Princes Parade with its unique environment has inspired generations of artists, photographers, writers and filmmakers for decades. With its green space, wildlife, the historic Royal Military Canal and a wide open seafront with views to France, Dungeness and the hills and woods beyond Hythe it is a rare and precious feature in the south east of England.
Here we have a look at some of the work produced by local people in response to this beautiful, but threatened, landscape.
Illustration and design
Local artist and designer James Marsh’s latest limited edition book ‘Eco Worrier’ will be for sale at the next Garage and Garden Safari, with profits donated to the ‘Save Prince’s Parade’ fund.
James maintains international status as a highly acclaimed illustrator/artist, alongside being an accomplished designer and author, with a ‘National Diploma in Design’ among his formal qualifications.
In 2003 the ‘Independent’ newspaper named him “in the Top Ten of British illustrators”, and in 2015 was officially inducted into the American ‘Album Cover Hall of Fame’. His art has been used consistently throughout the advertising, publishing and editorial industries, on anything from posters and packaging to books and magazine covers.
James has featured in most leading graphic arts magazines, winning numerous awards both at home and abroad. He’s probably best know for the iconic images used most memorably on album covers and posters for the 80s band ‘Talk Talk’, whilst his artwork hangs in both public and private collections throughout the World.
“I moved from London to Hythe in 2002 to realise a perfect working environment – my hillside studio overlooks the vast expanse of Hythe Bay, leading out across the English Channel to France.
I really appreciate the uniqueness of our surroundings and the pleasant walk in and around town via the canal.
Hythe has gradually changed since moving here, but I still believe it’s worth fighting to maintain its charming character and stem any over development, particularly along the seafront with its uninterrupted vistas”
For more information and extensive portfolios, visit www.jamesmarsh.com
A career in the army has left Chris with brain damage, spinal injuries and complex PTSD. Chris walks her little dog, Becky along the canal and seafront at Princes Parade most mornings. She says, “I love this place, it is my sanctuary, it feeds my soul. I love its beauty and tranquillity, and the abundance and variety of wildlife. In my opinion it is the best place on earth. It gives me the peace and space I need to deal with my conditions.”
Chris is a keen amateur photographer and is often seen along the canal taking pictures with her camera or mobile phone. She regularly submits images to the BBC Weather Watchers and her photos of Princes Parade are often featured on the local or national weather forecasts.
For the last three years Chris has produced a calendar of photographs of Princes Parade to raise funds for the campaign. The sold out 2021 calendar was a collaboration between Chris and four other local photographers who are passionate about saving Princes Parade.
Chris is a beekeeper and has a hive located very close to where the council has stripped the north bank of trees and vegetation. She is very concerned about the lack of forage now available to the bees and other pollinators and the stress the council’s destruction is putting on the animal population along Princes Parade as a whole.
Mark Brophy is originally from Hampshire but now lives in Seabrook on the Kent Coast. He is the author of “The Prince’s Parade” published in 2019 , a book inspired by the love of the area in which he lives and out of a desire to save it from urbanisation. He is an active campaigner and believes in the power of the written word to change the way people think about the earth as a complex, interconnected life support system.
A member of “Write by the Sea” a Folkestone based writing group, Mark contributed photographs and stories to “Ghosts by the Sea“, the group’s debut anthology. He is also a keen amateur photographer and can often be found walking with his Jack Russell, Rosie.
“I love to watch and photograph wildlife along the canal paths at Princes Parade. These peaceful waterside walks offer chances to see a wide range of birdlife, including scarcer and Schedule 1-listed species such as Kingfisher and Cetti’s Warbler, and on summer days a wonderful array of insect life. It is so unusual to find an unspoilt wild place like this so close to a town – this area is one of the most special things about Hythe and one of the main reasons I love this area so much.
“I’m a nature writer (my most recent book, The Gull Next Door, includes observations from Hythe).”
“My photographs represent a visual diary of Princes Parade. As a keen photographer, I am always inspired by the surprises I encounter during my regular walks along the canal path and the sea front.
There are a number of viewpoints that I particularly love, where I often stop and just absorb the beauty and magic they offer. The seasons bring different mood, colours and light, each one has its own charm. The pair of swans feature regularly in my photos, to me they symbolise the timelessness of nature.
Princes Parade has always been a very special place to me. It is a peaceful stretch of open land which tumbles from one season to the next.”
Ron is a local Hythe artist and gets much of his inspiration from the Princes Parade area.
