Archives of Samphire Hoe news


  • 28 November - Official opening of the Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe

    On 28 November, Eurotunnel inaugurated the new Samphire Hoe Education Shelter, an eco-friendly education centre built in partnership with the Up On The Downs Landscape Partnership Scheme and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, who manage the Samphire Hoe nature reserve on a daily basis.
    The shelter provides a comfortable, year-round location for schools and other groups in a 60m² classroom and a 40m² exhibition space. It will be a welcome addition to the many exhibitions and workshops on awareness of environmental responsibility and the nature of Samphire Hoe that are organised.
    Co-financed by Eurotunnel and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Education Shelter was built using environmentally friendly construction criteria.
    It is wood framed and the exterior for the back is clad using recycled railway sleepers from the Eurotunnel terminal in France and larch for the front. The shelter will be heated by wood-fired stoves. Eurotunnel Group has again delivered a benefit to the local community.

    To find our more information on the new education Shelter, read below the press release issued by Eurotunnel on 28 November:

    Small PDF iconEurotunnel inaugurates new Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe.

  • 5 September - Education shelter works progress: almost there!

    Works on the Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe are progressing well.

    The external works are near completion. The scaffolding has been taken down and removed. The back of the shelter facing south west is clad made of railway sleepers in Frenck oak which have been recycled from Eurotunnel French Terminal at the Hoe. The other wood on the outside of the building (front and sides) is larch, which will fade over time to a silver grey colour to match the railway sleepers. Larch, the only deciduous conifer native to Europe, is used for its timber which is hard, dense and resistant to rot.
    The electrical supply and wiring of the building have been installed as well aswindows and doors. The audio visual system is currently being set up.
    The shelter space includes a 42m2 exhibition area, a 63m2 classroom that can be divided into two smaller rooms, a store room and a cloakroom for coats and further storage.

    Final works will include inside the completion of the inside floor surface and the installation of the worktop and ofthe room divider. On the outside, the relevant logos will soon add the finishing touch. Works should all be completed by end of october or early November.
    To find out more details, view the works progress in pictures.

  • 28 July - 10th Green Flag Award for Samphire Hoe

    On 28 July 2014, Eurotunnel has been awarded a Green Flag Award for the 10th year in a row in recognition of its efforts in conservation and community involvement.

    The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. The scheme recognises and rewards green spaces and nature reserves which meet the highest standards. Samphire Hoe has been judged against 8 key criteria: a welcoming place; healthy, safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainibility; conservation and heritage; community involvement; marketing; management.
    Over the years, Samphire Hoe has progressively been transformed into a nature reserve with a particularly rich degree of biodiversity.

    The daily management of the site is handled by the White Cliffs Countryside partnership supported by many local volunteers.

  • 25 June - Samphire Hoe on the run !

    On Tuesday 24 June, 180 runners from all around Kent came to the site to take part in the Samphire Hoe leg of the Kent Summer relays.
    It took place all around Samphire Hoe's site during a dry but cold evening, i.e. near perfect conditions for running.
    The winning team was Ashford AC in the men's competition and Folkestone Running Club picked up the ladies prize.
    All runners were delighted to take part in the event, especially those who came to Samphire Hoe for the first time.
    More about in pictures.

  • 16 June - Education shelter: construction work on schedule

    Construction work of the Samphire Hoe Education shelter is makinggood progress. The latest works include:
    > Cladding of the front of the building
    > Roof near completion
    > Floor screed laid
    > Internal walls plastered.

    Works are running on schedule and completion is expected in the summer as planned. View the latest construction progress in pictures.

  • 9 May - Education shelter: update on construction work progress

    Construction work of the Samphire Hoe Education shelter is well underway and the structure of the building is shapping up: Beams for the walls and roof are up and the walls of the education shelter are now framed up.View the construction work progress of the education shelter in pictures.

