Visit to Samphire Hoe

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Rounding off his very successful year as President of the Rotary Club of Dover Dave Smith chaired his last meeting of members and guests in the Education Centre of Samphire Hoe on Thursday 21st June2018 where the guest speaker was Partnership Officer of White Cliffs Countryside Partnership and Ranger of the Hoe, Paul Holt.

Run on behalf of Eurotunnel the Hoe hosts 90,000 visitors a year making it one of Dover’s busiest tourist attractions. Paul reminded those present that part of the site was the location of the original attempt to build a Channel Tunnel in 1880 and a second unsuccessful attempt in 1970 which was aborted on financial grounds. The industrial heritage of the area also included the siting of the first Kent coalfield in the Shakespeare Cliff Colliery, which eventually failed due to flooding issues that incurred loss of life, as well as the creation of the railway line between Dover and Folkestone in the nineteenth century.

Reclaimed from the sea by the spoil from the successful Channel Tunnel development the area of land which now comprises an impressive nature reserve derived its name from a competition which was won by the late Gillian Janaway wife of the present Secretary of the Rotary Club Philip Janaway. The nature reserve now boasts some 1200 Early Spider Orchids, 28 species of butterfly and 200 species of birds as well as being a haven for newts, grasshoppers, adders and other small animals and insects.

An obviously enthusiastic promoter of the joys of the Hoe Paul told of the large numbers of school children who visit the site many of whom have either never visited the countryside before nor, indeed, seen the sea. Among the guests at the lunch and talk were members of the local Inner Wheel Club and Dover Mercury Reporter Sam Lennon.

The Education Centre was originally part funded by the Rotary Club and as the last cheque presentation of his year Dave Smith gave a cheque for £200 to Paul Holt for the acquisition of a log splitter used by volunteers who weekly attend the site to split logs. A previous splitter had just recently broken. John Hunnisett proposed a vote of thanks in which he praised Paul’s talk and the passion he shows for this unique piece of England that is Samphire Hoe.