His work is very detailed and he often paints this part of the canal, and other scenes along our coastline, as you can see from the examples here.
He currently holds the ‘Best In Show’ award as voted for by the public at the town’s art society annual exhibition.
“We are so lucky to have this unique conduit running through our town. It can provide so many aspects for leisure and well-being in one easily accessible, natural place.
Having images of one’s surroundings inside our living spaces gives a constant connection and reminder of the world just outside our door. I prefer to work on local images for this reason, and focus on a photo-realistic representation of the scene, which is easier to interpret and enjoy.
The vistas displayed by the canal as time progresses are constantly changing through season, weather and man. We must strive to embrace those changes, good or bad, because nature will relentlessly work its magic spell. That’s one thing that can’t be stopped, but freezing time through art and photography is something that we can all enjoy for many years to come.”
If you wish to contact Ron… email@example.com
If you would like to see more of his work… www.instagram.com/ron.marsh.art
In Adina’s painting the animals are becoming homeless refugees as David Monk moves in with his digger and are seeking a new life over the channel.
Oil on canvas, 19”x14”.
The painting is for sale, details from Adina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07825 916929.
The local singer/songwriter at Princes Parade. with an impromptu performance of “There’s just some things money can’t buy”…
The great, green parade
The great, green parade unfolds
under the February sun.
The sound of a plane intrudes
upon a thousand bird songs.
The machines never far away
from princely vegetation,
where people come to walk their dogs
and ease dog-tired minds.
It will soon be consumed.
Shapeless men in striped suits,
whipped, agree to desolate
this place, where crowds of reeds
sway in the breeze,
at the banks of the canal.
Hythe Town Councillor (Green)
Can you hear the songbirds singing in the trees?
Can you see the kestrel hover in the breeze?
How about the badger snuffling through leaves?
And have you seen the flowers loved by the bees ?
I’m sure they were here once, but where have they gone?
No longer do they come here, there’s little for them now
When the diggers came, they knew their days were done.
And now there are just houses, with parking down below.
The people did their best, to protect nature and light
They signed the petitions and marched to win the fight
But the dark clouds were brewing o’er in Folkestone heights
The lure of money and new apartments snuffed out that hopeful light
Some said it was just waste ground
Some said it was useless trees
They missed the bigger picture
That concrete doesn’t breathe
And now the diggers are coming
And the people just left fuming
They’ll tear the nature out
Of that there is no doubt
What’s happened to this pleasant land?
What’s happened to our earth?
It will all be under bricks and sand
Before we understand it’s worth
So today I am in mourning
But tomorrow I’ll rise anew
A new day is dawning
Let us hold firm and true
The Prince’s Parade
Mark Brophy (Author) and Clare Foster (Illustrator)
This is the tale of Hana, a young girl who moves from where she was born in London, to the Kent coast. She and her family move to the Kent coast in the hope of a better life. They discover a wonderful area called Prince’s Parade which is full of amazing animals, has a beautiful canal and is right next to the sea too! She quickly falls in love with the area and when her family experience some difficult challenges they draw strength from their environment that surrounds them. When it becomes clear that the area is under threat from developers, Hana take’s up the fight in a rather unusual way. By reading this book it is my hope that you will experience the magic of Prince’s Parade. By buying this book you will be helping to protect it. All profits from it will be donated to the Save Prince’s Parade campaign which aims to halt plans to develop the area into a housing estate.
See it on “Amazon”
The Prince’s Parade
Prince’s Parade Development or destruction?
With the ever growing value of coastal land, and continual pressure from the government to build new houses the local council once again attempts to develop this stretch of land. In this documentary we examine the arguments for and against building on Prince’s Parade.
Produced by Mark Brophy with Cinematography from Flynn Marwood; Music by Tony Hulse; Aerial Cinematography by Gary Winch
Directed and Edited by Jack Brophy
Special Thanks to Jim Martin, Val Loseby, David Monk.
Martin Arnold Ltd
Chartered Surveyors and Construction Consultants
In October 2017 Martin Arnold Ltd were commissioned by the Save Princes Parade Group to investigate the financial viability of the proposed development. As well as losing the beautiful landscape shown here they calculated that the scheme was not viable. You can read their report here.
A View of Hythe
A wonderful reminder of what we are fighting to save.
The Save Princes Parade Story
This short film explains why it is so important to Save princes Parade from any development.
If you would like more information or to contribute to this gallery, please email us.