A visit to Dungeness

With the Winter Solstice ­approaching and the skies over Sunspel HQ looking decidedly grey, now felt like a good time to look back on our visit to Dungeness a little earlier in the year, when the days were longer and brighter, if chilly.

Known as Britain’s only Desert, Dungeness is truly unique. Its vast expanse of shingle beach ­ – the largest in all of Western Europe ­– stretches out into the English Channel for miles on end and is home to a diverse range of thriving plants and wildlife.

The region is protected as a conservation area of special scientific interest, meaning that building is restricted and the structures that do exist are few and far between. There’s a collection of small dwellings, a couple of pubs, a lighthouse; all things that you might expect to find on the Kent coast. But then, rather less expected, is the Dungeness nuclear power station and the acoustic mirrors (colloquially known as the listening ears) that were built in the 1920s and designed to detect incoming enemy aircraft by the sound of their engines.

The combination of these unseemly structures with the almost desolate landscape has an otherworldly feel to it, known for inspiring simultaneous feelings of wonder and trepidation in its visitors.

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