Today’s statistics: 9 miles, ascent 956′, descent 960′

Having tucked away a yummy waffle breakfast at the Brambles B&B, we began our last day on the North Downs Way en route to Dover. We stopped by the beautifully restored East Kent Railway station in Lower Eythorne. There is a little café which is located in an old train car that was used by a circus to transport their elephants.

restored train station in Eythorne

We were only about 1 mile from the NDW and rejoined it at Waldershare Park. Waldershare House was just across a field and rather impressive due to its size. The property was purchased in 1705 by Sir Henry Furnese who then began building this manor house. Unfortunately, he died in 1712 before the completion of the house, which has more recently been converted into private apartments.

Waldershare House

Walking through the park was most pleasant.

Waldershare Park

We found a swing in the park and could not resist!

swing in Waldershare Park

We were soon back into the massive agricultural fields.

Rain was clearly in the clouds and we were glad to walk these fields before they became a slippery, muddy path.

nearing Dover

This old, sunken path through the woods began the descent into Dover.

Sunken path into Dover

Coming upon the Victorian Charlton Cemetery, we knew that Dover was not far away.

Charlton Cemetery on outskirts of Dover

As we had been hiking for the past several days, we noticed vintage WWII aircraft occasionally flying overhead. It turned out that the day after our arrival in Dover was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, to be accompanied by extensive celebrations. As we entered the town we passed several moving memorials, including the one in the picture below. Once in Dover, we met many people that were in town for the celebration.

wall memorial

Continuing down to the water’s edge, we finally arrived at the English Channel in Dover! Dover’s huge, active ferry port, Dover Castle and the white cliffs are all in the background.

On the shores of the English Channel

Depending on which direction Channel swimmers traveled, the official start or finish line of the English Channel swim was marked by these two blocks on the same beach.

Official Start or Finish marker for the English Channel swim

Success! Crossing the Finish Line of the North Downs Way, near the swimmers’ marker!

finish line for the North Downs Way

Our B&B, Castle Guest House, was situated down the hill below medieval Dover Castle. Initially built by Henry II in 1180, the castle has been a center of British defense against the armies of the continent over the centuries. Not only are there tours of the castle, but the wartime tunnels under the castle are fascinating.

Dover Castle

The White Horse is a pub that until just a few years ago was the place that successful English Channel swimmers would come to sign the walls to record their accomplishments.

The White Horse

The pub has run out of wall space so this practice has stopped, but the signatures provide a history of that challenge. We enjoyed a delicious dinner there and were thoroughly entertained by reading the swimmers’ accounts.

English Channel swimmers’ accounts

We spent a couple days in Dover, at one point strolling along the edge of the famous white cliffs. What a tremendous two weeks we have had exploring this beautiful part of England!

White Cliffs of Dover

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