Dover
Dungeness
Romney Marsh
Kent TN29
 
 
The south-east coast of England is mainly pebble beach with high chalk cliffs at Dover, Fokestone and the East Sussex Downs. The pebbles are chalk debris resulting from thousands of years of coastal erosion.
 
Shingle Bank
The strong north easterly currents in the English Channel have swept the pebbles into shingle banks in a phenomenon called longshore drift.  Dungeness peninsula projects 3 miles (4.8 km) out into the English Channel.  It is the second largest shingle bank in the world and is an extraordinary place to visit.
 
The shingle bank protects Romney Marsh from the sea so the surrounding landscape is flat.  Although the scene is desolate, the vast skies merge with the calm sea and it is strangely tranquil.  The main sounds come from the crunch of sea lapping the shingle, birds calling and the incessant hum of the nuclear power station on the northern edge of the peninsula.
 
No trees, just low growing plants
There are no trees, just low growing plants hugging the shingle, large gravel pits filled with water and reed beds.  This area is Dungeness National Nature Reserve and includes the RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve site with a bird observatory, hides and nature trails.  Boardwalks have been built across the shingle to protect the rare flora and fauna.
 
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Dungeness Lighthouse
Dungeness is protected by an operating lighthouse, the 5th on the site.  The Old Lighthouse Dungeness built in 1901 is open to visitors.  It is well worth climbing the 169 steps to the top for the magnificent views.  The Round House which is actually the base of the 1792 lighthouse is hidden from view at ground level by a wall and cottages but you get an excellent view of it from the top of the Old Light.
 
Around 80 tiny wooden shacks house the Dungeness community, their fishing boats pulled up on the shingle.  These old houses have small windows and many are waterproofed with tar or rubber to protect them from the extremes of the weather.
 
The area is part of the privately owned Dungeness Estate which controls the erection of new buildings, thus retaining the unique appearance of the hamlet. There are only basic facilities and the people who live here are unique characters capable of turning the flotsam and jetsam washed up onto the shore into useful and decorative objects.  There is very limited self-catering and B & B accommodation available.
 
Heritage Railway terminus
Dungeness is the terminus of the miniature 15 inch (381mm) gauge Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.  This railway is one of the smallest public railways in the world and provides frequent and regular services throughout the year. Dungeness Railway Station has an excellent café serving hot food. 
 
There are two pubs, the Britannia Inn Dungeness and the Pilot Inn, Dungeness.  Both serve food as well as drink.
 
Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station
The lifeboat stands ready on the shingle beside the Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station. It is an exciting experience to see the boat being launched from its caterpillar trailer on a ‘shout’.  The shop and Station are open for inspection subject to the availability of volunteers, usually on weekends.
 
Prospect Cottage & Garden
Not far from the lifeboat is Prospect Cottage & Garden.  This was the hideaway of the famous film director, Derek Jarman.  It is still a private residence but the unusual garden can be easily seen.  The house is black with bright yellow window frames.
 
If you like visiting somewhere a bit out of the ordinary, Dungeness fits the bill.
 
There are just two small roads which access the peninsula, one from Lydd and the other from New Romney.
 
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Getting There
- By Rail & Bus
The nearest railway station is Rye, 10 miles (16 km), then bus 711 to Lydd and bus 12 from Lydd to reserve. Folkestone 20 miles (32 km), then bus service 12. Ashford 16 miles (25 km) then bus service 11 to reserve.
 
- By Heritage Rail
From Hythe, visitors can take the RH & D Railway to Dungeness.
 
- By Bus to RSPB Reserve
Bus services 11/11A/11B from Ashford via Lydd (not Sundays) stop on request at the reserve entrance from where there is a one-mile walk to the Visitor Centre. There is a limited service on bus No.12 from Lydd or Folkestone. The nearest stops on Sundays are at either Lydd or Lydd-on-Sea (The Pilot Inn). For more detailed information please contact the RSPB Reserve.
 
- By Car
From M20: Take Jct 10 onto the A2070 towards Brenzett & Lydd airport. After 12 miles (19.3 km) , turn left at the roundabout & join the A259. After 4 miles (6.4 km) turn right onto the B2075 sign posted for Lydd. Immediately after bridge, take left hand fork. Turn left at roundabout onto Dungeness Road. Continue for 4 miles (6.4 km). Turn right into Dungeness and the Old Lighthouse is at the end of the road.
 
From Folkestone Follow the A259 and turn left at New Romney traffic lights onto the B2071 (Station Road). At the T junction turn right. Follow the road for 5 miles (8 km), past the Pilot Inn. Turn left into Dungeness and the Old Lighthouse is at the end of the road.
 
From Hastings & Rye: Take the A259 towards New Romney. At the roundabout turn right. After 4 miles (6.4 km) turn right onto the B2075 sign posted for Lydd. Immediately after the bridge take left hand fork. Turn left at roundabout onto Dungeness Rd. Continue for 4 miles (6.4 km), turn right into Dungeness and the Old Lighthouse is at the end of the road.
 
Google Maps - Dungeness

 

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