UK Hike: Dover to Deal (South Downs)

This is a really good scenic walk, I’d definitely recommend! Not too many uphill climbs, so this one is pretty good for beginners too. We stopped off at the Pine Gardens Tea Room, who do great open-filled sandwiches and traditional ice-cream, they were also kind enough to fill up our bottles with ice cold water. 🙂

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We did a fairly long distance, about 20km, but you could shorten it at the halfway point and get a bus to Deal station…thing is you wouldn’t want to miss the views on the way. Especially on a good day, the clear blue skies with crisp white clouds reflecting on the sea, is a really lovely sight!  Here you can see Dover Castle in the distance:

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As soon as we reached the top of the stone steps to the cliff-top, we were met with a full view of Dover Harbour down below. After a short way, we came across the National Trust Visitor Centre, with a cafe and some info on the history of the area.  We didn’t stop and carried on down a thin, not always clear, footpath, winding in and out of bushes – the sea always visible to the right. We then had the option of carrying on the official footpath or taking a more adventurous detour to the right. The latter led to this narrow ledge (it was less comfortable than the photo makes it appear): not ideal if you have vertigo, and especially on a windy day! But the thrill made it worthwhile, and the views were stunning.

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Halfway imto the hike we at last got to walk alongside those famous white cliffs of Dover – the chalk facades are magnificent sight, they can be dazzlingly bright in the sun.

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The part of the hike along the clifftops ended just before we descended onto the beaches near Deal – we were rewarded with views such as the ones below.  The turquoise ocean, dappled with gentle shadows from the clouds above, all against the backdrop of a brilliantly blue sky, was a truly serene experience:

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white cliffs sea

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As we made our way into Deal, we stopped off at Walmer Castle, built by Henry VIII in 1539-40 as a defence against the threat of French invasion from the south.  Well worth the visit, including the beautiful surrounding gardens.  This was one of 3 castles to be found along this route! Fantastic 🙂 After this it was a pretty straightforward walk along the promenade to Deal station, with just enough time to pick up some fish and chips along the way.

deal castle

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2 Responses to UK Hike: Dover to Deal (South Downs)

  1. thidara1005 says:

    The pictures look amazing! Did you use route notes of any sort? did you just start at one train station and end at another? I would love to try this walk 🙂 Or maybe make a weekend out of it and camp in between if thats possible.

    • earthoak says:

      Thanks, most kind! You know, I thought your comment was about Ben Nevis so my previous reply was irrelevant – oops! Now edited! Ok, so Dover-Deal: yep, I used the Time-Out walking guide (vol. 2) ’30 walks near London’, its walks often veer off established foot trails. overall quite easy to follow, but i’d recommend you keep an OS map at hand in case the written directions seem obscure at any point. Train – we arrived at Dover Priory station, and for the return journey we took the train from Deal station. hope that helps 🙂

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