Caesar's Camp Then
Caesar's Camp Now
I have to admit right up front that I know very little about the hills around Folkestone.  They are something that those who live there are inclined to take for granted.  They are just there - always have been and always will be!  So if you are an expert on them, you are probably going to cringe when you read some of the mistakes I am about to make on this page - but hopefully you will drop me a line and put me straight when I slip up.

Each hill has a name, and to be honest, I can never remember which one is which.  Luckily most of the postcards say on them which they are. 

The hills at the back of Folkestone form part of the North Downs, which is one of two areas of chalk downland in Southern England.  The North and South Downs run parallel to each other, and would once have formed part of the same dome-shaped chalk outcrop.  Erosion however has removed the chalk between the two ridges, forming an area called The Weald.

Anyway, let's take a look at some photos, some old and some new.  Don't forget, if some of the photos remain blank after the page has loaded, right click your mouse into the space, and click 'Show Picture', and it should come in for you.

We start off with Caesar's Camp.  Also known as Castle Hill, on the top of which was once Folkestone Castle.
This was a Norman castle on a natural mound which was in existence in the late 11th and 12th centuries. It was excavated in 1878 by Augustus Pitt Rivers and this has been claimed to be the first excavation of a medieval site in Britain using scientific methods.
Known locally as "Caesar's Camp", it is not actually Roman at all, but was probably constructed as early as 1095 and was certainly occupied for some time following the Norman invasion of 1066.

The earthworks now overlook the end of the M20 motorway and the entrance to the Channel Tunnel at Cheriton.
An old photograph of Caesar's Camp
showing the reservoir that supplied Folkestone with its drinking water - and still does for that matter!

I have also read that there is no evidence to suggest that Caesar ever camped on this hill, although he was in the area.

Something I am a little confused about though,  if it was at one time named Castle Hill because of the timber castle, why was it changed to Caesar's Camp, when the Roman age was before the Normans invaded?

(History was never my best subject!)
Another one of the reservoir.  In both this one and the one above right, you can see Cherry Garden Avenue. 
A modern photo showing the anti-tank ditch that was dug into Castle Hill, or Caesar's Camp during World War 2.  I am a little confused however as to why these would have been necessary.  Wouldn't it have been easier for invading tanks to scoot around the hills rather than climb over the top of them?
Here is a view of Folkestone taken from a hill, giving you a closeup view of the anti-tank ditch.  Were they deeper when they were first dug I wonder?  Or is that little scoop enough to tip a tank over?
Oh these tunnels look very familiar to me!  I hate to admit this, but I seem to inadvertently end up driving through this tunnel at least once each time I visit Folkestone.

The M20 is nearby, and I invariably turn onto this road when intending to turn onto the one that leads me to Hill Road, and as soon as I see the mouth of that tunnel looming towards me, the air is blue in my rented car I can tell you!  Keep on this road, and you will end up in Dover, but I do manage to get turned around before I get that far!
An artist's depiction of Folkestone taken from a steel engraving.  The only thing recogniseable is the Parish Church on the hill.  I don't think I have ever seen an old painting of Folkestone without that church being in it somewhere!
Both of these are of Sugar Loaf Hill.  I don't think I have ever heard of any other name for this hill.  I wonder what the purpose was for those cut out pieces behind the hill in the picture below.  Also below, you can see Cherry Garden Avenue.  Were they cherry trees planted all along it?  Or did it get its name from a nearby farm or something?
A couple more of Sugar Loaf Hill.  The photo directly above was postally used in 1907.  I don't have a date for the one above that, but it looks younger than that.  I wonder if those people were going to Cherry Gardens?
Now that can't be an anti-tank ditch in Sugar Loaf Hill above left!  It was dated 1911, so I really don't think so!  Maybe someone had dug out a path up there from the bottom.  The photo on the right shows some children playing at the foot of the same hill.
Now we just know this one has to be later don't we?  The anti-tank ditch gives it away.  It does in fact date from 1957
The Downs in 1958.  Is that snow?  Or just a bad photo?
This one was taken from Dover Hill in 1956.  Looks like a couple of larger ships out there doesn't it?
Entitled 'The Hills Around Folkestone'
From the Illustrated London News, this was entitled 'The Rifle Match at Folkestone'.
This is the Etchinghill Escarpment, and the White Horse which was carved into it a few years ago.  , I have to say here and now that I love it!  I think it is a great addition to the  Folkestone area, and is something that will hopefully remain for future generations to talk about.  In front of it on the left is the Channel Tunnel entrance.  The photo on the right was taken from Cheriton.

The horse was designed by Charles Newington of Lympne, and if you are interested in reading how it all came about, I have copied an interview between him and Shane Record in 'The Quarter' magazine.  You can find it by clicking  HERE
A couple more looks at Caesar's Camp, 1928 above and 1907 above that.
Page updated July 19, 2011
Trevor Butcher wrote to say that his theory is that they were probably originally L shaped, but have been eroded and filled in with shifts in the chalk
Aha!  I also received some answers to these questions!

Alan Taylor tells me the white cut-outs were chalk pits on the Canterbury Road.  The chalk was used for lime burning, also used to ballast the sailing ships in the harbour after they had unloaded their cargoes of timber, ice or coal.

