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Take a Stroll Through Samphire Hoe

Did you know that Samphire Hoe was created by Eurotunnel, and is now one of the greenest areas in Britain?

When the construction on the Channel Tunnel started in 1988, and completed in 1994, it wasn’t just a quick journey to Calais that was created. Looking out over the iconic Shakespeare Cliff, Samphire Hoe was also developed. It was created by using 4.9 million cubic metres of chalk marl from the excavations of the Channel Tunnel and has actually increased the size of the UK by 90 acres! It’s a beautiful piece of land, over a 30-hectare site that’s perfect for walking, fishing, and taking in the breathtaking natural landscape.

Discover more about Samphire Hoe, and just what it is that makes this site so special.

Did you know: In 2020 Samphire Hoe had around 120,000 visitors.


History of Samphire Hoe

landscape scenery with grassy land surrounded by white capped cliffs and the sea with a pathway down the center


Did you know: The name ‘Samphire Hoe’ was recommended by former English teacher, Gillian Janaway, inspired by a passage from Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Samphire Hoe is so much more than just a nature reserve. Its history goes back to 1843, when the erosion of the cliffs was stopped, by detonating 185 barrels of gunpowder; creating a platform for the Dover to Folkestone railway. Throughout the years it was used as a mine, but due to a series of issues, it was abandoned after only digging 120 tonnes of coal.

The start of the Channel Tunnel project in 1988 meant that the hoe was put to great use, and the area has been home to a variety of wildlife ever since.

You can discover more about Samphire Hoe’s fascinating history, and beautiful present, at the education kiosk.  Chat with the knowledgeable staff there who can help with any questions you may have.


Go wild for the wildlife

close up shot of a large brown highland cow with horns grazing in a grassy field


Did you know: Samphire Hoe has received an impressive 15 Green Flag Awards for achieving the national standard for parks and green space.

Wildlife lovers will go, well, wild for the flora and fauna that make up the park. The more observant of which will notice the rare early spider orchid, one of the most famous plants at Samphire Hoe.

When Samphire Hoe was created, half was sown with wildflower seeds, mixing 31 species that suit the different conditions of the land. The rye grass that made up the other half of the hoe has died out, and the new vegetation that has replaced it has attracted a whole heap of exciting wildlife!

There are over 200 species of plants, and 30 species of butterflies. If you come to visit, don’t forget to take a snap of our highland cattle as they graze on the meadow. For all you twitchers out there, Samphire Hoe is home to over 220 species of birds, including both resident and migrant, as well as numerous summer and winter visitors - so bring your binoculars!


Are You a Fishing Fan?

large fishing promenade surrounded by white capped cliffs, grassy scenery and sea


Did you know: Samphire Hoe’s sea wall is over a mile long.

Think you’re pretty fly for a fisher guy? If you crave the peace and quiet, and love to look out to open water, then you need to visit the sea wall at Samphire Hoe. Rates are very reasonable, and for the true fishing fans, there is a yearly pass. Permits are available from the tea kiosk.

Visit the Samphire Hoe website for more information.

Ready to start your Samphire Hoe adventure?

Natural beauty is closer than you think, with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It only takes 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais. 

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