The Samphire Tower
Did you ever wonder what they did with all the spoil they dug out to create the Channel Tunnel? The answer is they used the 4.9millions cubic metres of chalk marl to create Samphire Hoe, in Kent, England’s newest landmass. The land is dominated by a new tower, Samphire Tower, a 33ft high oak and larch clad structure reflecting nautical architecture around the UK.
Inside a brass telescope is used to trigger sounds and compositions which evoke the history of the English Channel. (I’m never too sure about these sorts of sound effects, personally – I will report back again when I have visited the site).
The tower was designed by Jony Easterby and Pippa Taylor. You can read Jony’s account of his inspiration for the tower here:
Like the Lincolnshire towers (see October feature in the Folly Fancier)- this was commissioned by Sustrans, the National Cycle Network charity and forms a marker point on the Chalk and Channel Way
The Chalk and Channel Way is a walking and cycling route along the White Cliffs between Dover and Folkestone. It lies within the Dover-Folkestone Heritage Coast which in turn forms part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is an online leaflet about it at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/webfiles/leaflets/chalk%20and%20channel%20way_Kent_leaflet.pdf
For more information tel 01304 241806. The White Cliffs Countryside Project is always on the look out for volunteers.
Samphire Hoe: Careful landscaping and a brave ecological approach have created a place suitable for both people and wildlife.
Samphire Hoe is bound by a new mile-long sea wall, the landscape is based on the nearby natural undercliff called called the Folkestone Warren. Once landscaped the Hoe was sown with wild flower seeds collected from the nearby cliffs and chalk grasslands. From a starting point of 32 species there are now 164 different types of wild flowers and grasses growing at Samphire Hoe. Several of the colonisers are rarities, including the Early spider orchid. The Hoe has also proved to be attractive to butterflies and moths, dragonflies and birds.
Throughout the year the colours of the site change as Kidney vetch, then Restharrow or Rock sea lavender dominate. Even in winter the dramatic position and varied light conditions create an intricate endlessly changing scene.
Samphire Hoe is owned by Eurotunnel and managed in partnership with the White Cliffs Countryside Project. http://www.samphirehoe.com