  • 6 May - Winners of the bleak winter beauty of Samphire Hoe photo competition

    Further to the launch of the photography competition back in January, a presentation was made to the winners on Monday 5 May at Samphire Hoe. First place was awarded to Martin Bowman for his atmospheric photo looking along the length of the Hoe. Second place was given to Ian Coles with a photo of a very dramatic winter sunset. And third place went to Lindsay Green whose picture caught a perfect winter moment on the sea wall. Paul Holt, the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership Officer for Samphire Hoe, said: "Overall we have received 35 entries for the competition. We were delighted with the response and enjoyed judging all those photographies". Please note that an exhibition of all the photographies will be put on display when the Samphire Hoe education shelter is open. Congratulations to all entrants for their stunning photos and outstanding work. Take a look at the top three winning photos.

  • 28 March - Education Shelter: construction work progress

    Construction work on the Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe is progressing well: the concrete slab is completed and some of the wall panels have been delivered on site.
    View the progress of the construction work in pictures.

    Volunteering at the Hoe?
    If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer at Samphire Hoe, perhaps spending time talking to visitors in the future Education Shelter, please call Paul Holt on 01304 225649.

  • 11 March - Start of construction work on an Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe

    Construction work has started on an Education Shelter at Samphire Hoe right next to the tea kiosk and the rangers office.
    On 11 March, the first scoop of chalk marl was dug. Paul Holt from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership at Samphire Hoe said: "It is so exciting that this building is happening. It will be a great asset to Samphire and The Dover and Folkestone area. The shelter will be a space for visitors and school groups to increase their understanding of the landscape and heritage of the Hoe. A place to escape from the wind and to meet some of the volunteer rangers and to warm up by a wood burning stove".

    The Education Shelter is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Eurotunnel, RDPE Leader programme and Dover Rotary Club. It is part of the Up and Downs Landscape partnership Scheme (

    The Samphire Hoe Shelter will provide a multi functional space for school groups, visitors, traning courses, local community groups with exhibitions and displays.

    Zoom on the Education Shelter:
    > 42 m2 for the visitors area
    > 63 m2 classroom
    > Storage cupboard and cloak room for school groups to store bags and coats
    > Heating of the shelter provided with a wood burning stove in each of the two main sections
    > Design by architect Lee Evans and construction work carried out by Coombs.

    View the start of the construction work in pictures.
  • 27 February - Spring is in the air

    Coltsfoot is already in flower at Samphire Hoe. This is the first flower of the spring at the Hoe and it is a herald of the lengthening days and warmer weather.
    For novices, Tussilago farfara, commonly known as coltsfoot, has been used in herbal medicine at medieval times. Coltsfoot is a perennial herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes. The flowers, which resemble dandelions, appear in early spring.
  • 26 February - Rock fall dangers beyond Samphire Hoe

    The wet winter weather has caused a massive rock fall from the cliffs beyond the west end of Samphire Hoe.
    Paul Holt from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership said: 'This is a massive cliff collapse and actually the largest I have seen in the area in the last 15 years. If it is great to see it from the Hoe, I would recommend that people keep away from the cliffs as there are other areas that may collapse at any time’.
  • 7 February - Stormy weather washed up strange creatures at Samphire Hoe!

    The recent stormy weather has been washing up some interesting finds on the strandline of the west beach at Samphire Hoe.A wonderfully coloured fishing float came ashore with colours looking like a miniature planet and attached to it were creatures that looked like aliens! They are actually goose barnacles which anchor themselves to wood, floats and other items that are out at sea. They sieve food from the water using long black legs that emerge from the white shell like growths. They are not in the mollusc family (shellfish uch as mussels) but are in fact more closely related to crustaceans which include shrimps. They occasionally wash ashore after stormy weather. Before migration was understood and because of their resemblance to a barnacle goose's neck, it was once thought that barnacle geese emerged from these strange small creatures!
    Now is a good time to explore the strandline but it best to do so when the tide is low. Please remember: do not to go near the base of the cliffs. More about in pictures
  • January 2014 - Digital photography competition: take pictures to reveal the bleak winter beauty of Samphire Hoe!

