The BBC’s recent Secret Britain programme has re-ignited interest in Langdon Bay, a fascinating part of the Dover coastline. The programme as it’s name suggests, highlights some of the lesser known gems of the British landscape, and includes visits to Cornwall’s ‘secret’ coves, the ‘Cornish Alps’, and Dartmoor amongst other locations.
A Victorian water-powered lift on the Kent coast has been closed after the local Shepway council deemed it too expensive to run.
The Grade II-listed Leas Lift on cliffs at Folkestone carried passengers for the last time on 30th June when the council’s lease ran out.
The lift was built in 1885 making it the oldest water-balanced cliff lift in England. However Shepway Council said it was running at a loss with costs of £90,000 a year and earnings of only £30,000 and the cost of maintenance was also going up. According to the council, the number of people using the lift had dropped considerably since the Sunday market on the Folkestone seafront ended.
A spokesman for the owner, Radnor Estates, said it wanted to reopen the lift.
“It is the estate’s wish to see the lift continue operating.”
“Had the decision to end the lease not been taken [that] would have placed onerous and significant financial obligations on the council,” it said in a statement.”
“We will continue to offer all the support we can to individuals or groups who feel they can contribute to the lift’s future.”
There was drama on the final day of running as two people got stuck in the Leas Lift carriage. A rescuer abseiled down the cliff to assist the pair, who were later rescued in front of onlookers. The lift service was resumed for the remainder of its final day.
Over 2000 Birdwatchers have visited the Dungeness RSPB nature reserve over the past week to try to view the crested lark bird which has been seen for only the 3rd time in Britain in the past 35 years.
The crested lark was seen at Dungeness National Nature Reserve in Kent on Wednesday 29th April. A Spokesman for the Romney Marsh Countryside Project, Owen Leyshon, said the rare bird was similar to the more common skylark but “slightly plainer and a different shape”.
Owen added: “It will have crossed over the Channel from France. They are not rare in Europe, but they are here as they are a non-migratory bird and do not usually like flying over water”. He also said that the crested lark was “quite secretive and flighty so it’s hard to get prolonged views of it on the ground. It’s quite an amazing spectacle to see hundreds of birdwatchers running across the shingle chasing it.”
The last sighting of a crested lark in Britain was 12 years ago. The sighting before that was in Dungeness in 1975.
The East Coast Martello Towers post has now been updated with our latest research, which makes it the most complete and up to date general reference on the east coast towers that you will find on the internet! We also collaborated with professional photographer Ian Giles, and many thanks to him for negotiating the necessary permissions and travelling up to Essex and Suffolk to photograph all of the remaining towers.
Last year we posted photos on the main UK Shore site of the 1926 wreck of the SS Falcon which is visible at low tide in Langdon Bay, Dover. It was with some interest then that I came across archive video footage of the event as it happened in 1926. Thanks to JohnVaughan for posting this on Youtube.
On a later trip to the site I created a 360 degree panorama of the wreck site which I would highly recommend site visitors having a look at (click on the image to the right).
Langdon Bay and the wreck are accessible to the public, but just a warning that the zig-zag cliff path is VERY steep and although there is a hand rail, make sure you wear proper walking shoes/boots and don’t go unless the weather has been dry. Access to the beach then requires a climb down a 20 foot ladder…
Also of interest in Langdon Bay are a set of World War II searchlight positions embedded in the cliff (near the ladder down to the beach). Again, this was a subject of a 360 degree panorama, please have a look…