If you visit the White Cliffs of Dover, and are looking to see something a little different, make your way to the zig-zag path above Langdon Bay. It will take you approximately 20 minutes from the visitor’s center to reach the path, and it will not be marked. The path is easy to find as there aren’t many trails leading down the cliffs- for obvious reasons. If you are interested, you can find a map here that will give you a better idea of the exact location.
The path is steep in areas, so take care if you are accompanied by children or are careless like me. (The kid made it just fine.) After you trek down the path you will arrive at a secluded beach area, totally surrounded by the White Cliffs behind you. There are two search batteries dug into the cliff face that you may enter at your own risk. I personally didn’t see anything dangerous, but you can expect the usual welcome of strong smells of urine, broken glass bottles, and an assortment of World War II era shards of rusty metal. Originally there were three search batteries, but one was lost some years back after a section of cliff fell.
What is a searchlight battery you ask? Well, back during World War II the batteries would have been manned by soldiers. When a ship was entering the area, it could be illuminated by the lights in the batteries while they were being checked to ensure everything was in order.
Although the ‘Langdon Lights’ have fell into ruin, there is always a strange sense of beauty in a forgotten place like this.
You can reach the almost-secret beach by way of a very steep ladder. Only adults and much older children will be able to handle this, there was absolutely no way I could get the kid down this one. If you are looking for a crowd-free, incredible place to swim- Langdon Bay is magical in summer. Do check the tide times and visit when the tide is low.
Oh yeah, there is still remnants of a shipwreck! You can see the remains of the SS Falcon, a ship that caught fire in 1926 with a cargo full of hemp and matches. Seriously.
I hope you enjoyed this little photo essay on the Langdon Bay Searchlight Battery. Lesson of the day: always take strange paths when you don’t know where they lead.