    This winter, the rangers at Samphire Hoe are organising a Digital Photography Competition so that everyone who can take a photo will be able to enter. You can use your mobile phone, tablet, posh camera or any other device as long as you can send in your beautiful digital photography of Samphire Hoe.
    You might be a tiny tot or a professional photographer. Everyione is welcome. Even if you don't have a camera, you can join in: just ask in at the Rangers Office at Samphire Hoe who might have a camera you can borrow. The winning photos will be judged on originality and how well they portray the bleak winter beauty of Samphire Hoe.
    Steve Walker, one of the ranger, says: "We believe that these days new technology enables everyone to take great photos. We want to see what people come up with". To enter the competition, simply send your digital images to by Monday 31 March 2014. The selected images will be enlarged and displayed at the new Education Shelter in the spring.
    There is a maximum of two entries per person and the top 10 photos will receive a prize. By entering the competition, you will grant permission to the Rangers at Samphire Hoe to use and display your photographies in order to promote the nature reserve. However, you will retain copyright of your pictures and always be credited alongside your photos. For full Terms and Conditions, please contact Paul Holt at
    If you want to find out more, view the competition poster or phone Paul or Steve on 01304 225649. Can you capture the bleak winter beauty of Samphire Hoe? Then, visit Samphire Hoe, look around, pose and snap away!
  • 12 January - Walk from the Hoe to Lydden Spout

    On 12 January, 19 people took part in the walk through the Hoe to the beach at the west end and then along to Lydden Spout. The fresh waterspring was flowing stronglyand it has begun to cut a channel across the shingle of the beach. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk and were entertained by stories telling of the area. One of the tales was about some stolen white geese being hidden down a well in the village of Lydden. When the thief return to claim them, they had disappeared down the well. And ever since then, it has been possible to find white feathers by Lydden Spout... And guess what, we did find one!
    Our next event is a family one planned on Sunday 16 February at 2:20pm: 'Scavenger hunt and beach adventures at Samphire Hoe'.


  • December- Is Ian Roberts on his way to setting a new Samphire Hoe "year list"record of birdwatching?

    In 2013, Ian Roberts has been attempting to beat the Samphire Hoe ‘year list’ record of 153 species of bird seen by one person which he set at his last attempt in 2008. His 2013 year list to date is currently (at mid December) amounting to 152 so far. But there is still a fortnight to go to set up another record...The total site year list for 2013 is 161 (the highest ever) as so far he has missed Tufted Duck, Great Northern Diver, Red Kite, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard, Woodcock, Golden Plover, Cuckoo and Nightingale.He has added 8 species to his Samphire Hoe list (the first 6 of which are new for the site): Bewick's Swan, White-fronted Goose, Egyptian Goose, Long-tailed Tit, Jack Snipe, Bluethroat, Slavonian Grebe and Mistle Thrush.
  • 21 November - B&Q Christmas advert shot in Samphire Hoe

    Part of the B&Q Christmas advert was filmed at Samphire Hoe on 21 November. The film shoot included a classis silver airstream caravan that was parked at the west end of the Hoe and decorated with fairy lights.
    Paul Holt from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership said: ‘The lit up caravan looked really good in the dramatic setting of Samphire Hoe. It was amazing just how much effort went into filming the perfect shot which now forms the end image of the advert’.
    Talking about the festive season, we remind you that Samphire Hoe is open every day from 7am until dusk. So if you want to escape the hurly-burly world of Christmas shopping, the Hoe is the perfect place to come. And for those of you keen to walk off the Christmas diners, there is a guided walk on offer at Samphire Hoe on Boxing Day at 2pm. Mulled apple juice will be provided. For more information, please call 01304 225 649.
  • September - Gold award for blooming Samphire Hoe!

    Samphire Hoe has been awarded a Gold in the Country Park category of the South and South East in Bloom Awards 2013. The awards sponsored by Southern Water were presented by BBC green-fingered gardener Chris Collins at a ceremony which was held on 11 September 201 at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

    This is the first year that Samphire Hoe has been entered for the award and we are delighted to have achieved such a high level. This award isthe result of the tremendous work carried out by the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership and a loyal team of volunteers. Paul Holt, project Officer for Samphire Hoe, and volunteer ranger David Newbold attended the presentation ceremony.

