Geosite tags

The hills behind Folkestone are a classic example of a Chalk escarpment.

Folkestone & Hythe
Nearest train station
Folkestone Central

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Folkestone Downs

The hills behind Folkestone are a classic example of a Chalk escarpment – that is to say the steep side (scarp) of the Chalk ridge that is the North Downs.

Like other sites that sit on the top of the escarpment, the downs are best known for their stunning views over Folkestone and out across the Channel to France.

The scientific importance of this site is recognised in its status as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for both its geodiversity and biodiversity. Part of the site, Holywell Coombe, has been found to have been occupied by humans over 4,000 years ago, and fossils found in this Coombe have also led to its inclusion in the Geological Conservation Review (GCR).  

The Downs are managed by the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (WCCP), who work to protect the important geology and wildlife whilst also ensuring people can visit the site and learn about the wildlife here. You can easily reach the Downs by bus, and it’s also on the North Downs Way, as well as being connected to Folkestone by various footpaths. So why not pay a visit and keep an eye out for some rare orchids, butterflies and other wildlife (if you’re not distracted by the incredible views, that is!).  

About Geosites

Geosites are sites of geological interest across the aspiring UNESCO Cross-Channel Global Geopark, where people can visit and interact with our geological heritage. This wide range of sites will offer varying opportunities and values including cultural, heritage, scientific, educational, and aesthetic.

Folkestone pebbled beach, blue sea and clear skies, with cliffs in the distance.

Geopark logo on white background

About the aspiring UNESCO Cross-Channel Global Geopark

Hundreds of thousands of years ago a catastrophic flood swept away the chalk ridge connecting Dover and Calais, carving out the white cliffs of Dover and starting Britain’s history as an island.

Did you know the Kent and French coasts are actually still connected today by the layer of chalk which runs below the Channel?

In celebration of the chalk and the channel, we are working to secure UNESCO Cross-Channel Global Geopark status for the Kent Downs National Landscape together with our neighbouring protected landscape in France; the Parc Naturel Regional des Caps et Marais d’Opale.

The Geopark will include both the protected landscapes and the Channel connecting them, recognising and celebrating the geological connection between us.

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