National Trust begins white cliffs of Dover restoration

The white cliffs
Image caption The white cliffs of Dover were the subject of a famous World War II song by Dame Vera Lynne

The National Trust has begun restoration work on a section of the white cliffs of Dover it purchased following a £1.2m appeal.

The 0.8 mile-long section completes a five-mile stretch of coastline owned by the trust, between Dover port and South Foreland lighthouse.

It is now being fenced off to allow it to return to chalk grassland.

Exmoor ponies will be introduced later to graze the land and help promote the growth of fauna and flora.

The chalk cliffs have populations of peregrine falcons, Adonis blue butterflies and kittiwakes.

Plants including oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot also grow there.

Ranger Robert Sonnen said: "Not only are we going to increase the area for these specialist plants and animals to thrive but also we're going to increase the area where the public can walk.

"At the same time because of erosion on the cliffs we're safeguarding that [public] access."

He added: "It's shown through this appeal that the white cliffs seem to have this iconic feel for a lot of people from the UK and abroad as well."

The fundraising appeal, which was supported by singer and World War II forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, reached its total in November, two months earlier than expected.

Chef Rick Stein, actor Richard E Grant, yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur and comedian Paul O'Grady were among the other well-know figures who backed the trust's appeal.

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