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A man in a red coat and a boy in alight blue jumper walker through a grassy meadow in front of a lighthouse on a sunny, autumnal day
Visitors walking their dog at South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent | © National Trust Images/John Miller
Kent

Additional parking to Fan Bay and South Foreland Lighthouse circular trail

This easy circular walk will take you to Fan Bay, then follow the coast path along the cliff-tops to South Foreland Lighthouse where you can enjoy some much-needed refreshment. As you enjoy your walk, look out for peregrine falcons, kestrels and buzzards as well as rabbits, butterflies, bees and a host of other creatures. You may even see one of the recently re-introduced choughs. See if you can spot some of the orchids that grow quite close to the path.

The cliff edge is close by

The coast path passes quite close to the cliff edge in places. Please ensure that children are supervised and that dogs are kept on a lead. Some areas off the path can be slippery. In windy, wet or icy conditions, you may choose to use the tracks that are more inland, instead of the coast path.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Your start location is at www.what3words.com/constants.servicing.pads, Ordnance Survey map reference TR 3492 4324. On fine summer days the sun is very strong on the cliff tops - remember your sun cream, hats and water.

Step 1

Stand with the car park hut behind you - the field exit gate is in the lowest corner of the field, slightly to your right. There is a map on the gate with many of the features at White Cliffs marked. You may wish to photograph the map for your walk.

Image showing the additional parking facility at the White Cliffs of Dover
The additional parking facility at the White Cliffs of Dover | © National Trust/Chris Tapley

Step 2

Go through the pedestrian gate and follow the fence down the hill on the grass path to the gravel track. Cross the gravel track and continue up hill on the grass path to the surfaced track.

Step 3

Across the surfaced road, ahead is the gravel track to Fan Bay Deep Shelter. If the gate is closed, please use the pedestrian gate alongside. The Deep Shelter is marked with a flagpole. Livestock may be grazing these fields, so please keep your dog on a short lead. Toilet and refreshment facilities are at the lighthouse - there are no facilities at Fan Bay Deep Shelter. If you wish to go directly to the lighthouse, turn left onto the surfaced track and the lighthouse is 10 minutes walk away. If you wish to visit both sites, we recommend heading to Fan Bay Deep Shelter first, as the last tour there is at 3pm, whereas the last tour at the lighthouse is at 5pm.

Image of a road junction with the sea in the background on a sunny day with scattered clouds
Road crossing with Fan Bay Deep Shelter straight ahead and track to the lighthouse on the left. | © National Trust/Richard Meadows

Step 4

Fan Bay Deep Shelter was constructed early in the Second World War to accommodate the troops serving on the gun battery nearby. You can take a guided tour of the tunnels, which also includes the two First World War sound mirrors - one of the earliest means of aiding detection of incoming enemy aircraft. When you have finished at Fan Bay Deep Shelter, exit via the pedestrian gate at the lowest part of the site and join the surfaced path with the sea on your right hand side. Now stay on the path to head to the lighthouse.

Image of the Officers' tunnel in Fan Bay Deep Shelter with the white chalk access tunnel in the distance and the colliery arches and corrugated lining.
The Officers' accommodation tunnel in Fan Bay Deep Shelter, which you will see on your tour. | © National Trust Images/Chris Tapley

Step 5

You will approach the lighthouse up a slope from the cliffs. Continue to walk alongside the white wall and enter the lighthouse grounds via the small gate on your right. The lighthouse grounds, toilet, shop and the tea rooms are free to enter; guided tours of the lighthouse tower are free for National Trust members with a valid membership card.

South Foreland Lighthouse
South Foreland Lighthouse | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Step 6

When you have finished at the lighthouse, exit via the large gates near the shop and turn left onto the surfaced track to walk slightly uphill. Continue for approximately 0.5 miles (0.75 km) until you reach the gate and gravel track to Fan Bay Deep Shelter on your left. What3words location www.what3words.com/scramble.corn.headers.

Step 7

At the junction with the Fan Bay track, turn right so that you have your back to the sea and head along the grass path. You will shortly start to head downhill towards the car park. At the bottom of the hill, cross the gravel track then walk slightly uphill to the pedestrian gate entrance to the car park.

Step 8

Go through the pedestrian gate into the car park, which is the end of your walk. We hope you have enjoyed your time at The White Cliffs of Dover.

End point

Your walk ends in the Additional Car Park at www.what3words.com/constants.servicing.pads, Ordnance Survey map reference TR 3492 4324.

Trail map

Image of an Ordnance Survey map of the White Cliffs of Dover showing a circular walk from the additional parking facility
Trail map of circular walk from the additional parking facility to Fan Bay Deep Shelter and South Foreland Lighthouse | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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