There were no bluebirds over them today, just a few seagulls. Today the kids and I went for a day out to a National Trust place that we’ve not visited before. So today I decided that we would visit the White Cliffs of Dover and the South Foreland Lighthouse. If you’re going to see one, you might as well see them both because they’re right next to each other. The day was sunny with a gentle breeze. You don’t really want to be up on top of a cliff in rain and gales, so we picked the perfect day. The first thing you notice when you start your walk, is the Dover port below you. The only way I can describe it, is that it’s like watching a Scalectric set, with cars and lorries whizzing along it. They just seemed to go in circles, clearly they weren’t, but it was fascinating to watch.
If you’re scared of heights then I wouldn’t suggest you don’t walk along the cliff edge path. It’s not fenced off, but is far enough away from the edge to feel safe. Well I thought so, but both Emily and George realised they may be a little scared of heights, and kept their distance. The views were unbelievable. We came to the conclusion that nature can be so beautiful at times, but also sometimes it can be very scary.
As we were walking along the designated path, I kept seeing some rather unusual plants. Now you would normally see these in a vegetable patch, so what they were doing all over the side of the cliffs is anyones guess. How they got there I guess will always be a mystery. What are they? Brassicas!! Yes that’s right, they actually look like Flower sprouts/ Brukale, and they were every where. Some had gone to seed, so they clearly liked it up on the Dover Cliff tops.
We carried on walking and sometimes the path got very close to the edge. If you wanted to look over the edge safely, the best way to do it was to lie on your tummy and pop your head over, making sure you didn’t drop your sunglasses in the process. I’m glad to say we didn’t loose anything, but it makes you wonder how many, sunglasses and mobile phones have been lost over the edge. At the bottom of the cliffs there is no beach, just lots of hard rocks below.
We then came across the Fan Bay Deep Shelter. If you ever go to the White Cliffs of Dover, you must go on the tour. It’s brilliant. A little chilly inside, but there is so much to look at. The gentleman that showed us around was superb. He knew his stuff, some from personal experience. He told us all about why the tunnels were there, who lived and worked in them, why they were built, how they were built. So much information. We must have been on the tour for about an hour, but it didn’t seem that long at all. You’ve got to experience it for yourselves, you won’t be disappointed.
Once we left the dark depths of the tunnels underground, we continued walking along the path, and finally we came to the South Foreland Lighthouse. Again it was a guided tour and another lovely elderly chap showed us around, and told us all about the Goodwin Sands where so many ships have been lost. I never knew it was there, but I won’t be going out in a boat just incase. He took us up to the very top of the lighthouse and showed us how it all worked. It’s been decommissioned now, but still works perfectly. We then went outside at the top of the lighthouse, and our guide pointed out various points of interest on the horizon. He told us some wonderful stories, some he knew to be true, others he said may not have been true. But stories are there to entertain you, and even if they weren’t true they sounded like they should have been. The view from the top was fantastic, if a little on the windy side.
There were all sorts of memorabilia in the lighthouse, and the books that the lighthouse keeper would have to record his information in. The once section of this that did make me giggle was the way weather was described. Yes you can understand: “cloudy”, “foggy”, “snow”, “thunder”. These all make sense, but what is “Ugly” weather? Apparently it’s “threatening and should be used with caution”. What ever that means.
Once we had come down from our lighthouse tour, the kids had an ice cream (well it goes without saying) and we walked all the way back along the marked route all the way back to the car park. We got back to the car exhausted, but we’d all had a really amazing day. We will definitely go back again, but this time when Mark can come with us.