“ Appreciate the White Chalk cliffs, newest part of Kent, made from 4.9 million cubic metres of chalk marl dug to create the Channel Tunnel. „
I live in Dover which is about a 10 minute drive from Samphire Hoe and I have visited this attraction on many occasions, either to fish or to walk mine and my partner's dogs.
When the Channel Tunnel was built, 4.9 million cubic metres of chalk marl was taken away and this is what was used to create Samphire Hoe. It is owned by Euro Tunnel and is managed in partnership with the White Cliffs project.
Inside Samphire Hoe you can take part in several activities such as fishing or bird watching. There are many rare flowers here which you can walk around and look at. For those of you just wishing to have a nice relaxing walk, you can follow the marked pathways and even stop off for a picnic at one of the picnic areas.
Inside Samphire Hoe there are two car parks which means there is always ample parking available, even during the busier summer months. The cost is fairly reasonable too with half an hour parking costing 50p.
Gaining To Samphire Hoe
Entry to Samphire Hoe is from the A20 motorway on the west bound carriage way to London. There is a well signposted slip road and when you reach this you have to stop at a set of traffic lights.
These are in place purely as the single tunnel which accesses the Hoe is only suitable for 1 vehicle at a time.
Within the grounds of Samphire Hoe, there are two marked pathways which visitors can follow. The pathways are made from crushed stone and are quite compact so wheelchair users can easily make their way around this attraction. The paths take you around the various open areas as well as over bridges where you can view the man-made lakes. The whole walk takes about an hour to complete. Along the way you can walk along the main wall and meet the fisherman and see what they have caught that day which is always interesting and in my experience they have always been friendly and happy to stop for a chat.
From Samphire Hoe, you can get beautiful views of the famous White Cliffs of Dover and the Kent Downs which are both classed as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
At the far end of Samphire Hoe, there is a small beach and although it is a pebble beach, it is still a nice area to sit in and relax.
Near the car park there is a refreshment kiosk where you can get food and drink items such as sandwiches, rolls, ice creams and snacks such as crisps and chocolate. They also serve a selection of hot and cold drinks.
Around the back of the cafe are the toilet facilities, male, female and also a disabled with a baby changing area.
Volunteers are present at Samphire Hoe for visitors to ask any questions. There are free leaflets about the Hoe and the surrounding areas, an information board, and wooden panels with the latest wildlife sightings written on them which are always very interesting to view as it gives you some kind of idea of what you can see during your visit.
In summary, I would certainly recommend a visit to Samphire Hoe. The walks are very relaxing and you can see some beautiful sights of the White Cliffs. Visitors have the option of taking part in guided walks and learning a little bit about our surroundings or you can just do your own thing, at your own pace.
I would say that most people have heard about the White Cliffs of Dover but I bet you have never heard of Samphire Hoe unless of course you are a local?
I recently wrote about the building of the channel tunnel in my review of the Eurostar and mentioned Samphire Hoe and thought at the time it would be a good idea for a review.
What is Samphire Hoe.
Samphire Hoe is the newest part of the British Isles which is man made land at the end of the North downs just below the White cliffs at Shakespeare cliffe to the west of Dover. It was created with the waste chalk marl from the drilling of the channel tunnel and some 4.9 million cubic meters of chalk marl was used in its creation.
When building the channel tunnel there was a problem of what to do with the excavated chalk and there were about sixty options available to them which meant transporting all of this chalk away from the area which was not really environmentally friendly by any means not to mention the cost. It was decided that it would be placed at the bottom of the cliffs of Dover creating a working platform for the tunnels construction. The problem was what would become of it after the completion of the tunnel and the idea of creating a natural environment for a nature reserve that could be enjoyed by everyone encouraging wild flora and fauna and animals to the area..
They created a platform using this chalk that not only provided a means of dumping the chalk but to create a working centre during the construction of the tunnel with offices and laboratories on the site. It was started in 1988 and after the completion of the tunnel and removal of the offices it was opened to the public in 1998 as a natural nature reserve.
Local rare wild plants, flowers and grasses were planted along the platform and left to develop on their own. There is approximately one mile of sea wall defences from where people can fish. The fish that can be caught here include Codling, Pollack, Bass, dogfish and mackerel. Sometimes you can even catch crabs and squid. There are walkways throughout the area. A fishing permit is required.
How did it get its name?
During the building of the tunnel local paper the Dover Express and Eurotunnel ran a competition to choose a name for the place. A local teacher Janet Janaway came up with the idea Samphire hoe. A hoe is a peace of land jutting out into the sea and Samphire is a plant that is only found in this part of the UK that is picked around about May and leaf part pickled and used as a vegetable.
The area is actually owned by Eurotunnel and is run in conjunction with the white cliffs country side project.
There is a small cafeteria which is only open at certain times. It is open every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year and daily during the summer months. Parking is available right near the entrance which is reached by driving through a single file tunnel operated by traffic lights through the cliffs. The car park is a pay and display car park. There are toilet facilities here too. You have to buy a fishing permit from the kiosk if you want to fish.
People can walk around the pathways which are a combination of tarmac and fine crushed stones and small bridges that cross the man made lakes and the natural streams and it is also suitable for disabled people and wheelchairs. The path runs for approximately one mile and there is also the walkway along the sea wall which is approximately a mile long too. It is open from 7AM to Dusk. There are picnic areas here too but please take all your rubbish home with you and do not drop litter.
There are various activities organised by volunteers throughout the year. There may be a minimal charge for this IE £2 or you are asked to make a donation. This donation is used in the upkeep and maintenance of the area. Activities range from treasure hunts, talks about the wild plants IE the rare orchids that grow here, history walks and talks all undertaken by volunteers too.
It is a fantastic place for children they can look at nature at its best and there are views of the white cliffs and out to sea. It is a cheap day out if you are looking for things to do especially while the kids are on their long school holidays. Take along a picnic and it can be quite wonderful there in the summer months. There are information leaflets available to help you with your visit.
There is a group of volunteers who help maintain the area and whilst not being paid they do get free parking down there. They organise clear up days along the water front and throughout the reserve. They take part in obtaining research by observing the wild life and reporting wildlife. They help by talking to visitors about the place. You can become a volunteer by contacting them on the following number: - 01304 225649.
How to get there.
The area can be reached either from Dover or Folkestone at the end of the M20 A2 Driving between Folkestone and Dover along the A20 follow the signs to the entrance.