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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Saturday Second Walk - a winter breeze along the clifftops

SWC Walk 13 - Folkestone to Dover
Length: 14.5km (9 miles) or 15.5km (9.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.34 train from St Pancras International to Folkestone, arriving 10.30

(Or the 8.40 from Charing Cross, 8.49 London Bridge, to Folkestone, arriving 10.21)

Buy a day return to Dover "plus high speed" if using the specified train

For walk directions click here.

OK, I realise this is a hostage to the weather. If it is wet and windy, best give this walk a miss. But if the weather is clear, or at least stable, a walk along the chalk cliffs can be a bracing treat. This walk has made a good winter outing before.

Today will also introduce you to some minor tweaks to the walk route, which all date back to the summer when it looked like the original steep path up the cliffs on the Folkestone Circular walk had become overgrown. That path has since been cleared, but in the meantime I devised two new starts to the walk, one or other of which you can try today:

- The new main walk takes you straight up onto the cliff top from Folkestone (reversing the ending of the Folkestone Circular walk) and keeps you there all the way to Dover

- Option a) takes you along the wild seafront of the Warren, as per the original Folkestone Circular, but gives you a longer option that takes you by another cliff-climbing path up to the lunch options for this walk. This is the 15.5km/9.6 mile option.

Either way your lunch stop is most likely to be the the Lighthouse Inn: I would be surprised if the Clifftop Cafe is open, and I have no recent information on the Royal Oak a bit further on.

The afternoon of the walk gets increasingly interesting as it approaches Dover, with a lovely path along the cliff edge, interesting World War II gun emplacements and views, and a beautiful narrowing ridge as you approach your destination. There is also a main road not far inland, but its noise is less troubling if the wind is coming off the sea. The last section into Dover climbs over the Western Heights with its slightly spooky Napoleonic era fortifications.

Dover itself is not a place you will want to linger, but its one bright spot is a typically large and cosy Weatherspoons pub. There is also a Costa Coffee open till 6.30pm.

Trains back from Dover are at 49 past to St Pancras (1 hr 05) or 58 past to Charing Cross (1hr 54).

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=7 on this walk on a day that was w=fairly-sunny-with-a-cold-easterly-wind. After a courtesy visit to "rabbit person" (a statue) we opted for the seafront walk along the Warren, the choppy sea once managing to give four of us a drenching. Then a new path up through a wood full of hart's tongue fern and up a zigzag path cut in the cliff face to the Lighthouse Inn, which was almost empty and served nice food.

On the clifftop in the afternoon the scenery was wonderful, with hazy views of France and glorious light patterns on the sea. The WW2 remains were interesting. The wind was damned cold, however.

We crested the fascinating Western Heights, with their massive Napoleonic era forts, just in time for a fine panoramic view of Dover and got to its high street in time to have tea at the Dickens Corner cafe. Three then went for the 16.49 train, while four of us went to the very busy Weatherspoons (at least one part of Dover is prospering, then) for rather too much wine and the 18.49. Banter on the train with a spirited local youth and "sick as a parrot" West Ham fans (they lost 5:1) between Stratford and St P. Happy days!