Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

Travellers invade Deal Castle just days after entering nearby Walmer Castle | UK | News

Caravans and campervans were sprawled across the grassy area between historic Deal Castle and the promenade yesterday afternoon. Their arrival came a week after a second group set up camp less than a mile from Walmer Castle, another beachfront fort just over a mile from Deal Castle in Kent. Pictures from the scene show a large number of caravans and families along the coastal promenade. 

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “We can confirm that a number of unauthorised vehicles have this afternoon moved onto land adjacent to Deal Castle.

“We have spoken to the people concerned to ask them to move and will start legal proceedings if necessary.”

A spokesman for Kent County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Unit said: “The responsibility for taking action to deal with illegal encampments lies with the relevant landowners, who can be private individuals, companies, district councils or, in this case, English Heritage.

“We are happy to assist with advice on the correct legal process and, of course, we do take appropriate action when the encampments are on KCC land such as country parks and highway verges.”

Organisers cancelled the weekly Park Run at Walmer and Deal beachfront last Saturday to protect runners from the visitors.

They feared the newcomers might “cause havoc” and endanger runners during the event by driving around in their vehicles.

Less than two hours before the Parkrun organisers had to cancel their event for fear of the travellers.

They tweeted: “Sorry folks, but we’ve had to cancel today’s Parkrun.

“A large number of travellers with large trucks have moved onto the green, and it’s just not safe for us to run.

On their website the organisers added: “There are travellers pitched up close to part of the course and we can’t take the risk that they might move their trucks or cause havoc driving across the course during the run.

“With a heavy heart we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel the run.”

Walmer and Deal Seafront Parkrun organisers have not yet decided whether to cancel the popular event for a second consecutive week tomorrow.

The Parkrun passes along five kilometres of the seafront between the two English Heritage forts and attracts nearly 200 runners each Saturday.

English Heritage describes Deal Castle on its website as one of England’s finest Tudor artillery forts.

King Henry VIII built it between 1539 and 1540 to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire.

Walmer Castle sits in eight acres of gardens and was once home to the Duke of Wellington and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, according to English Heritage.

Kent Police have been contacted for comment.

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