We thought it was funny to be visiting a place called Dungeness, as Brad’s parents live less than a mile away from the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Sequim in Washington State. We have spent many days walking the bluffs or the beach in this beautiful place. There is a naturally occurring sand spit that goes a few miles out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At the end of the sand spit is the New Dungeness Light.
Well, it turns out that this place is named after Dungeness in England (or so we assume). Dungeness, Kent, is a pointy headland composed of shingle (small rocks) that is constantly changing and shifting. It is a desolate place. Windy. Eerie. With two lighthouses and a huge nuclear power plant looming over the landscape. There is also an historic miniature steam railway cutting through the desert-like shingle, a nature reserve, a famous garden in the shingle, a few wooden fishing huts, and lots of seemingly abandoned boats/winches/huts along the shingle facing the sea.
From the Dungeness National Nature Reserve website:
Dungeness is unique – no boundaries, a desolate landscape with wooden houses, power stations, lighthouses and expansive gravel pits. Yet it possesses a rich and diverse wildlife within the National Nature Reserve in one of the largest shingle landscapes in the world.
The dark hut with yellow trim around the windows is Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage, and the garden around this cottage is somewhat famous. It is pretty, but very small, with lots of designs made of stone and wood.
I can definitely see why people are drawn to this place. It feels otherworldly. Cut-off. There are few distractions, and feels miles and miles away from busy places and stressful city life. It is the only place in the UK that is designated as actual desert. So unique. And beautiful, in its own way.