    The South and South East in Bloom campaign is the largest horticultural campaign in the region involving 100's of communities each year. Participating communities are asked to focus their initiatives on three main areas: horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

  • 30 July - Eurotunnel awarded with a 9th consecutive Green Flag Award®, recognising its efforts in conservation and community involvement

    Eurotunnel is delighted that its Samphire Hoe nature reserve has been honoured with the prestigious Green Flag Award® for a 9th consecutive year, in recognition of the site’s inclusive public access and the high quality of its conservation and community involvement.
    The Green Flag Award® scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales and encourages the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. Each year it recognises and rewards the best green spaces in the country.
    An inspiring nature reserve, Samphire Hoe was reclaimed from the sea using almost 5 million cubic metres of chalk marl extracted from below the Channel during construction of the Tunnel and transformed into an award winning site enabling an impressive development of biodiversity.
    Owned by Eurotunnel, this stunning 30-hectare nature reserve at the foot of the magnificent Shakespeare Cliff attracts 100,000 visitors a year. It is home to some 230 different plant species (including rare orchids), 30 butterfly and 150 moth species and 213 bird species.
    The day-to-day management of this natural space has been entrusted to the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, which receives the support of many volunteers from Kent. The Hoe is open to the public every day from 7am until dusk.
  • 4 June - Early Spider Orchids: 8,500 plants in 2013

    Update of the 7 May news (see on the previous page).

    The early spider orchids count at Samphire Hoe for 2013 reached a grand total of 8,500 plants. Despite the cold late spring and the fact that the early spider orchids were at least three weeks late in flowering, the orchids seem to have had a good year at the Hoe. People travelled from as far away as York, Birmingham and Devon to come and see them. Visitors were delighted to see them growing in significant numbers and surprised by the size of some of them. The tallest measured was over 40cm: this is a giant compared to the national average of about 10cm. This year’s count appears to fit into the pattern of a peak flowering year followed by two lower years. If this trend continues, 2015 should be the next big year. More about in pictures and graph.
  • 22 May - Running events: the Samphire Summer evening series begin

    On Wednesday 22 May at 7.30pm, the Samphire Series kicked off for the third year running. This 5k running races take place around the Hoe and the weather for the first of the season was clear, dry and cool. The evening saw a near record entry with 69 runners. The course takes in the sea wall and a route up and around the middle of the site, giving runners the opportunity to admire the stunning white cliffs scenery as they run. The Samphire series are organised by Nice Work. The next races are planned on 19 June, 31 July and 4 September .

    All details on how to register and the entry form are available on
    The race caters for all abilities - from experienced runners to novices and even a children’s race.
  • 7 May - Early Spider Orchids: a stunning success story for Samphire Hoe

    The early spider orchids at Samphire Hoe have begun to flower. They are one of Great Britain’s rarest orchids and are only found along the south coast from Kent to Dorset. Their name comes from the early flowering season and also the flowers have a resemblance to a plump spider. In fact the flowers are mimicking a female andrena bee, both in looks and scent. The males are attracted to the flower and whilst they try to copulate with it one or two pollen sacks become attached to their heads. On subsequent attractions, this results in the pollination of the flowers.
    Paul Holt, from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, said : ‘This year the flowering season is about four weeks later than normal, probably due to the long cold winter. It was back in 1998 that the first orchids were found at the Hoe was and we counted 67 of them. Last year in 2012, their numbers were over 11,000. We have yet to count them this year but the numbers seem a great deal lower. In the past recent years, the trend has been that after a good year, the following one sees reduced numbers; so I am not unduly worried’.
    The orchids occur on the cliffs above the Hoe and this is most likely the origin of the population here. The colony of early spider orchids has become so well known that people travel from as far away as Birmingham to come and see them. These enigmatic plants have featured on television a number of times including the One Show and Spring Watch. As with all orchids, there is a close relationship between the plants and fungi, without which the seeds will not germinate.
    They will be in flower for the next few weeks. So it is a perfect time to come to the Hoe and discover the orchid which is a bee trickster. The best area to spot them is on the side of the path adjacent to the railway.
  • April - Birdwatching news at the Hoe

    The recent sightings of a bluethroat at Samphire Hoe in late March encouraged a number of birdwatchers to visit the Hoe for the first time. Despite the cold weather, it showed very well at times. Even though the bird was the less colourful female, birders were pleased with the sighting. Bluethroats are a rare species in Kent with about one sighting a year. This spring with the strong easterly winds, several were seen in the county and the one at the Hoe stayed from 27 March until 3 April.

    To provide more information about the birdlife of the nature reserve, the 2012 Samphire Hoe Bird Report has been compiled. The report summarises the year’s sightings and gives a good idea of the species that can be seen at the Hoe and when is the best time. The report was put together by Derek Smith, one of the Samphire Hoe Volunteer Rangers . Derek has been a keen birdwatcher for many years and has been helping at the Hoe since it opened in 1997.
    More information on the Samphire Hoe Bird reports page.
  • 21 March - Porpoises seen off the shore at Samphire Hoe

    The recent calm weather has provided ideal conditions to see the harbour porpoises that have been feeding offshore from the Hoe for the last couple of weeks. Most days one or two have been seen, but on Tuesday 19 March there was an unusually large pod thought to be up to 15 in number. Unfortunately it was difficult to get an exact count as they were so active. Phil Smith, one of the Volunteer Rangers at the Hoe, said: ‘Where ever you looked they seemed to appear; some times they were in so close it was possible to see them very well with the naked eye’. However most of the time a pair of binoculars does help. A top tip for spotting porpoise is to watch the gulls: if they are circling over an area of water, it may well be that fish are being forced to the surface by feeding porpoises. Harbour porpoises are the smallest dolphin species in British waters. They grow to a maximum length of 2m, have a short rounded dorsal fin and a blunt snout. The most common view of them is of the dorsal fin and a section of their back rolling through the water. Occasionally they rest on the water surface giving prolonged views; And in moments of intense activity they can almost come right out of the water surface giving more of an idea of their shape, colour and size.

  • 4 March - Coltsfoot in flower at Samphire Hoe

    One of the signs of spring that Paul Holt looks forward to at the Hoe is the first coltsfoot flowers. These small bright yellow dandelion like flowers normally appear in late February or early March. They are in flower now and can bee seen along the path adjacent to the railway line fence. They have a number of local names, one being ‘son before father’ as the flowers appear before any leaves do. When the leaves do emerge, they are similar in shape to a colt’s hoof print, hence the name. The leaves have distinct pale hairy undersides. It was once thought that smoking the dried leaves cured coughs, a difficult one to believe! The plant is also said to indicate coal in the ground which could be the case as the Hoe which was location of the first coal mine in Kent, but sadly this is also an old wives tale. It does however prefer wet clay soil that has been disturbed. The early flowers can provide a source of nectar for newly emerged insects such as hoverflies.

  • 6 February - Samphire Hoe: the big "Big Year" challenge in 2013

    In 2008 local birdwatcher Ian Roberts did a "Samphire Hoe Big Year": he tried to see as many species of bird as he could at Samphire Hoe. In order to be taken into account, the birds had to be on the Hoe or seen from it. After numerous visits, he saw 153 different types. The total number seen during the course of the year was 160 so he only missed 7 species.

    This year 2013, Ian is repeating the challenge with the aim of seeing more species. So far this year, he is doing well having seen 68 species by the 31 March, he has only missed 5 species so far. On the 31 March in 2008 his total was 57 so 2013 is shaping up as a big ‘Big Year’. He has already added two new species of bird to the Hoe list: two Egyptian geese flew by and he was quick enough to take a record shot, with the camera! During the recent cold spell, a very elusive Jack Snipe was seen down by the pond. This takes the total number of species of bird ever seen on or from the Hoe to 213.

