I got the chance to re-visit the site of the memorial to one of my childhood heroes, Louis Bleriot – the first person to cross the channel in a heavier than air aircraft. The memorial is situated at the spot his monoplane came to rest in the shadow of Dover castle in 1909.
Whilst I had been to the site of the landing previously it was little more than a clearing in the woods until 2009 when it was extensively renovated to mark the centenary of his achievement. It is well signposted from the A258 Guston road and there is a car park 100m from the memorial. Although in 1909 it was open grassland this is now an area of woodland. The memorial takes the form of the silhouette of a monoplane marked out with granite setts.
Following the old adage that a good landing is one you walk away from but a great landing is one where you can use the plane again, this contemporary photo shows that it was a good landing.
In the background of this photo can be seen some earthworks which are likely to be the footings of the East outer curtain wall of the Castle. It’s also obvious that the area is open grassland which means the current woodland is no more than a century old.
Moving clear of the woodland it becomes obvious that the landing site is in a dip in the white cliffs just above the port of Dover. (The landing site is down the hill from where this photo was taken and in the woodland visible on the right.)