Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Cliffs, with a bit of history

Cicero called these cliffs 'moles magnificae'....
covered with Samphire, which still grows here in profusion.

For those who don't know the village, Kingsdown is at the foot of the northern edge of the White Cliffs of Dover - beyond, the flat lands and shingle beach extend through Walmer, Deal and Sandwich towards Thanet.When Julius Caesar tried to invade Britain in 55BC, he sailed along these cliffs until he found a beach where he could land, being pursued along the coast by the Cantii, some in horse-drawn chariots. There is a memorial plaque on Walmer green, indicating where Caear may have landed - it may just as easily have been on Kingsdown beach.

For a good summary of the expeditions, see the Athena Review site; for a brilliant "artist's impression", read the hillarious Asterix in Britain, or watch the film.
Translation: The Britons were like the Gauls, and many were decendants of gauls who had settled in Britain. they spoke the same language, but had a special way of talking:
"Good gracious, that's a bit of a surprise". "It is, isn't it?"

More recently, an army camp and rifle range of concrete and sand were established beneath the cliffs; the camp (including the main house and camping area) has been washed away, with the main damage being done about 10 years ago when a blizzard and north-easterly gale dumped much of the beach on the road.
The rifle range in also under attack from the sea, but the MOD is fighting back by putting up lots of signs (Canute, where are you?)

Wildlife is the main beneficiary of the gradual dereliction:
Fulmars are already checking out the nesting sites for next year,

a Black Redstart has been seen from time to time,

and various plants are colonising the harsh environment - including Sea Lavender, above.

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