Kent and East Sussex Coast Drive – Photos

Last Sunday I spent a fantastic and fascinating day travelling the south east coast from the White Cliffs of Dover down to the Firehills of Fairlight near Hastings. From the WWII gun emplacements at St Martins Battery could be seen the faint outline of the French coast. Now, I never knew that the word ‘Battery’ came from the French ‘battre‘ meaning ‘to beat’ until I read it on an information board here. You learn something new every day, even at my age…

There a few photos taken from St Martin’s Battery on my post North Downs Way Walk – Dover to Folkestone – Photos.

On leaving Dover I visited the Battle Of Britain Memorial dedicated to ‘The Few’:-

Battle Of Britain Memorial Panorama, Capel le Ferne, Kent, UK

~ Battle Of Britain Memorial Panorama, Capel le Ferne, Kent, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 18mm
4 photo panorama stitch
Spans 107° horizontally : 44° vertically
f/11 : 1/125 sec : ISO 200


After the fall of France in June 1940, Adolf Hitler contemplated invading Britain.

Before this could be attempted, the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, had to destroy RAF Fighter Command and thus achieve control of the skies over southern England.

So the Battle of Britain came to be fought – officially between July 10 and October 31 1940 – and the Luftwaffe, and therefore the invasion plan, was thwarted.

The spearhead of the British defence was just under 3000 pilots and other aircrew of Fighter Command, of whom well over 500 died from all causes during the Battle. Their contribution at a turning point in British history was eventually recognised by the “immediate” award of the 1939-45 Star with Battle of Britain Clasp.

In a speech in the House of Commons on August 20 1940, as the Battle raged, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister, referred to the British airmen who by their prowess and devotion were turning the tide of World War.

He went on to declare, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Ever since, those who fought in the Battle have been referred to as “The Few”.

Those who earned that title are quick to stress the contribution to their victory of many other men and women in the RAF, as well as in the Royal Navy and Army and civilians in many capacities.

They often, too, stress the contribution to final victory in 1945 of the man who led them, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding (1882-1970). It is often argued that without Dowding’s victory in 1940, other Generals would have been denied their triumphs later in the war.

The feeling of respect was mutual. To the normally unemotional Air Chief Marshal Dowding, The Few were, “My Dear Fighter Boys”.

Driving along the coast through Folkestone, Hythe and Dymchurch I ended up right out in the middle of nowhere on a spit of reclaimed land from the sea called Dungeness. If you are ever in this part of the world visit ‘The Pilot Inn‘ for THE best fish & chips I have ever tasted…

Dungeness, Kent, UK

~ Dungeness, Kent, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 23mm
f/11 : 1/125 sec : ISO 200

There is a nuclear power station here and two lighthouses. As the land continually builds up here various lighthouses have had to be constructed over the years here:-


With its treacherous shifting banks of sand and shingle, Dungeness point has always been feared as a notorious black spot for mariners.

Advances in marine technology during the 16th century substantially increased the size and number of ships passing through the English Channel, with a corresponding increase in losses around Dungeness.

During one particularly bad winter gale it is said that over 1000 sailors lost their lives, along with many valuable cargoes.

The first lighthouses
Beacons were originally lit on the land to warn passing sailors, but to combat this growing problem, a proper lighthouse was constructed at Dungeness in 1615.

Its owner, Sir Edward Howard, was empowered by King James I to levy tolls of one penny per ton from all ships passing it – something that didn’t go down too well with fleet owners.

A steady build up of shingle saw the sea disappearing into the distance, so in 1635 a new lighthouse (‘Lamplough’s Tower’) was built closer to the water’s edge. This stood some 110 feet high and lasted over 100 years.

As the sea continued to recede, it was necessary to build a third lighthouse in 1792.

Lighthouse number three
Standing 116ft tall, the lighthouse (‘Samuel Wyatt’s Tower’) was built to a similar design as the Eddystone light, and was lit by 17 Argon lamps, magnified by silvered concave reflectors.

With the shingle bank continuing to grow in size and pushing the lighthouse further from the sea, work began on the present ‘Old Lighthouse’ in 1901.

The Old Lighthouse (‘The High Light Tower’)
Built by Patrick & Co of London, the fourth lighthouse was ceremonially opened by His Majesty, The Prince of Wales (later George V) in 1904, with its 150ft height making it one of tallest lighthouses in the UK.

Its intermittent light, flashing every 10 seconds, was visible for around 18 miles.

Sporting a steel roof and slate floor, the Top Lantern Room housed the massive circular lens. Weighing two tons, the whole assembly smoothly floated on a bed of mercury.

The lighthouse was operational between 1904 and 1960, before being superceded by the fifth lighthouse, situated about half a mile away.

This new lighthouse had to be built because the buildings of the nearby Dungeness Power Stations were found to be obscuring some of the light.

New lighthouse
Resplendent in its smooth, clean, modern lines and black and white paint job, lighthouse number five was constructed in 1961.

Officially opened by H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, the 43m high lighthouse was brought into operation on 20th November, 1961 and was the first one to incorporate the Xenon electric arc lamp.

The new Dungeness Lighthouse is visible for 27 sea miles. Converted to automatic operation in 1991, it is currently monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Depot at Harwich.

A short trip from here through Camber and past the new wind farm at Little Cheyne Court housing 26 turbines 115 metres high I arrived for a short walk around Rye. Rye used to be a port in medieval times but has since been left high and dry by the sea which is now a mile away.

Landgate Tower, Rye, East Sussex, UK

~ Landgate Tower, Rye, East Sussex, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 18mm
f/11 : 1/80 sec : ISO 200

Rye Parish Church, Rye, East Sussex, UK

~ Rye Parish Church, Rye, East Sussex, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 18mm
f/11 : 1/40 sec : ISO 200

Harley Davidson, Rye, East Sussex, UK

~ Harley Davidson, Rye, East Sussex, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 42mm
f/11 : 1/40 sec : ISO 200

After Rye was a short drive to Winchelsea and the strangely ruined church of St Thomas The Martyr (Thomas Becket – Archbishop of Canterbury murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by knights of Henry II).

Winchelsea Church, Winchelsea, East Sussex, UK

~ Winchelsea Church, Winchelsea, East Sussex, UK ~

Nikon D40 : 18mm
f/11 : 1/40 sec : ISO 200

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~ by Mike on July 10, 2009.

2 Responses to “Kent and East Sussex Coast Drive – Photos”

  1. […] Original post: Kent and East Sussex Coast Drive – Photos « Mike Franklin Photography […]

  2. Dungeness is a great pic. Were you zooming in or out while clicking it?

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