    To follow how Ian is getting on, check out his web site Folkestone and Hythe Birds available at, then click on the link to the Samphire Hoe year list.
    More about in pictures

  • 17 January - Bird sightings at Samphire Hoe

    The recent cold temeratures and snow on mainland Europe have caused an arrival of interesting birds at Samphire Hoe. In the last couple od days, there has been up to 40 redwings and more than 20 fieldfares feeding in the grassland in search of worms and other invertebrates.

    These two species of winter thrush often spend the first part of winter feeding on berries but as food supply diminishes, they move onto grassland looking for other kind of food. They have also been joined by an increasing number of blackbirds, song thrushes and starlings. Lapwings have also been seen both feeding on the Hoe and flying in off the sea.
    More about in pictures

  • 13 January - Guided walk from Samphire Hoe to Lydden Spout

    On Sunday 13 January when the weather was cold but very pleasant, 23 people joined Paul Holt, ranger at the Hoe, for a good walk from Samphire Hoe to Lydden Spout. While many of the walkers had never seen the Lydden Spout before, they had the perfect conditions to see it at its best with all the wet weather we have had before.
    Lydden Spout is a fresh water spring that emerges from the base of the White Cliffs of Dover, a short distance from the west end of Samphire Hoe. The spring always flows but with the recent wet autumn and winter weather, the water is gushing out of the cliff and has cut an impressive gully through the shingle beach.

    Paul Holt is taking the opportunity to remind visitors at Samphire Hoe that it is potenially dangerous to walk att he base of the cliffs, particularly after very wet weather.
    More about in pictures


  • 20 December - Is volunteering on your list of new year's resolutions?

    Thinking about new year’s resolutions? Like:

    Taking more exercise?
    Meeting new people?
    Doing something different in 2013?

    How about coming along on a volunteer event at Samphire Hoe? It is a great way to do all of the above without the cost of gym centre fees. We provide all the leadership advice, tools and equipment, a smile and a cup or two of tea. For dates of the events look on the events page or give us a call at the Hoe on 01304 225649.

    Happy New Year!

  • 17 December - Twelve Christmas sightings

    Winter is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the elements at Samphire Hoe. Crisp sunny mornings or strong South Westerly winds can really get your blood moving. It can be an exhilarating experience during these shorter days to watch the huge overtopping waves here at Samphire hoe, from the safety of the main path.
    Pick up a festive sighting sheet at the tea kiosk/office: there are twelve things to spot while you are out enjoying your walk around the Hoe. See how many points you can score…
  • 28 November - Autumnal rarities at the Hoe

    For birdwatchers, the autumn can be a very exciting time. The large scale seasonal migration is swelled with the year’s young birds heading south, and there is always the chance of an unusual sighting. The autumn of 2012 will go down in Samphire Hoe history as the best ever... so far for unusual birds. Excitement began when a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was found feeding in bramble bushes by the back car park on 20 September. This is a species that is normally found only as far west as Turkey. It stayed for the day with a flock of Common Starlings but was not seen the following day.
    As the autumn progressed, birds from even further away began to arrive with a Yellow-browed Warbler from Siberia on 7 October feeding in the sycamore tree opposite the office. Seen in the same tree on 22 October, a Pallas Warbler known as a ‘seven stripe sprite’ is a tiny bird smaller than a wren and has a wonderful selection of eye stripes, crown stripe, wing bars and a yellow rump. It stayed around for two days. Normally at this time of year, it should be going to its wintering grounds in China!
    And to round it all off on 18 November, Roger Card, one of the volunteer rangers at Samphire Hoe, was lucky enough to see and photograph an Asian Desert Warbler as it hopped about on the path in-front of him. This very rare bird comes from Iran and Afganistan. It was only the second ever recorded in Kent, the 11th for Britain and the first to have been seen in England for 12 years.
    Such sighting of rarities is fascinating for birdwatchers and the natural phenomenon of migration truly is a nature's wonder at Samphire Hoe.
    More about in pictures
  • 27 October - King Lear came to Samphire Hoe to celebrate Halloween

