Dungeness attracts both visionary artists and nature lovers.
There’s something distinctly otherworldly about Dungeness. It might have something to do with the strange combination of nuclear power stations, battered fishermen’s huts, lighthouses, the ‘acoustic mirrors’, concrete oddities and the largest expanse of shingle in Europe. The ‘ness is simultaneously a desolate dystopian land and a place of awe-inspiring beauty.
It’s no wonder then that this headland on the Kent coast has attracted both visionary artists and nature lovers for years. Be sure to check out Prospect Cottage, where film-maker Derek Jarman once lived – again its prettiness jarring with the surroundings, an uneasy juxtaposition. The large ‘acoustic mirrors’ are also worth a visit - these concrete structures were England’s first early warning system before the dawn of radars but today they just add to the eeriness as they stare out to sea. For bird lovers, there’s an RSPB observatory as well as two hides on the beach, offering ideal vantage points for spotting the migratory birds and seabirds that stop off at Dungeness.
If you’re lucky you might spot firecrests, long-tailed Tits, or Lapland buntings. There’s so much to take in at Dungeness that the best thing to do is walk along the shingle, giving your brain to time to make sense of this contrasting yet wonderful place.