Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dungeness.

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A while back I tweeted that I'd been to a place I loved so much that I wasn't even going to blog about it. Well, obviously it's actually impossible for me to keep my trap shut for long. And you all probably a) know all about it already or b) wouldn't want to go there anyway.
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Dungeness is on the Kent coast and is a slightly desolate headland which is overlooked by a nuclear power station. (You can see the power station peeking in the distance in the picture above.) The whole area has been protected from development due to its ecological importance. It's basically a huge expanse of shingle.
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This means the landscape is all decaying shacks, abandoned rail tracks and boats, sea kelp (which almost looks like a tropical plant) and hardy wildflowers. It reminded me of a desert landscape; hostile, where only the hardiest and funniest looking plants survive.
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We were lucky enough to go on a blazing hot day. The beach was deserted.
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There is a funny mix of old broken down properties...
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...and stunning modernist homes. You can rent a beautiful luxury house there and hole away in the eerie landscape and listen to the sea and the whirr of the power station.
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You could get some serious thinking done, there. Derek Jarman moved out here towards the end of his life. This was his house; it has a John Donne poem embossed in wood on the side.
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He built a strange garden, full of wood, wire and metal. It's a private property but you can visit the garden.
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The place really does have a weird vibe.
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I felt right at home. Get out of town and rent the modernist home pictured above, here.

16 comments:

  1. I love it there - such a pretty yet bleak landscape...

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  2. What an amazing looking place. Looks very American in some ways (not that I have ever been there, just what I imagine some deserted place would look like).

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  3. Reminds me a little of Tonfanau where Grandma met Grandad when she was a soldier in the 1940's.

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  4. Oh wow, what an amazing place... that disused railway track, the poem on the side of the house, that there's no-one about on such a sunny day... it is like something out of a movie. If I lived closer, I would so be going already!

    Also the mystical gift shop?! Are you sure you're not on a movie set? ;)

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  5. I love this place, in fact I was there just last Tuesday. It's bleak and desolate and savagely beautiful - I'm glad you liked it too! I got there on the almost unbearably twee Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway (which I also love).

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  6. Oh, nice post.)) Love your blog!!!.))))))

    I need your help ... Soon I am flying to Greece and I will have a two-day shopping in Athens .. You were there ever? If yes, what places you advise?

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  7. Thanks for your comments!

    Michelle - yeah, it really reminded me of the Joshua Tree desert in California. Odd desert shacks and peculiar shrubs!

    Helen - Yes, forgot to mention the railway! How ODD is that! Didn't catch it but need to one day.

    Mary - thank you. No - I've not been to Greece, sorry! Enjoy!

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  8. Fucking hell - David Lynch-o-rama!

    John Donne and Derek Jarman, I'm there x

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  9. Hello - I found your blog through Great She Elephant's. I've always wanted to visit Derek Jarman's garden. And thanks for that link to Living Architecture, what a great site. (Here is one in return - if you should ever get the fancy to visit Berlin, we went recently and loved these apartments...
    http://brilliant-apartments.de/?lang=en)

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  10. Donne emblazoned on the side of your house, WHAT AN IDEA!! Brill find, Caroline!

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  11. God its gorgeous.. its like another world.. it amazes me how our landscape changes on such a small island that we are on .. xx

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  12. Bloody well, this looks spooky. Like something out of some weird surrealist short film. Added to my to visit list though. x

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  13. It's mental isn't it? I haven't been for years but a friend has a place there now. I must go for a visit. Great pictures as always. Hope you're good and yes it would be lovely to see you xx

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  14. I had no idea places like this existed in this country!

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  15. Hi, Caroline
    Love your pictures and the comments posted by everyone in response. Speaking as an ex-London boy, this truly is a wondrous place - and aren't I lucky? - I live here now!! There is just so much history and intrigue surrounding this area of the Romney Marsh, which of course amongst other things has been famous for its smuggling and wrecking history, over many hundreds of years. (Russell Thorndyke's Doctor Syn books - and the resulting film and TV series - are set here on the Marsh.) Caroline - can I suggest that if you re-visit this area in the near future you take and post some pictures not only of the famous Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Miniature Railway trains - but also - for real spookiness, (especially as the light begins to fade!), show some pictures of our concrete "Listening Ears", the inter-war experimental forerunners to radar, located only one mile away from Dungeness beach. Incidentally, visitors please make sure and drop in to our local RNLI Lifeboat station located close to The Pilot pub and see our beautiful allweather lifeboat "Pride and Spirit". Our present and past lifeboats have been responsible for so many rescued lives off this extremely dangerous part of coast on the English Channel since 1824.
    Best wishes - and thank you for loving our part of the world. John P

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  16. I love this place and your photos and am saddened to report that, despite Dungeness being a European conservation site, the Council is currently considering a planning application to permit a quarry to be sited there. If you and your readers want to continue enjoying and visiting this unique and special corner of the coast, please sign the petition opposing the quarry at www.lovedungeness.org

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