Digital Photography


OK, so let me try and describe Dungeness to you. Lovely, weird Dungeness – Britain’s only official desert.

welcome to dungeness!

It lies, forsaken, on the Kent coast and you have to drive through miles of marshland to get to it. There’s something uniquely eerie about marshland, don’t you think? Not quite belonging to the land or to the sea – it seems temporary and at the same time ancient and neolithic. Full of secrets.

some people!

As you pootle along in your little car you notice more and more electricity pylons grouping together and ploughing their way through the marshes to the coast. They are three-abreast at points; eagerly rushing to suck up all the nuclear-generated electricity that is created at Dungeness power station.

pylons in the background

Seeing them reminds me of the apocolyptic nuclear-meltdown nightmares I had every night as a teenager. I think everyone had those dreams in the 80s.

dungeness nuclear power station

So yes, there is a nuclear power station at Dungeness (two, actually) – nothing weird about that per-se, but it does add a certain frisson (or should I say fission) to the ambience. Oh, I’m so funny!

dungeness power station and lighthouse

This piece of land belongs to a person (not sure who) – you have to drive through gates to get to it. It was a wise investment – it has to be the only stretch of British coastline that is actually getting bigger (rather than eroding). This is made very apparent when you observe the numerous lighthouses (well, two) that have required erecting to keep up with the edge of the shore. It has extended about half a kilometer in 60 years, which is pretty epic in geological terms.

the new 1960s lighthouse at dungeness

They have a railway station. This railway seems to be of a gague totally unique to the rest of the British Isles and only special little steam trains can use it. (By this point nothing is suprising me). (And please note, I’m no railway expert).

small gauge railway - dungeness

Many of the little dwellings (you really can’t call them houses) that are scattered randomly over the shingle have been constructed from old railway carriages – plus any other stuff that has been washed up onto the beach. Some are a bit more substatnial and built of wood – like Derek Jarman’s little cottage which I wrote about yesterday. I think you’d need to be a certain sort of person to want to live here – reclusive doesn’t even begin to describe it. You would need to not need people. You would need to want to only have your brain for company.

Derek Jarman's cottage and garden at Dungeness

They do have a pub. A scary pub. It was the only amenity I could see (apart from a post box). The pub was closed, of course. There’s also a little wooden walkway that led to nowhere – why would it? This is Dungeness.

dungeness - walkway to nowhere

I don’t think I saw another human there, just crows. Crows and starlings. Where is Mr Seagull?


This should be Land’s End (the actual Land’s End in Cornwall is more akin to Scratchwood Services). This should be the end of the world.

danger of death - dungeness

I’d love to hear if you have any weird or eerie places near you – I think I’ll make a bucket-list of similarly odd places to visit around the world!

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  • Reply
    5 March 2012 at 22:40

    To only have my brain for company? Yikes. That sounds like a scary prospect.

    • Reply
      6 March 2012 at 20:11

      That’s what I was thinking – I’d last about a day, I reckon! :)

  • Reply
    6 March 2012 at 03:40

    Great post and wonderful photography. What an interesting place to visit.

    I will have to come up with a place close to me that is eerie so that I can take photos and show you :)

    • Reply
      6 March 2012 at 20:12

      Thanks so much :) Let me know if you come up with a place, I’d love to see!

  • Reply
    6 March 2012 at 07:51

    It’s truly an alien place, emphasised by the boardwalk that appears to have a clear destination but at the same time goes nowhere (and is the ground difficult to walk on? Is that why they needed to build a boardwalk? Curious…)

    The freakiest little place I have visited here in Australia (which is nowhere near my hometown Melbourne) is a place on the way to Central Australia called Coober Pedy. It is truly unique. Happy to send you a couple of pics to demonstrate it’s ‘uniqueness’! An opal mining town with craters as far as the eye can see (from digging out of the ground as part of the mining process). It is a landscape that I imagine the surface of the moon would be like.

    • Reply
      6 March 2012 at 20:16

      OMG, I’ve just googled ‘Cooper Pedy’… I WANT TO GO! That is seriously a strange place – I’d never heard of it before.

      (In answer to your question – the shingle at Dungeness isn’t that hard to walk on… we were thinking maybe they had something with wheels on that they needed to get to the middle of the beach for some reason…. who knows!)

  • Reply
    6 March 2012 at 09:58

    Your lovely photos make me want to return there – it’s wonderful isn’t it! Here are my photos from a few years ago:
    Sad to hear Derek Jarman’s garden a bit neglected. Such a wonderful man, films like Caravaggio and Last of England are favourites.

    There are so many strange places you just have to start looking! I’ve been exploring and photographing the Thames and other estuaries – Purfleet, Rainham, Dengie, Sheppey…

    • Reply
      6 March 2012 at 20:19

      Thanks so much!
      Your photos are wonderful – it’s definitely a black and white sort of place, isn’t it!
      Estuaries are like marshlands in term of their eeriness I think – they sound like the sort of places I need to be investigating :)

  • Reply
    6 March 2012 at 15:18

    I never ever would have guessed this was in England, let alone Kent!

    • Reply
      6 March 2012 at 20:20

      It could be another planet!

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