    On Saturday 27 October, volunteers and staff at Samphire Hoe put on a Halloween extravaganza called 'King Lear struts his stuff' as part of Kent Coastal Week. The version of William Shakespeare's King Lear was especially adapted for the occasion by local actor Tony Clark.
    Some 60 people braved the dramatic weather to see the St Margaret's players perform this family-friendly version of the tragedy using props, including a hovel, some stocks and even some gallows, made by Samphire Hoe staff.
    The play is actually suited for Halloween as much of the action takes place during a raging storm as many deaths occur, including a hanging, poisoning, suicide, death from duelling, and eventually that of King Lear from a broken heart.
    Despite the adverse weather, children at the event enjoyed becoming unruly knights by playing conkers and pelting Kent in the stocks. Later on, they chased after the Earl of Gloucester's gouged eyes and joined in a battle scene with loud cannon fire explosions.

    Steve Walker, ranger at Samphire Hoe, said: "It was absolutly amazing that so many people came out as the weather forecast was awful. Earlier in the day, the event nearly got cancelled as it was freezing cold with strong gusty winds, the skies opened and it poured down.
    "During King Lear's madness, it rained a little which only added to the drama with a bright rainbow arching over the action"

    At the time that William Shakespeare was writing King Lear, he was said tyo have travelled regularly through Dover. It was his familiarity with the cliffs that may well have inspired his descriptions. To this day the first cliff on the west side of Dover is known as Shakespeare Cliff and the place where construction of the Channel Tunnel started.
    More about in pictures

  • 18 October - Hovel on the heath for King Lear struts his stuff

    In preparation for the King Lear struts his stuff at the end of the month, the 'hovel on the heath' has been constructed at Samphire Hoe. Steve Walker, from the Hoe, provides futher details on the event: 'The Hovel is created with hazel tree cut from traditional coppice as shelters have been made in this fashion for thousands of years. It will play an important role on Saturday afternoon 27 October when the world of King Lear will be brought to life at the Hoe with the help of St Margaret's players'. So then rendez-vous at the Hoe to take part in this fascinating theatrical walk! More information.
  • 14 August - Tigers seen at Samphire Hoe

    Moth trapping

    On 11 August, a moth trapping session attracted three Jersey Tiger moths to the bright lights at Samphire Hoe. Jersey Tiger moths are brightly coloured with the most amazing orange marking under the wings and nearly as big as a butterfly such as a red admiral when they fly.
    Their sighting surprised Paul Holt, the Ranger at Samphire Hoe, who said :"They are the first I have ever seen at the Hoe in 14 years of working here. In only a couple of hours of trapping, we recorded over 26 species of moth, almost as many species as we would see of butterfly in a whole year!".


    In recent years, Jersey Tiger moths appear to have spread their wings and extended their range. They are very distinctive and unlike most other moths, they also fly during the daytime making it easier to see. They can occasionally be seen in the day time on buddleia bushes, which was the case on 13 August with the sighting of one Jersey Tiger moth on the buddleia along the back track at the Hoe.

  • 18 July - The Olympic Torch Relay comes to Samphire Hoe

    The Olympic Torch relay

    The Olympic Torch relay arrived at Samphire Hoe after travelling underground through the 9 km section of the Channel Tunnel from Folkestone, on Wednesday 18 July 2012.

  • 17 July - Eurotunnel presented with an eighth consecutive Green Flag award

    Eurotunnel is delighted that the Samphire Hoe nature reserve has been honoured with the prestigious Green Flag award for an eighth consecutive year, in recognition the site’s inclusive public access and the high quality of its environmental sustainability.

    Samphire Hoe is a 30-hectare site owned by Eurotunnel Group and was reclaimed from the sea using almost 5 million cubic metres of chalk marl extracted from below the Channel and transformed into a nature reserve with an impressive range of biodiversity.

    Opened to the public exactly fifteen years ago to the day (17 July 2012), this impressive nature reserve at the foot of the famous White Cliffs of Dover is home to some 200 different plant species (including rare orchids), 30 butterfly species and 208 bird species.

