Friday, 13 May 2016

White Cliffs of Dover !

 A gentle stroll along the cliffs at South Foreland on a bright sunny day is certainly exhilarating, especially as you stand near the white cliffs edge, looking across the channel to the coast of France, clearly visible with the naked eye, the sheer height of the cliffs from sea level makes for an interesting walk with plenty to see.

The walk starts just above the busy port of Dover with its constant stream of channel ferries coming and going, this is a view across Langdon Hole towards the port.

Langdon Hole
A view of Dover Castle 

There's a small herd of Exmoor Ponies used to help conservation work, they keep the grass short, prevent the growth of scrub which in turn encourages the growth of chalk grassland plants.
This encourages insects and butterflies which you might expect to see here.

 Like this little beauty, I first thought this was a Grayling but on closer inspection a Wall Brown Butterfly, the small ringlets on the underwing are diagnostic and confirm the identification.

Its quite scarce and the first one I have come across, at least two or three seen on the wing, with just one opportunity to snap a quick photograph, a closed wing shot, even so a beautiful looking Butterfly, and one that is a priority species for conservation due to continued loss of habitat and drop in population.

Wall Brown. Lasiommata megera

As you follow the trail along the cliff tops, there's a few old wartime relics to see, in particular the Fan Bay Deep Shelter.
 The National Trust have removed all the infill ( approx 100 tonnes of chalk) restoring the tunnels to how they looked during the second world war, used to accommodate the coastal battery personnel.

The opportunity to wear a hard hat with a head lamp could not be resisted, forty five minutes exploring the tunnels, complete with fossils, wartime graffiti, was well worth a look.
Wife complete with  Hard  hat

There are two Sound mirrors built into the cliffs, again exposed by National trust after they were covered up to remove visible traces of the war effort, strange thing to do.

Back in the open air you can continue the walk down to the South Foreland lighthouse which is full of victorian engineering, and the opportunity for refreshments.

South Foreland Lighthouse
The walk back to the car park revealed a distant view of a couple of Ravens that have taken up residence here, I am sure that I have read somewhere that these were the first breeding pair in Kent.


The highlight for me was the first sighting of the Wall Brown Butterfly, 
you never know what might turn up for you.


  1. Brilliant day out! My father has done the Viet Cong tunnels in Cambodia... *shivers*

    1. I read a book called the Tunnel Rats some years ago about the
      americans going down the tunnels after the viet cong.
      Dover tunnels much more spacious.