How strange it is that only a week after writing Ann of Adam’s Garden – in which I mentioned my first encounter with rock pools – I found myself splashing around in the sea amongst rock pools.
I had been desperate to get away, longing for the sea and to walk. We took a holiday cottage in a little seaside village on the East Kent coast. It was situated a few minutes up from the beach and close to a stretch of the long distance walking route the Saxon Shore Way.
The route is named after the line of historic fortifications that defended the Kent coast at the end of the Roman era. We’ve already walked, a few times, a different stretch of this ancient route.
The day after we established ourselves – and cat – in the cottage, we equipped ourselves appropriately and set off across Kingsdown Beach. At the end there’s a steep path that climbs up to the White Cliffs.
The walk follows the edge of the cliffs on a gentle incline until it gets to Leathercote Point where a tall war memorial commemorates the Dover Patrol - a First World War Royal Navy command.
There’s a café there, converted from a coastguard lookout, where we revived ourselves with a shared Ploughman’s Lunch and pot of tea for two, followed by a shared Kentish Cream Tea, consisting of date and walnut cake and fruit scone with clotted cream, strawberry jam and butter, washed down with espresso and latte.
St Margaret’s Bay represents the shortest distance between England and France. It’s the starting off point for channel swimming attempts. Our mobile phones piped up here and welcomed us to France!
We were accompanied on our walk by butterflies, feeding on purple and gold wild flowers – tansy and wild thyme – and orange rather than red poppies. Gulls wheeled.
The air was rich with the scent of aniseed on account of the tall tough drifts of wild fennel wearing caps of frothy yellow flowers.
It was harvest time and there were succulent bilberries and here and there clumps of ripe apples hanging from wind-sown trees.
All of this is endangered. The National Trust – usually associated with stately homes and castles – owns and maintains a stretch of the land here. Posters exhort us to respect it.
- Wrecking (doverhistorian.wordpress.com)
- Exotic butterfly expected to emerge in Britain (theguardian.com)
- All in a Day’s Rambling (fibenton.wordpress.com)
- Vitsoe & Design for Longevity (6-heads.com)
- National Trust: Britain’s best ‘secret walks’ offer incredible views (thisismoney.co.uk)