Explore Kent’s spectacular south coast like never before!
Online entries for the Folkestone Downs Challenge 2023 have now closed. However, don’t worry if you missed out, you can still register to take part on Saturday 2nd September with our On the Day entry!
Simply arrive at the following venue and head for the On the Day registration desk.
- (07:30-09:30am): Folkestone Harbour Arm, Harbour Approach Road, CT20 1QH
On the Day entry is priced at £45.
The Folkestone Downs Challenge returns for its second year on Saturday 2nd September 2023!
Put your best foot forward and take on a 36km route designed to showcase the very best of Kent’s spectacular south coast. Starting from the Folkestone Harbour Arm, you’ll climb to the height of Kent’s famous white cliffs and enjoy breathtaking views over the English Channel, Folkestone and Romney Marsh beyond as you follow the chalk ridgeline westward.
Along the way, you’ll pass Castle Hill, the site of an early Norman fortification, as well as the Folkestone White Horse, before reaching one of the highest points of the North Downs at Tolsford Hill (181m). From there, your trail descends through fields and woodland to the picturesque Lympne Castle, with a chance to glimpse some exotic animals as you pass by Port Lympne Safari Park. Then, you’ll join the scenic pathways of the Royal Military Canal through Hythe and Sandgate on your return to Folkestone’s historic harbour.
The Folkestone Downs Challenge features a wide variety of landscapes and terrain, packed into a challenging 36km route. From steep chalk-lined trails to flat canal paths, rolling fields and forested walkways, the Folkestone Downs Challenge has it all and will challenge first-time and seasoned hikers alike.
The route starts and finishes at the Folkestone Harbour Arm, Harbour Approach Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1QH.
- 36km challenge (sign in between 7.30am-9.30am) – View map
What’s on offer?
This fully supported event includes:
- Posted pre-event pack
- Event technical T-shirt
- Regular rest stops with drinks and snacks
- Fully signed route
- Free event app with live position tracking
- Event medical support
- Recovery vehicles
- Finisher medal
It’s tough, and hilly, but achievable; with some training and determination, anyone can conquer the Folkestone Downs Challenge. Take on the hike with family, friends or colleagues, and make more friends along the way! When the welcome sight of the finish line comes into view, you’ll be rewarded with a finisher’s medal and a huge sense of achievement.
A maximum of 600 participants are able to take part in the Folkestone Downs Challenge 2023, so early registration is advised to avoid disappointment.
If capacity is reached before the event, on the day entry will not be available.
- Early bird entry: £35 (closed 16 July 2023)
- Standard entry: £40 (closed 28 August 2023)
- On the day entry: £45
You must be at least 16 years of age to participate in the Folkestone Downs Challenge and walkers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a participating adult.
Please note that participant packs will be sent to all those who sign up before 13th August 2023. Sign-ups after this deadline will collect their participant lanyard and T-shirt at the event.
Hiking for hospice care!
We need your help to be there for people living with an incurable illness. By raising sponsorship for your challenge, you’re making a real difference to the lives of thousands of local people in our care each year. Every £100 raised could pay for 4 hours of skilled and compassionate nursing care for people living with a life-limiting illness; making them comfortable, bringing pain under control and enabling them to live well until the end of life. Here are just some of the ways your fundraising helps:
- £12 could pay for a patient’s meals for the day
- £25 could pay for an hour of specialist nursing care
- £80 could pay for a patient’s care from our community team over a 24-hour period
- £125 could provide 12 sessions of a Living Well group for a patient facing a terminal illness
- £270 could pay for all the medicine needed at all three of our inpatient units in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet over 24 hours
Download the award-winning Pilgrims Event App for free
We’re proud to offer the Pilgrims Event App, available for iOS and Android devices. It’s free to download from the App Store and Google Play and is the perfect companion to enhance your Pilgrims event experience. Keep your training on track by recording your training activities and liking and commenting on your teammates. Receive up-to-date event information, view detailed route maps, earn in-app achievements and link your JustGiving page to see how your fundraising is going, all in one place.
Kit list and essential items
We’ve put together a full list of recommended equipment to make your hike a comfortable and safe experience. From clothing and footwear to other essential items.
Get hiking fit with our training plans
We’ve put together a six-week training plan to help get you hiking fit. The more you prepare yourself ahead of your challenge, the more you’ll enjoy the experience on the big day. Check out the Folkestone Downs Challenge training plan here.
We recommend that you’re dropped off or met by family or friends who can take you home after such a tiring challenge. However, if you’re relying on public transport to get to and/or from the event, these transport links may be useful:
- Folkestone Central Train Station: Serviced by trains running twice per hour from the directions of Ashford and Dover; the station is a 20-minute walk from the start venue at Folkestone Harbour Arm.
- Folkestone Bus Station: Buses run into the centre of Folkestone from surrounding towns. You can plan your journey online here. The bus station is a 15-minute walk from the start venue at Folkestone Harbour Arm.