CRETEWAY DOWN, FOLKESTONE
There are tremendous views of Folkestone from Creteway Down, which forms an important link between the important wildlife sites of Folkestone Downs and Folkestone Warren. Part of Creteway Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest of European importance for wildlife, espcially orchids. Many orchids can be found growing on Creteway Down, including a colony of early spider orchids which is increasing in number because of the grazing.
Chalk & Cheese
There are lots of wild flowers of ancient chalk grassland to be seen, including quaking grass, salad burnet and rock rose. These can be seen best on the steep slopes leading down to Folkestone; the top of the slope is covered in plateau clay-with-flint, which is a reddish colour. This is mildly acidic, the opposite of the alkaline chalk, and allows plants such as gorse and sheep's sorrel, which hate the lime of chalk, to grow on top of the chalk downs.
Six Thousand Year Old Footpath
The North Downs Way national trail follows the crest of the hill, on a route that has probably been a footpath for thousands of years. Early Mesolithic pottery has been found on Creteway Down which suggests that man was walking here around 6,000 years ago. Creteway may drive from the Latin 'creta' for chalk, and it is thought that a Roman Road from Lemanis (Lympne) to Dubris (Dover) followed the route across the downs.
Walking & Cycling
Today, you are welcome to walk all over Creteway Down.
National Cycle Route No 2 that leads from Dover to Folkestone and on to the West Country, crosses Creteway Down.
You can discover the Coccoliths sculpture which has been installed on Creteway Down (Grid Reference TR 232 380), on the quiet country lane that leads down across Creteway Down to Dover Hill. Coccoliths were created by the artist Tim Clapcott, and were inspired by the shape of the tiny skeletons (called coccoliths) that make up the chalk. They are the remains of tiny plants that floated in a warm tropical seas between 65 and 130 million years ago. The sculpture is one of the artworks that form the Chalk & Channel Way between Dover and Folkestone (see the Cycling or Art Trails pages). You can also hear the poem, Blind Date, written by the poet Ros Barber.
Poem No 1 Blind Date by Ros Barber
Here, the creature you dreamt
while your blood was sleeping.
I am half bone, and half the other thing,
that part of you
you won’t own up to.
As long as you like, I have been here
under your feet,
and as long as you like
The best of me I have hidden away
from the music
that drifts from the dance,
in a place that none but the locals
know how to pronounce.
You cannot imagine
what I am about to say to you.
I am astounding.
I am nothing
like my sisters.