White Cliffs of Dover could be sold off if National Trust cannot raise £1m in three weeks

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The National Trust has just three weeks to raise £1 million to stop the White Cliffs of Dover from being sold to developers. 

Among the most famous landscapes in the UK, the five mile stretch of Cliffs is currently managed by the Trust, which bought a mile-long section to protect it in 2012. 

But the landowner is planning to sell off the managed area, sparking fears the stunning expanse of rolling clifftops could be altered forever.

The Trust has issued a desperate appeal to the public for donations, writing on its website: “The land is vital to the future of this great British icon and we must protect it.”

The area’s General Manager, Virginia Portman, said the Trust would be “devastated to lose this opportunity to protect it forever”. 

White cliffs of Dover (Rex Features)

The size of the area under threat is 700,000 square metres, and each square metre will cost £5 to protect, the Trust said on its website. 

Dame Vera Lynn has got behind the campaign, saying it is “vital” that the Cliff’s history be preserved under the Trust.

She told the BBC: “Those iconic white cliffs mean a great deal to so many people.

“They 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.

“It is vital that we do all that we can to preserve this important historical site for posterity, so that the memory of the past is never forgotten by future generations.”

Dame Vera, who turned 100 in March, sang the classic 1942 song about the cliffs as part of her efforts to boost British troops’ morale.

The cliffs have inspired artists for centuries and still house slit trenches and an important battery and range-finding station from the Second World War. 

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