Locals and visitors alike can now discover Folkestone’s hidden history by following the newly-created town trail, launched on Friday 13 May 2016 by Folkestone Town Council, Step Short, Go Folkestone and Folkestone & District Local History Society.
Councillor Martin Salmon (the current Mayor of Folkestone), Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe MP and Chairman of Step Short), Step Short’s Vice Chairman Ann Berry and Richard Wallace (Chairman of Go Folkestone) introduced the series of seven history boards at the launch event held at Folkestone Town Hall last week.
With boards located at significant sites throughout the town telling Folkestone’s story, the trail stretches for more than two miles from the East Cliff down through the Harbour onto the Bayle and along the full length of the Leas.
The Town Trail is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration between local groups Step Short, Go Folkestone and Folkestone & District Local History Society in partnership with Folkestone Town Council, Shepway District Council and Kent County Council. The initiative was conceived as a celebration of Folkestone’s rich but often unknown history.
Step Short’s Ann Berry said: “At last this amazing town trail has come to fruition after many meetings and much research by the groups involved.”
Step Short also previewed its new Geocaching Trail which launches in July. The digital treasure hunt will incorporate the Folkestone Town Trail, taking around two hours to complete. From the end of July, once all the trail clues have been solved participants can pick up a commemorative coin at Step Short’s Mole Cafe on the Harbour Arm. The cafe is open at weekends and bank holidays throughout the summer.
Look out for more details of the Geocaching Trail on the Step Short website soon.
Do you want to help raise awareness of the vital role that Folkestone played in World War I? Would you like to help others discover more about the millions of soldiers, sailors and Red Cross nurses who passed through our seaside town between 1914 and 1918? Then becoming a volunteer for local charity Step Short may be perfect for you!
We are looking for willing volunteers to help out at our small visitor centre on Tram Road and/or to serve tea and cakes at the Mole Cafe on the Harbour Arm. Just a few hours a week would make a big difference and help us to raise the funds needed for our ongoing projects.
If you are interested in working as a volunteer with Step Short, please contact us by emailing: [email protected]
The Mole Cafe has reopened for the 2016 summer season, welcoming visitors to Folkestone’s revamped Harbour Arm with lashings of tea and cake every weekend.
Volunteers in First World War period dress man the eatery, housed in its original location on the old railway pier. It first opened to the public last summer when the first stage of the Harbour Arm restoration was completed, both proving a runaway success.
This year the Harbour Arm is open for food, drink and entertainment from Friday to Sunday every week and on weekdays during school holidays. The cafe starts serving from 10.00am and closes around 4.30pm at the weekends.
Established by local women in World War I, the Mole Cafe (also known as the Harbour Canteen) was the last stop for servicemen and nurses from across the British Empire, and their final taste of Blighty, before sailing across the Channel to the front line.
Of the millions who passed through the port during the Great War, more than 40,000 men and women tucked into the free refreshments and signed their names in poignant visitors’ books.
The Mole Cafe books are now available to view and search online on the Step Short website.
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