- Ben Pruchnie/Getty
The National Trust has launched an “urgent” appeal to save Britain’s White Cliffs of Dover from being sold off to private developers.
The iconic cliffs’ owner is selling 700,000 square metres (0.27 square miles) of land off the cliff top, the National Trust said in a press statement sent to Business Insider on Monday.
The charity declined to reveal the identity of the landowner, but the Telegraph has reported it to be a local farmer.
The National Trust is fundraising £1 million ($1.3 million) by September 22 to buy plot for itself, so it can preserve the landscape and ensure it remains open to the public. How much the landowner is auctioning the grounds for was not immediately clear.
The National Trust bought 1.35 kilometers (0.84 miles) of the cliff top in 2012, and is now raising the money for the land immediately behind the cliff face, the statement said. It now hopes to improve the land’s management and visitor access, as well as preserve the nature and World War II-era relics on the site.
- Jaime Futers/National Trust
The White Cliffs of Dover were celebrated as the “first sight of home” for men returning from battle during World War II, said Dame Vera Lynn, an English wartime singer who is best known for her 1941 song “The White Cliffs of Dover.”
“They [the cliffs] were often the first sight of home for our brave boys as they returned from war, and they continue to represent important British ideals such as hope and resilience even in the most difficult of times,” Dame Vera said, as cited in the National Trust statement.
“It is vital that we do all that we can to preserve this important historical site – as well as the Cross Channel battery – for posterity, so that the memory of the past is never forgotten by future generations.”