The Warren – One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
The Warren area of Folkestone’s coastline shows that you are never far from the power and wrath of the sea. Previously, it was a wonderful Edwardian beach, with its own train station and cafés abound. Now, it’s a secret wilderness, hidden by forested walks which open to truly the most beautiful of coastal views.
The White Cliffs country continues from Dover into Folkestone but here, the bedrock is Gault Clay. The chalky cliffs have fallen away and, as a result, this undulating landscape is much darker than the bright white cliffs Vera Lynn sings of.
vital links in the british fossil record
The Warren certainly is an incredibly important geological area. In particular, the chalk and clay hold a wealth of fossils that have helped decipher the UK’s prehistoric past.
The Warren is a wonderful place to walk dogs, and, importantly, they are allowed here all year round. On Folkestone’s other beaches dogs are only allowed on from 1st October to 30th April. The zig-zag path draws you up into the tumbling fauna of the cliffs. The plethora of wild flowers and native species of insects that live here help make it a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Take your binoculars to find over 150 species of native birds, and there are some impressive butterflies to spot too. You can see Samphire Hoe in the distance; this is the landmass created by the spoil from the Channel Tunnel in 1994. Wild samphire grows here, as does wild cabbage and rock sea lavender.
There is free parking on Wear Bay Road, follow signs to the Folkestone Camping and Caravanning Club site. You can also park on Wear Bay Road and access the walks from just below The Pavilion.
To get to The Warren from the top of the cliff, you can park at the Cliff Top Café in Capel Le Ferne and use this as your refreshment base. Alternatively, you can park at the Little Switzerland Café by the Folkestone East Cliff campsite. There are paths leading down, through the 350 metre high cliffs to the sea front. Take a bottle of water with you to help you on your way back to the top!