Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Langdon Cliffs

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To the east of Dover five miles of countryside and coast are owned by the National Trust. Langdon Cliffs overlook the Straits of Dover and are an excellent place to watch world’s busiest shipping lanes. There is a visitor centre, known as 'The Gateway to the White Cliffs', with a coffee shop and displays about the cliffs.

The chalk cliffs, up to 300 feet (100 m) high in places, are continuously eroding and for safety you should always stay five metres from the cliff edge. Made up of millions of small sea creatures and coral from the bottom of an ancient tropical ocean, the chalk is porous, soft and easily worn by the action of the waves.

The chalk downland on top of the cliffs is very rare. Many of the plants pre-date the last Ice Age and are adapted to the thin chalk soils and traditional grazing management. Many plants are almost unique to this part of Kent.

Image: Langdon Bay.
Langdon Bay.


Image: Sainfoin.


Image: Pyramidal Orchid.
Pyramidal Orchid.


Image: Birdsfoot Trefoil.
Birdsfoot Trefoil.


Image: Exmoor Ponies.
Exmoor Ponies.

Image: Walking on Langdon Cliffs.
Walking on Langdon Cliffs.


The National Trust continues to graze the chalk downland along the cliff top using Exmoor Ponies. In other areas, where grazing is not possible, a hay cut is taken for the benefit of the chalk downland.

The chalk downland supports a rich variety of wildlife. The mild climate makes it an ideal habitat for the Common Lizard and the unique plant communities support a variety of insects and butterflies.

Kittywakes, Fulmars and Peregrin Falcons all make their home on the White Cliffs. The sheer cliffs provide a secure nest site, safe from predators. The chalk downland above provides a nesting site for the Skylark.

You can walk along the cliff top to visit South Foreland Lighthouse, which is also owned by the National Trust. There has been a lighthouse on the South Foreland for hundreds of years. The present tower was built in 1843 to protect shipping from the Goodwin Sands just off shore.

It was from the South Foreland lighthouse, on 28th December 1898, that Gugliemo Marconi made the world's first ship to shore radio transmissions and subsequently the world's first international transmission to Wimereux, in France, 28 Miles away.


Image: Watch the busy shipping lanes.
Watch the busy shipping lanes.


Image: The Eastern Docks from Langdon Cliffs.
The Eastern Docks from Langdon Cliffs.




Image:  Shakespeare Cliff.transparent