He also said that some of you may have heard of Foord Rd South (the bit from New Street to Dover Road) was once known as the 'Milky Way'.  This was because the chalk got wet on a rainy day while being transported in carts to the harbour, and the water running down Foord Road was the colour of milk
In response to my question about Cherry trees etc.  Alan said this:
"They were not cherry trees, but elm trees, which were cut down after contracting Dutch Elm Disease.  The road got its name from the Cherry Gardens which was where the Water Works Reservoirs are today.  The Cherry Gardens was a place for recreation during the summer.  There was a natural lake by the side of which there was a cottage where one could buy refreshments.  About four o'clock onwards the ladies and gentlemen would sit down to an elegant dinner, after which a band played select airs and a merry dance on the green commenced with the lively air of Mrs. Macleod
And here we are, this was Cherry Gardens, and that must have been the cottage in the right of the picture
Thank you so much for all this Alan!  I bet lots of us learned something new today!
This one is later, and gives you a good view of Cherry Garden Avenue.  It dates from 1924.
The White Horse Hill at Hawkinge
This nice photo was taken recently by George Hills showing a peaceful scene with Lympne Hill in the background
On the left we see Sugar Loaf Hill again, and even though it looks like water at the base of it, I really think it was just a bad tinting job.  If I am wrong about this, I am sure someone will correct me.

The postcard on the right is entitled 'Flat Hill adjoining Caesar's Camp.
This one was called 'Crete Road and Rotten Row Skirting the hills'  Rotten Row?  That is a new one on me, I thought the only Rotton Row was in London!  Can anyone shed any light on this?
As the card says, here we have cattle grazing on Caesar's Camp
Caesar's Camp again, but this time the cattle are grazing at Holy Well.  I hope you haven't been drinking, or you may think you can see pink cows!
This view of Caesar's Camp was taken from Sugar Loaf Hill.
I do love the name of Sugar Loaf, does anyone know the origin of it?  Was sugar once bought in big lumps like that?
If you have your own memories of the Hills, or of Folkestone, please share them with us by jotting them down in the guestbook below.
Further to the anti-tank ditch debate, I received the following in an e-mail from Alan Hall, a fellow who did his growing up in Folkestone.
"The so-called "tank-traps" dug around the hills are a mis-nomer. The idea was for these to be defensive ditches in which the Home Guard / defending forces (in the event of an invasion), by using the height advantage, could fire mortars, rifles, machine-guns etc. at the enemy forces. Also, similar to the then-popular "pastime" of cutting down all iron railings on the pretence that the iron and steel was required for manufacturing munitions of warfare (very little actually got used this way); the scars on the hillsides served as a constant reminder to people that we were at war! Propaganda value & all that.

Incidentally, did you know that in medieval times, Sugar Loaf Hill was used as a place of execution for criminals? It was customary for said felons to be blindfolded, hand-cuffed and then pushed off the top of the hill - presumably, to their deaths!

As a child, I spent many happy hours wandering around these hills."

Thank you Alan, I certainly didn't know that.  I wonder what happened to the criminals if they managed to roll to the bottom unharmed?  The human race are very strange aren't they?  There are a lot of easier ways of executing someone if that is what you have a mind to do,  ways that are a lot less effort for everyone involved too!

Your theory on the anti-tank ditches certainly makes a lot more sense to me too!
This photo looks older, however, it is not too old to have a telegraph pole in view.

What I am the most curious about though is that big chimney type structure in the garden of that house.  Can anyone enlighten me as to what it was?
Finally I think we have solved this mystery, thanks to Caroline Petley who wrote to say that she thought it was now called Summerhouse Hill.  On doing a Google search under that name, I found the following on a site called 'Kingsdowner':

'According to Wikipedia, the hill's name derives from a gazebo which was built on the summit of the hill by the Drake-Brockman family who used to own the land. However, the gazebo was burnt to the ground by a prankster on Guy Fawkes night in 1935.'

He also spoke about Temple Pond which was nearby, and Brockman's Bushes.  I believe this photo from his site is a modern version of Summerhouse Hill.  My photo must date from before 1935, as you can see the gazebo on the top.  Summerhouse Hill is at Beachborough, not far from Hythe.

Thank you so much Caroline for pointing me in the right direction!

I have saved this one until last, because although I know that Brockman's Mount is in Kent, I am not sure how near Folkestone it is.

This looks to be an old photograph of it.  If anyone can tell me where it is located, I would appreciate it.  Also, does anyone know what that is on top of it?
I found these two pictures on the following Wikipedia page:

On the left is a lithograph showing Brockman's Mount on the left, and also showing the gazebo, or folly as it was known to the Drake-Brockman family.  On the right is a beautiful painting by Edward Haytley, depicting the Brockman family at Beachborough.  This painting is now housed at the National Gallery in Victoria, Australia.
Here we have a couple of old ones of Sugar Loaf Hill.  On the left it also shows the Toll House on Canterbury Road, yes the Lower Sandgate Road wasn't the only road to have a toll gate.  On the right, we see a lovely old house with Sugar Loaf in the background.  I wouldn't mind betting that the house is no longer there.