The White Cliffs have receded from prominence for travelers in the years since the Eurostar began to replace ferry service from Dover to Oostend, Belgium or Calais, France, but they resonate enough with the British that this fundraising goal was small potatoes.
A section of the White Cliffs of Dover will be preserved after a successful National Trust campaign that raised £1.2million to buy it.
It took two months less than expected to accumulate the funds needed to purchase the length of coast, after celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, the singer Joss Stone and the chef Rick Stein, lent their support.
A significant donation from the Dover Harbour Board also helped the trust meet the target. Throughout the campaign, an average of £9,000 per day was raised.
The purchase will open up the coast to the public and fill in the missing link on a section nearly five miles-long, from its visitor centre above Dover port to South Foreland Lighthouse.
The chalk cliffs stretching east from Dover are home to a rich array of wildlife such as the Adonis blue butterfly and peregrine falcons, Kent’s only kittiwake (seabird) and plants including oxtongue broomrape and sea carrots.
Alison Burnett, a volunteer on the White Cliffs of Dover team, said: “This chalky stretch of coastline symbolises so much for so many people and it’s wonderful to think that we’ve managed to raise the money so that future generations can enjoy all that this unique place has to offer.”
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Photo credit: The White Cliffs of Dover as seen from the English Channel. Harvey Barrison / Flickr.com