Dungeness Old Lighthouse
We all know by now how much I love lighthouses, and Dungeness Lighthouse, especially the Old Lighthouse (there’s two, the new one, and the old one), is one of my favourites in the UK. So when the first lockdown was eased and we were able to travel overnight again, the first place we decided to head to was Dungeness in Kent. Ok, so it was one of the places with the best weather that weekend so we were swayed with that, but still, we do love it here. We’ve actually been here twice before – the first time we actually went up to the top of the Lighthouse, the second we came at sunset and this was the third, on a super busy day in July.
The Old Dungeness Lighthouse was actually the 4th lighthouse to built here and was opened in 1904 – the first was built in 1615, the second in 1635 and the third in 1790, all lost to the increasing shingle banks. The Old Lighthouse was retired in 1961 when the newest fith lighthouse was built. Originally the old lighthouse was painted in black and white stripes, but to avoid confusion with the new lighthouse, it was painted black. The new lighthouse needed to be built due to the construction of the nearby nuclear power station blocking the view from ships approaching from the south-east, so the new one is a little further along the coast and is visible to ships.
Dungeness Nature Reserve
Dungeness is the southernmost point of Kent and the shingle area is the most diverse in Europe and the landscape is such a weird one. It always reminds us of something you’d expect to see in a scene from a post apocalyptic movie where everyone has just up and left in a hurry, leaving nature to take over. The area is filled with two nuclear power stations, two lighthouses, two restaurants, a railway line and a few converted wooden buildings that are mostly converted into homes and galleries.
The area is home to 1/3 of the UK’s plant species and rare bugs that are found nowhere else in the UK. It’s such a strange area and it amazes us each time we visit that there’s all that, right alongside nuclear power stations – which also create an ecosystem in the water due to the warm waste water they produce and pump into the sea.
The Old Fishing Boats
If you walk further along the beach, past the new lighthouse, you come to the weirdest part of the Dungeness coastline – the abandoned fishing boats and gear. One of my favourite areas where there was an old shack that was great to photograph has been destroyed and cleared away in storms, but there’s still plenty of other things to see. There’s a number of boats (i think some of them may still be in use, but I’m not sure on that), along with shipping containers, oil barrels and fishing lines just scattered across the beach.
If you’re looking to get to Dungeness for a daytrip, it’s pretty easy if you have a car, if not there are options to get the train to Ashford International, and then either get a taxi to Dungeness. There’s a couple train and bus options, but they can be infrequent, so it’s best to check here for up to date information on how to get there. There is parking near the lighthouse, but try to get there early as it’s limited and be prepared to walk along lots and lots of shingle to get around the area.
Have you been to Dungeness before? What did you think ?