The land between the cliff and the shore was created by a terrific landslip in 1784 and it opened up possibilities for development along the shoreline from Sandgate to Folkestone Harbour.  By the end of the nineteenth century many diversions had been built on the Lower Leas; originally designed to amuse Folkestone’s aristocratic clientele, they soon attracted a middle and working class audience.

In 1877, a series of paths was constructed including a path from the Leas down to the beach, which was originally used to ferry bath chairs.  The demand for better transport links between the Leas and the shore grew as more and more amusements were provided on the seafront.  The Leas Lift opened in 1885, to improve access between the seafront and the upper Leas.  A second lift was added in 1890.  The remains of a further lift serving the ‘Metropole Hotel’ can still be seen from the Upper Leas, and yet another lift connected the western end of the Leas with Sandgate.

The ‘Zig Zag Path’ was built in 1921 not only as a new attraction but also to provide work for the unemployed after the First World War and forms another link between the Upper Leas and the Coastal Park and seafront. The cliff-face and grottoes along the path are entirely artificial: they are built from waste material and coated in special cement called Pulhamite after its inventor, James Pulham.*  The Pulhamite Caves are now a listed structure.**

* Folkestone Past and Present. Alan F. Taylor, Somerset: Breedon Books, 2002

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