Chalk and Channel Way

Joining the port towns of Dover and Folkestone and passing over the iconic white cliffs, there’s much to see and do on this largely traffic-free route that passes through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Whether you’re out for a day trip or passing through on a longer exploration of Route 2, you’ll want to set aside some time to enjoy everything this route has to offer. Walkers can access Natural England’s Coastal path along the route and enjoy stunning clifftop views.

Starting off from Ray Smith’s Crest of a Wave artwork in Dover, you’ll follow Route 2 along the promenade through the marina and docks to a series of segregated cycle paths beside the A20 to Aycliff. A gentle climb up Old Folkestone Road lands brings you to a walking and cycling bridge over the A20.

A surfaced tarmac path descends to Samphire Hoe where a tunnel descends to an inviting nature reserve created from excavated material from construction of the Channel Tunnel. It’s also well worth a detour along the roughly one-mile sea wall to an isolated beach. A steep public right of way “stepped staircase” can be accessed at low tide which climbs the Clifftop Café and a very welcome cup of tea.

The gradients on the Chalk and Channel Way are mostly gentle, bar the climb out of Dover to Aycliff and then from Samphire Hoe to the White House and Capel-le-Ferne.

With plenty of places to leave the trail and explore the National Trust clifftop open space, the route is a great resource for all users including the less able.

On most days, you can see the shore of France in the distance; if travelling at night, you may see its twinkling lights. Along the path you’ll come across the Abbott’s Cliff Sound Mirror, a striking block of concrete used during the First World War to detect enemy aircraft.

Sustrans also commissioned a series of artworks along the route. Rob Kesseler’s Flora Calcarae is a collection of limestone and bronze artworks reflecting local plant life, while Tim Clapcott’s Coccoliths sculpture is inspired by the prehistoric plant remains that formed the local chalk. Meanwhile, Jony Easterby’s Samphire Tower hosts a sound installation created with electronic musician Geir Jenssen.

You’ll also notice a series of QR codes stationed on posts along the route. You can use these to listen to Chalk Lines by Ros Barber, a series of poems inspired by places along the Chalk and Channel Way.

For those wishing to continue their journey the quick descent to Folkestone Beach is signed Route 2 and mostly on road. Those looking for a longer distance cycle will enjoy the beachside route to Sandgate, Hythe and Rye.

Please note

We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.

Please help us protect this route

The Chalk and Channel Way is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

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