Langdon Cliffs. There is a clear path to your left down the slope. You will retrace your steps for a short distance, before turning right after the Coastguard Cottages. Walk ahead, looking for a stile on your left to cross over Jubilee Way to another stile opposite. If in doubt cross this busy road by the road bridge just ahead.
From the Bleriot Memorial, hidden in trees, walk ahead to a road. Turn right, passing some derelict buildings in the shadow of Dover Castle. Keep going until you reach Upper Rd., and the junction with the Deal Rd. Turn left for a splendid view of Dover and the Western Heights (see Walk 10). At the junction with Connaught Rd. there is a pleasant path (the Old Turnpike Road) through the trees. Walk down Laureston Place.
Cross Castle Hill Rd. for the White Horse Inn and Old St. James Church. Turn right into Woolcomber St. and then left at the traffic lights into Castle St. Ahead for Market Square.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1. EAST CLIFF
The East Cliff is made of chalk, which is white because it consists of almost pure calcium carbonate derived from minute plants that floated in a warm sea in the Cretaceous period (130 - 76 million years ago). The seabed was lifted up at the end of the Cretaceous period, as shock waves rippled out from the collision of Africa with Europe, and the formation of the Alps. There are black bands of flint nodules in the cliff. Perched at the base of the cliff, are the remains of Mote's Bulwark, built by Henry VIII in 1540. The East Cliff is riddled with tunnels, begun in Napoleonic times and enlarged during the Second World War for military headquarters, army barracks and a hospital.
2. CLIFF TERRACE
This 60 foot wide roadway was excavated in 1910 - 12 as part of a light railway to Martin Mill. The railway was never built, although Parsons the company that built much of Dover harbour, had built a standard gauge line from Martin Mill (see Walk 3) to the top of Langdon Cliffs in the late 19th century, with a four track gravity incline down the side of the cliff to transport ballast for the construction of the harbour.
3. LANGDON CLIFFS
An area of ancient chalk grassland, with colourful wild flowers such as cowslips, knapweed and salad burnet. There are spectacular views of the Channel, and of one of the busiest ferry ports in the world. The terraces, now used as car parks, were built in 1884 for a prison for convicts to help in the construction of the port. In 1908 the prison was converted into army barracks. The Coastguard Station occupies the site of a Second World War battery of three large coastal defence guns.
4. BLERIOT MEMORIAL
At 5.12am on 25th July 1909 Louis Bleriot landed at this spot, to become the first man to fly across the Channel and the first to make an overseas flight. At the time, the site was open grassland, which demonstrates what happens to grassland in the absence of grazing.
5. DOVER CASTLE
The view of the castle from the east is dominated by the Horseshoe Bastion and the Averanches Tower. Dover Castle has been described as the "key to England" and has long been a fortress of importance. Its earliest rampart defenses may date to the Iron Age, and the Romans built a Pharos (lighthouse) here in the first century A.D. with another on the facing Western Heights (walk 10). The Saxons built a fortified town, of which St. Mary-in-Castro was the church. Both pharos and church remain. The great square central tower, the keep, was started in the 1180's by Henry II, much of the extensive outer curtain wall is chiefly the work of Hubert de Burgh. Constable of Dover (1202 - 1232) and his successors under Henry III. The Averanches Tower was named after an important feudal landholder (see walk 8), who was required to equip and supply a certain number of men at arms. These had to report to the castle for a stated period, and the men were allocated a tower which was named after the Baron. The defenses were remodelled, starting in the 1740's, to improve the defenses against gunfire. The Horseshoe Bastion was an independent fortress, built in Napoleonic times for artillery to command the valley to the east.
6. OLD ST. JAMES' CHURCH & THE WHITE HORSE INN
The church was founded in Saxon times, and was also used by the Barons of the Cinque Ports for several of their official Courts until 1851. The church was virtually destroyed by German shells in the Second World War and has been left as a memorial. The White Horse Inn is said to date back to 1300, although most of the building visible today dates from the 18th century.