    The day-to-day management of this natural space has been entrusted to the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, which receives the support of many volunteers from Kent.

    The Hoe is open to the public from 7am until dusk, 365 days a year.

    On Wednesday 18 July, it will play host to the Olympic Torch Relay which will run along the foot of the White Cliffs on its way to Dover for the evening celebrations.

    Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell said: “Great parks and green spaces have a huge impact on local communities, providing places to play and relax as well as bringing generations together in a variety of ways. They are fundamental to our quality of life, whether in cities, towns or villages, and the Green Flag Award scheme seeks to help raise the standards of them all. The many excellent stories coming from the scheme prove what communities and volunteers can achieve by working together with professionals in our green spaces.”

    Eurotunnel Commercial Director, Jo Willacy, said “The desire to avoid environmental consequences from the company’s activities was already evident from the time of the construction of the Channel Tunnel. As a result, today more than 100,000 visitors a year appreciate the tranquil natural landscape and rare flora and fauna in a location created from Tunnel excavation which is freely accessible and provides a site for bio-diversity and leisure for all.”

  • 27 June - Samphire Hoe is on the run

    Two running events have been held in June at Samphire Hoe and two more are on the agenda at the end of July and end of August.

    On Tuesday 26 June, Samphire Hoe was the venue for the East Kent Interclub summer running relays hosted by Dover Road Runners. Over 200 runners from all over East Kent clubs took part in the race which introduced Samphire Hoe to a number of people for the first time.

    On Wednesday 27 June, the second of a serie of four races organised by Nice Work, a leading road running event management company, was held at Samphire Hoe. On a perfect summer evening, over 50 runners took part in the 5 K race with a good number of runners coming in at under 20 minutes. Congratulations to all competitors.

    The third and fourth races in the Summer evening series will be held at Samphire Hoe at 7.30pm on 25 July and on 29 August 2012. To join in the race, please view all details and fill the entry form on Nice Work website at

  • 9 May - Bunches of early spider orchids at Samphire Hoe

    The early spider orchids have had a great season this year: the number of plants counted amounts to about 11,500, the second biggest year since the opening of Samphire Hoe. This represents a massive increase from the 67 plants first recorded back in 1998. Early spider orchids are one of Great Britain's rarest orchids only found along the south coast from Kent to Dorset. They are one of the first flowers to blossom in the year and are commonly said to resemble plump spiders. With the cool spring weather this year, early spider orchids will probably still be blooming by the end of May.

    As a rare orchid type restricted to only a few sites in the UK, they are the subject of particular attention and numerous photography close-ups. Wildlife cameraman and producer Richard Taylor-Jones recently visited Samphire Hoe to film the orchids, which may feature in the popular television programme Springwatch. Focusing on the beauty of some of the UK's wild places, Richard Taylor-Jones said: 'We had a great couple of hours zooming in on the early spider orchids and got some lovely images to broadcast'.

  • 6 February - Snow on the Hoe


    The bitter cold snowy weather has turned the Hoe white. The beach at the west end has a blanket of snow. The conditions have resulted in the sight of some unusual birds on site, such as dunlin on the sea wall, lapwing and snipe on the grassland and woodcock have been flushed from the scrub. Fortunately, there is still some grass visible and the sheep are well insulated unlike the rangers who had to wrap up warm.

  • 14 January - From Samphire Hoe to the top of Shakespeare Cliff: a Shakespeare recital

    Shakespeare Cliff Recital

    On Saturday 14 January 2012, Paul Holt from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership led a walk from Samphire Hoe up onto the top of Shakespeare Cliff. It was perfect winter weather and 18 people in total came along on the walk. “We started at Samphire Hoe, walked up through the tunnel and looped round onto the top of Shakespeare Cliff. We even managed to recite an abbreviated part of King Lear which was said to have been inspired by the very cliffs we were walking over; there is a cliff whose high and bending head looks fearfully into the confined deep”. said Paul. One of the best things about the walk is actually the view from Shakespeare cliff into Dover; it is a different perspective that not many people see but is probably one of the best.