White Cliffs of Dover Footpath Gets an Upgrade
23rd June 2023
Part of the White Cliffs of Dover has had a face lift to ensure people can access the footpath all year around.
Kent County Council (KCC) has worked with the National Trust, Natural England and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to deliver the £150,000 footpath upgrade and to restore the fragile chalk grassland at the top of the cliffs.
An iconic landmark, the White Cliffs of Dover are at one end of the Kent Downs designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The cliffs also have a special place in our national history and they were used for defence in both World Wars.
This 2.2km stretch of the path also forms part of the new England Coast Path which will be the UK’s longest coastal path at 2,700 miles when complete.
Works at the Special Area of Conservation, which were completed in March, include a surfaced footpath, making the walk along the cliff tops safer by greatly reducing the risk of slipping. They are also easier to access with most steps being replaced by ramps and improving gradients. This has all been done with the aim of reducing the impact on the site’s protected status.
The relocated turfs seen on the 3rd picture is showing mitigating and improving ecological impact – one of the main objectives of works was to create a surfaced path that people will stick too rather than wandering across the land and damaging the protected and ecologically sensitive chalk grassland. Any top soil/ turf the team removed was relocated on site by a qualified ecologist – who were brought in and had a watching brief the whole time they were on site.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, Mike Hill said:
“The £150,000 upgrade of our White Cliffs of Dover Public Right of Way has meant the footpath here now has a suitable surface for all times of the year. Looking out across the cliff top is extraordinary and now with better accessibility, more people will be able to take in the view this Site of Special Scientific Interest offers. An important part of this work, which we have led with the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Natural England and the National Trust,has been to protect the site for the future and minimise impact on the surrounding landscape. Overall this work has made the countryside easier to access for people all year around, encouraging walking as part of a healthier lifestyle in this enchanting part of the county.”
Turf removed to create the 1.8 metre wide footpath has been relocated to previously eroded areas to help restore the protected Chalk Grassland.
National Trust General Manager at The White Cliffs of Dover, Virginia Portman said:
“We’re delighted that KCC have been able to upgrade the surface of the England Coast Path which will support our work to protect this fragile landscape whilst providing improved access for the hundreds of thousands of visitors we welcome every year.”
The Experience Project is a cross channel programme, co-financed by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund, involving partners from England and France to promote off season tourism in the channel area. It supports the development and delivery of sustainable projects across the County that enable the improvement and enjoyment of the Kent countryside, focusing on outdoor tourism activities and opportunities which can be used by visitors during the winter months.