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Shakespeare's Cliff and Queen Anne's Lace

Shakespeare's Cliff and Queen Anne's Lace

Location: Great Farthingloe Farm

Date: 26th July 2023

Blog Written by: Gini (Walk Leader)

What a gorgeous sunny day after what has felt like weeks of endless downpours and grey cloudy days. 

We trundled off to explore Great Farthingloe Farm with Insect and Butterfly ID books as well as a bug viewer. One of our younger participants looked along the verges to find numerous six legged friends.

We found Queen Anne's lace with a bright red spot in the centre. It is said to have been named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lace maker. The Legend says that while crafting away, Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle and a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace, leaving the dark purple/red spot.

We spotted grasshoppers, crickets, red tailed bees, white tailed bees, and many more hoverlfies and lots of red headed cardinal beetles. 

There were marbled whites, gatekeepers, meadow browns, red admiral butterflies and 6 spotted Burnett day flying moths.

And for the first time, we found an open gate (which is usually inaccessible for wheelers) so took advantage, and followed the track towards the North Downs Way. We admired the clear views over Dover Port and saw France in the distance. We also noted how narrow the North Downs Way is at this point, and not suitable for 4 wheels.

The impressive Shakespeare Cliff on the landscape is said to have inspired a passage from Shakespeare's King Lear; Shakespeare was a frequent visitor to Dover at the time of writing it. He also wrote about the choughs from that era too. Which are about to be reintroduced in the area by Kent Wildlife Trust.

We enjoyed being amongst the wildlife in this meadow, and spoke about how important wildflower meadows are to the ecosystem. The swallows swooped above and we also spied a raptor (optimistically the peregrine falcon) by the cliff edge.

On our return we stopped to nibble on blackberries which are just beginning to ripen. The Alexander's seeds are also ready for an aniseed chew.

📸 Image credits: Gini & Laura 


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