Maurice has some holiday from work, and as we want to work in the garden, we decided not to go away. We’ll have a couple of days out, and next week we are going to Nicholas’s graduation ceremony in Bath.
Dungeness is a shingle headland about 75 miles to the east of us. It’s on the south coast, south of London. It’s somewhere we’ve often fancied going with our cameras, as it is bleak and desolate, and very photogenic! So we headed out there on Monday, us two plus one dog!
We parked at the lighthouse car park. Here’s the new lighthouse, built in 1961. There have been 5 lighthouses at Dungeness, the first proper lighthouse as long ago as 1615!
Here’s the fourth one, built in 1901, and now open for tourists, but not today, unfortunately.
We are now right next to Dungeness A and B nuclear power stations. Dungeness A was closed in 2006 and will be finally closed and the site cleared in 2111! Dungeness B started generating electricity in 1983, 13 years late. There were lots of problems with it’s construction and of course it came in way over the original budget. I am quite fascinated with nuclear power stations, but unfortunately they have all closed their visitor centres since September 11 2001.
Straight ahead of us was this derelict building – I couldn’t resist the poppies in the foreground!
There is the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway which puffs it’s way along the coast to Dungeness. We ate lunch sitting outside the railway cafe.
We walked around the ‘village’. It isn’t really a village, but a collection of wooden shacks, some built round old railway carriages, which are built here and there amongst the shingle. It is a very windswept, desolate place. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in one of these ‘cottages’.
The big skies and changing light patterns appeal to artists. I can see why!
Maurice particularly wanted to see the ‘acoustic mirrors’. These were giant concrete structures built in the late 1920s with the aim of magnifying the engine noise of enemy aircraft flying in from across the English Channel. They were not particularly efficent and were superseded quickly by radar.
It was a lovely walk along the shingle to the lake. The acoustic mirrors are on an island in the lake and are not accessible, but we did get a good view from the lake side. Dungeness is a nature reserve and is full of flowers at this time of year, especially poppies, vipers bugloss and centranthus.
Not only is the flora interesting, but Dungeness is home to many interesting invertebrates, including some moths not found anywhere else. Great crested newts and medicinal leeches live in the lakes.
All in all a very interesting place!