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The Coastal Park was created in 1784 when a huge landslip produced a new strip of land between the beach and the new cliff line. The land was farmed and cows were led down the cliff face to graze on pastures. The land was owned by Lord Radnor and during the 1870s new paths were built leading from The Leas into the park. Other recreational features were added including the Victoria Pier, Switchback rollercoaster style ride, The Leas Shelter and the Leas Bandstand. The Switchback ride was severely damaged by a storm in 1909 and was dismantled. The Leas Shelter became the present day Leas Cliff Hall following extensive refurbishment and The Leas Bandstand has recently been completely refurbished. The Park deteriorated over the years but in 1999, following successful funding applications Shepway District Council embarked on an extensive 3 phase regeneration scheme.
The Coastal Park is a linear section of land between Folkestone and Sandgate. It is split into three broad recreational zones namely The Wild Zone, The Fun Zone and The Formal Zone.
This zone runs from the western entrance to the Toll House and is informally managed for recreation and wildlife. Picnic furniture is provided for use and
special steel BBQ plates are fitted to tables in areas where BBQs are permitted.
The area in the centre of the park has the south east's largest play area and
the ever popular amphitheatre. For current events please follow the link below onto the Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh website. The equipment consists of a large main unit with tube slides, towers, net tunnels and aerial slides and 5 smaller themed areas. The Bounty shipwreck, climbing walls, a toddler's construction area, harbour with rocking boats and a unit suitable for wheelchair users complete the fun zone.
Also situated in this zone is the Wardens Hut, Amphitheatre, Zig Zag Path and Storytelling Area. BBQs are not allowed in the Fun Zone and dog owners are asked to keep dogs on leads through the play area.
This zone has been the subject of Heritage Lottery Funding and was opened in May 2006. This zone contrasts the wild zone with formal planting and emphasises the horticultural excellence the Park has been known for historically.
For your safety lighting and CCTV have been installed and wardens patrol the park during busy periods. National Cycle Route 2 runs along the Lower Sandgate Road and cyclists are asked to dismount through the play area during busy periods. Further information on the history and natural heritage can be found on interpretation panels throughout the park or by picking up a leaflet available from the Wardens Hut, Mermaid Café, Civic Centre, Folkestone Town Centre Management and Folkestone Town Council or you can download below.
The Green Flag Award scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK.
It was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country. The first awards were given in 1997 and many years later, it continues to provide the benchmark against which our parks and green spaces are measured. It is also seen as a way of encouraging others to achieve high environmental standards, setting a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.
The Coastal Park has now held the award since its first application in 2007.
Contact: Laura Pinkham 01303 858660
Park Location: Lower Leas Coastal Park, Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone.