The Chalk & Channel Way

The Chalk and Channel Way rises steeply to link the historic harbours of Dover and Folkestone along the famous white cliffs overlooking the English Channel to France. It passes the legendary place where King Lear leapt to his death, as well as remains of the Second World War defence system, the Battle of Britain War Memorial, and Samphire Hoe, a new piece of land created from the spoils of the Channel Tunnel.

Follow the trail as it way passes through the Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and links the harbours of Dover and Folkestone as part of the National Cycle Network, (Route 2). The route is also known as the Garden of England.

Samphire Tower by Jony Easterby and Pippa Taylor is a 33ft larch and oak tower on Samphire Hoe inspired by coastal buildings and mini-architecture around the UK. Internal wall paintings by Sax Impey reflect nautical charts, navigational and marine communication systems.

It also houses a telescope which triggers 8 symphonies composed by Jony Easterby in collaboration with musician Geir Jenssen that sample the wind, noises from the tunnel, trains, birds and other localised sounds.

Flora Calcarea by Rob Kestler is inspired by the special flora of the South Downs.  It focuses on specific plants and their magnified pollen grains cast in bronze as discrete roundels and set into the path as waymarkers.  They also depict pages, as if blown from the stone reference books (a herbivorum) sited at either end of the path. Other pages are set into ‘boulder’ seats made from Portland Roach, a shelly Oolitic Limestone, sited over-looking the sea

Coccoliths by Tim Clapcott are developed landform pieces based on ‘microscopic coccoliths’ (the skeletons left by millions of extinct plankton), which form the white cliffs.  The artist cast enlarged coccolith forms in concrete with ceramic insets and placed them in an excavated circular seating area on Smallpox Hill over-looking Folkestone harbour.

Chalk Lines by Ros Barber is a series of 10 site specific poems in response to landmarks along the path, recited by the poet herself and accessed by dialling the phone number 0870 626 0010 which is inscribed on finger posts along the route. 

Shakespeare Cliff by Ros Barber

Here's a good place to go mad.
There's nothing but gravity.
Let's dress ourselves in flowers
and talk nonsense.

Let's find our blind fathers,
pretend we don't know them,
talk in piratical accents, disown them.
Let's end it all -

throw ourselves into the air
some way from the edge
and wonder at ourselves
unbroken. Let's not

look down.

Click the links to listen to the poems
Shakespeare’s Cliff | Samphire Hoe | Gorse | Listening Ear | Above Dover | Porous | Soup | Cliftop Café | Battle of Britain Memorial | Blind Date

Plan your visit to Chalk and Channel Art trail on The Garden of England Route.

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