The White Cliffs of Dover

The famous white cliffs of Dover on the Kent coastline has always been a focal point for people entering and leaving the UK. With is close proximity to mainland Europe, Dover was the home to the first settlers to Britain with historical relevance from the Bronze age. When the Romans expanded through Europe though, Dover was the start of the network connecting the UK to Europe.

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The White Cliffs are part of the National Trust and for a small fee you are able to walk along the cliffs. The cliffs themselves stretch for about 8 miles! Apparently on a clear day, you can see France from this viewpoint (To be honest as it was a clear day and thought I could see France, but could have just been me!). This walk is part of the English Coast pathway.

Given the abundance of chalk, there is quite unusual wildlife native to this area. I would like to visit again in Spring, with the wild flowers and butterflies, rather than just all the samphire.

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With its closeness to Europe, it is no surprise that any would be invader would first land at Dover and has historical relevance during the Napoleonic Wars and World War II. If you have seen the recent film Dunkirk, the returning soldiers see the white cliffs and see it as a sign of being home. The cliffs have meant hope, freedom, opportunity to so many and I was delighted to capture them on such as nice winters day.

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I visited a small place on the coastline near Dover, called Samphire Hoe.  Samphire Hoe Country Park is a nature reserve situated on a new piece of land created by the earth excavated during the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It covers a 30-hectare site at the foot Shakespeare Cliff and you can walk along the sea wall (if the winds are normal).

If Kent county is the garden of England, then Dover is the gate.

Happy Travelling, CJeffers x

White Cliffs © Carol Ann Duffy 2012

Worth their salt, England’s white cliffs;
a glittering breastplate
Caesar saw from his ship;
the sea’s gift to the land,
where samphire-pickers hung from
their long ropes,
gathering, under a gull-glad sky,
in Shakespeare’s mind’s eye;
astonishing
in Arnold’s glimmering verse;
marvellous geology, geography;
to time, deference; war, defence;
first view or last of here, home,
in painting, poem, play, in song;
something fair and strong implied in
chalk,
what we might wish ourselves.

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