Length: 17.8 km (11.1 mi)
[plus diversion to lunch pub; longer if finishing in Dover; also longer if you investigate a lot of the artworks]
Ascent/Descent: 354/389m; Net Walking Time: 4 ¼ hours
Take the 10.08 Margate train from St. Pancras I’nal (10.15 Stratford I’nal), change at Ashford (10.46/11.02) onto the Dover Priory service from Charing X, arrives Sandling 11.13.
Older folk may also take the Dover Priory train all the way from Charing X at 09.40 (calls W’loo East, LBG, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge…).
Return trains: on xx.00 to St. Pancras (54 minutes) and xx.09 and xx.36 to Charing X (106 minutes).
Buy a Folkestone Central return, with High Speed Option.
An opportunity to combine a decent (if largely map-led) walk with an option to look at the offerings of this year’s incarnation of the Folkestone Triennial
, sculptures and installations displayed largely along the seafront (which the walk route overlaps with), further along the coast (not on the SWC route) and in the Creative Quarter (on a different, but not longer, route to the station).
Find a map of the artworks on the linked Triennial page (click the map symbol in the top right corner there). Note that the Informations Centre and the manned installations close at 17.00 hours.
As for the walk: “This walk follows the waymarked North Downs Way (NDW) along the edge of an escarpment with views over the Channel for almost the entire route. Apart from 2 steep climbs near the start, the route is level and easy going. The walk starts with a steep climb up Tolsford Hill, with views over the Channel, to pick up the waymarked North Downs Way (NDW). Heading east, the NDW descends into a valley and under a disused railway line. There's a second steep climb up the other side. Navigation along this stretch is a little tricky in places, so do take/print out a map.
The rest of the walk is easy, along a level, well maintained path along the side of the hill with spectacular views out over the coast, the Channel, and later Folkestone, and the Channel Tunnel rail terminal. For the rest of the walk, you can see Folkestone, and either of the stations you are aiming for!
Just past the viewpoint over Channel Tunnel, by an ancient hill fort, there is an option to cut the walk short to Folkestone West. Note that this involves a long pavement walk to the station.
The main walk continues, contouring around the summit of a hill, high above Folkestone, with views out over the channel, until it reaches the coast at the start of the White Cliffs of Dover.”
Here there is a choice to finish in Folkestone or Dover, see the webpage for details.
: The Gatekeeper Inn
(5.1 km/ 3.1 mi; food to 14.30), 5 minutes off route.
Plenty options in Folkestone, see the Triennial’s website here
; the best dining option is the upmarket Rocksalt
(with a nice bar at the upper level), overlooking the harbour (that requires taking the waterfront path upon approaching F’stone, rather than the higher SWC route), or their next door offshoot fish & chips The Smokehouse
There are also a plethora of further options on the Harbour Arm, the half-refurbished former Folkestone Harbour Station on the former Landing Stages, which is a very interesting excursion in itself.
, height profile, minimal walk directions
and gpx/kml files