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SWC Walk 126 : Calais Walking Guide : 8 walks in and around Calais, Cap Blanc-Nez

8 walks between 5 and 16 miles in the Calais area suitable for day trips by train or ferry.


Length 8 - 26 km (5 to 16 miles)
Toughness 1 - 6 (it varies for the 8 walks)
Maps IGN Top 25 # 2103ET Calais/Site Des Caps. The PDF contains map extracts.
Walk Notes Click to download PDF of walks near Calais

These walks in the Calais area have all been designed to be possible on day trips (or better still, a short break) from England - either by ferry to Calais or train to the TGV Frethun station (just outside Calais). They are public transport friendly.

Warning, the routes are not necessarily waymarked - please follow the maps.

The walks PDF was kindly created for us and for you by Jeunes et Nature de Calais, a Calais based walking club.

These walks are also on their website, with IGN (the equivalent of OS) mapping and GPS data.

Walk 1

Calais, Nord [North] and St Pierre [St Peter] quarters : The Port and the Lace Museum. 10km (6 miles)

Start from Calais, central station (Gare Centre-Ville/ Calais-Ville). Things to see:

  • The town hall with its distinctive belfry. In front, Rodin's statue of The Burghers of Calais.
  • The Grand Theatre and Statue of Joseph Jacquard (inventor of a lace making machine).
  • The Lace Museum (La Cité de la Dentelle) - [in English].
  • The Bassin du Paradis (the oldest dock in Calais) and the surrounding docks area, known as the Courgain.
  • Fort Risban and the passenger port.
  • Calais Beach and the West Pier.

Further information:

  • Musée des Beaux-arts (Art Gallery) - [French only].
  • "La Balad-in" - free shuttle bus every 10 mins between the theatre, central station and Place d'Ames - see below under "public transport".
Walk 2

Calais, Blériot-plage area: Tour of the Forts. 10km (6 miles)

Start from Calais beach, Digue Gaston Berthe (the promenade), by the west pier - a short walk from the ferry terminal or town train station. Things to see:

  • Calais Beach and the west pier.
  • Fort Risban, and the passenger port.
  • The Pluviose memorial.
  • The docking basin (bassin des chasses).
  • Fort Nieulay.
  • The Tom Souville sailing centre - [French only].
  • The dunes of Fort Mahon.
  • Fort Lapin.
  • The beach huts on Blériot-Plage beach.
Walk 3

Sangatte: Cap Blanc-Nez and the hills of Noires Mottes. 8km (5 miles)

Start by the access to the sea at Sangatte, near the church. Bus stop: "La Div'in" . Things to see:

  • The high cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez.
  • The memorial to the "Dover Patrol".
  • Views of Sangatte and Escalles.
  • Views of the bay of Wissant and Cape Gris-Nez.
  • Fauna: herring gulls, kittiwakes, Northern fulmars, Jackdaws, etc.
  • Flora: chalk grassland, wild orchids, Autumn Dwarf Gentian, etc.
  • The entrance to the first attempted Channel Tunnel, dating to 1875. [Unofficial histories in French; English].

Further information:

  • The Div'in, the coastal double-decker bus - see below under "public transport".
Walk 4

From the TGV station (Calais-Frethun) to the "balcons d'Escalles". 26km (16 miles)

Start from the Calais-Frethun TGV station. Things to see:

  • The hills of Escalles.
  • The cliffs of Dover in the distance.
  • Views of the bay of Wissant and Cape Gris-Nez.
  • The countryside around Peuplingues and Bonningues-les-Calais.

Getting There

  • Calais-Frethun TGV station has (few) direct trains from London. It is not on the same line as the Calais town station, but there is a shuttle bus between them.
Walk 5

Nielles-lès-Calais: Lowlands. 8 km (5 miles)

Start from the Town Hall of Nielles-lès-Calais, located in the "Basse Nielles" quarter, 800m east of the church of Nielles. Things to see:

  • The village of St Tricat and its church.
  • The lowlands and marshes of Nielles-lès-Calais
  • The Calais heights.
  • The countryside around Peuplingues and Bonningues-les-Calais.
Walk 6

Coulogne / Guînes: between river and marsh. 17 km (11 miles) or 10 km (6 miles)

Two possible start points: Coulogne Bridge, or Tournepuits Road in Guînes.

Things to see:

  • The towpaths along the St Omer Canal and the Guines river.
  • The bridge known as the "pont à deux trous" (the bridge with two openings).
  • The neighborhoods of Préville and Trou-gai,.
  • The marsh of Guînes, following the route of the disused Guînes railway line and two nature trails (circuits de décovertes): "La Calaisienne" - [French only] - and "les Tétards".
  • The historic village of Guînes. Guînes Clock Tower - [French]; [English] .

Getting There

  • Bus route: 6.
Walk 7

Guînes marsh: The "Tétards" nature trail. 2km (1½ miles)

Start from Guînes marsh, by the St Joseph Village (replica old village) - [French only].

Getting There

  • Bus route: 6.
Walk 8

Wissant-Audinghen: Round Cape Gris-Nez and Tardinghen marsh. 21 km

Start from: the church at Wissant, the Church at Tardinghen, or Cape Gris-Nez. Things to see:

  • Wissant.
  • The former sand and gravel quarry.
  • La Motte du Bourg (hill).
  • Tardinghen marsh.
  • The dune of Le Chatelet.
  • The "Courte Dune" headland.
  • The beach at Gris-Nez.
  • Cape Gris-Nez and its cliffs.
  • Two inlets into the cliffs: the "cran aux oeufs" and the "cran poulet".
  • Views of the coast of Boulogne (including Audresselles, Ambleteuse, and Wimereux) .
  • Wissant Bay.
  • Views of Cap Blanc-Nez.

Getting There

  • The Div'in bus from Calais town centre runs along the coast.
Links
Getting Around
Getting There

By Public Transport (Train to Dover, then Ferry)

  • Train to Dover (1 hour 30 mins from London),
  • Walk (30 mins) to the ferry terminal (the free shuttle bus has ended)
  • Ferry to Calais (1 hour 30 mins).
  • In Calais, there is a pedestrian short-cut from the port to the town centre (turn right out of the port entrance).

There is an unpublicised combined ticket from London to Calais (train to Dover, walk to port, P&O ferry), about £25 return with a Network Card

See Seat 61 - London to Paris, and scroll down to the Calais Day tripper section.

By Public Transport (Eurostar from London St Pancras to Calais-Freuthen

Only 1 hour via TGV, but, as of 2011, only 2 or 3 trains a day. One of the walks starts at Calais Freuthen station. Its outside the town centre, but there is [2014] a free shuttle bus

Expensive in summer (about £80 if booked in advance), but much cheaper (e.g. 2-for-1 offers) in winter.

By Car

90 mins drive to Dover, then 40 mins by Eurostart, or 90 mins on the ferry. There is lots of parking by Calais' town beach. If you're stocking up on cheap booze, remember, the hypermarkets are closed on Sunday.

Ferry: Usually cheaper. In winter there are sometimes very cheap daytrip offers - £30 for a car and 4 passengers.

Eurotunnel (car on train shuttle) : Quicker, but usually more expensive than the ferry. The French terminal is handy for the coastal walks. Its near to the large Citi Europe shopping Centre with a hypermarket.

Author © 2011 Jeunes et Nature de Calais. We are very grateful to them for the amount of work they put in to produce the PDF.
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Start: Calais, France

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Version

Jul-11

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Walk Directions

Download and print the PDF file for complete walking directions.