Dungeness is a unique and captivating destination located on the Kent coast of England. Despite its rugged and seemingly desolate appearance, it offers a one-of-a-kind experience that attracts visitors from near and far. It's often said that Dungeness is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. And we understand why the landscape divides people – with nuclear power stations on one side and shingles, it's not everyone's idea of a perfect beach area. But we still believe there is plenty of reason to visit the area. We wanted to publish a guide for anyone planning to visit Dungeness in 2023, let's get into it:
Where is Dungeness?
Dungeness lies on a headland in the southern part of Romney Marsh. It is mostly a shingle beach in the form of a foreland, located between New Romney, Lydd, and Camber on Romney Marsh and shelters a large area of the low-lying land Romney Marsh. It's 4 miles south-east of Lydd, 18 miles to the east of Hastings, and 63 miles south-east of London.
What is there to see and do at Dungeness?
There is plenty to see and do at Dungeness, here are some of the highlights:
The Old Lighthouse
The Old Lighthouse is an impressive Grade II building which you can't miss during a visit to Dungeness. The building has survived two world wars and at almost 150ft, it's an imposing structure. It took more than three million bricks to complete the lighthouse and it really is impressive. Admiring it from outside is enjoyable, but if you're good with heights then you can climb to the top for panoramic views over the English Channel and the surrounding countryside.
Admire the insects
Dungeness is rich in wildlife, but is well known as a hotspot for rare insects, especially moths. The Sussex Emerald Moth, which is a night-flying green moth, often appears in the area during the summer months, and Dungeness is the only place in the UK where this rare species of moth is found. Another rarity is the Pigmy Footman Moth, a very pretty insect. You'll definitely need binoculars with you to spot these rare moths, but having the chance to do so is very special.
Lade Pits & the Denge Sound Mirrors
Lade Pits is a restored gravel quarry which now forms part of the Dungeness Nature Reserve and which is worth visiting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the area is well-known for being a hotspot for wildlife, with interesting bird species such as marsh harriers and great white egrets often spotted here. But the real draw to the area is these strange-looking concrete structures. Known as 'The Denge Sound Mirrors', they were built to pick up the sounds of approaching enemy aircraft coming over the English Channel. But when radar was invented, they became obsolete and were left to stand there. They're very interesting to look at up close, but they're on an island in the middle of the reserve so the Sound Mirrors can only be accessed under supervision. However, you can see them clearly from the bank.
Visit the RSPB nature reserve
If you're visiting Dungeness, you definitely need to visit the RSPB reserve. This area is well placed to watch for migrant birds arriving or departing, with regular sightings of rarer birds such as wheatears, swallows, martins, and warblers. There are some great hides here, so bring your binoculars!