alan frost photography

fine art photography in monochrome

Dungeness – A fascinating and desolate place.

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For quite some time now I have wanted to visit Dungeness on the southern tip of the Kent coast. I had heard about and seen many an image of the headland which is one of the largest areas of shingle in Europe. It is an extraordinary and fascinating place, quite unlike anything I have visited before.

In recognition of its diverse ecology  it is designated a National Nature reserve (NNR), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which also includes Romney Marsh and Rye Bay.

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It is also the site of two Nuclear Power Stations. The first was commissioned in 1965, and the other became operational in 1983. The former ceased production in 2006 and the second is estimated to be de-commissioned by 2028. They are massive buildings, dominate the area, and are ever present if not in the eye then certainly in the mind.

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Fisherman have lived in the area for a long time. Their homes are often converted railway carriages and their boats and huts stand on the shingle although many are well past their prime.

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There is clear evidence the character of Dungennes is changing, as incomers given the opportunity buy one of the dilapidated buildings, which is then replaced with a much more modern/contemporary structure. Whilst there are strict planning regulations these new properties are in many cases second homes or holiday lets. I doubt this is considered to be progress by the locals as it impacts on the affordability of these homes and it will in time undoubtedly change the character of the location.

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My wife and I spent the best part of a day exploring the area, but I left thinking there was more we hadn’t seen. Photographically it offers numerous opportunities and having taken my time to process a selection of images I hope I have captured something of the true essence of the place. In many respects these pictures are more documentary in their style and I have enjoyed this approach to this collection.

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Although the place gives the impression of  abandonment and desolation there is activity including the Fish Hut and a steam railway for the visitors. Should I make a return visit, and I think I will, I would like to try and record some more of these activities as they too have a story to tell.

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Dungeness is a fascinating place and I have finished with a photograph of some wording I found on the side of one of the many containers apparently abandoned on the shingle. Make of it what you will!!

If you have enjoyed these images there are more to be seen in a new gallery page – ‘Dungeness’ which can viewed by clicking here.

As always if you want to view an enlarged version do click on the image.

7 Responses to “Dungeness – A fascinating and desolate place.”

  1. LensScaper

    I echo your first sentence exactly! It’s on my list of places to visit but I have yet to make the journey. It’s one of those places that I’ve seen images of and think – that’s somewhere with a load of possibilities, and your gallery certainly confirms that, Alan.. Two quick questions for you. Are their restrictions around the two nuclear power stations, and was this a day trip for you (a long one I would guess) or did you find somewhere half decent to stay overnight?

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    • alan frost

      It’s well worth a visit Andy, but the weather will play a big part on how and what you photograph. Access to Dungeness is very straightforward with no apparent restrictions. There is a cafe and pub etc. Although I could have got much closer to the power stations themselves I decided to use them as a backdrop rather than being the main subject. If I return, and I hope I will, then I might explore the area around the power stations and see what can and can’t be photographed. My wife and I were staying in a cottage just outside Eastbourne for the week so a day trip was easy. We came back through Rye which is well worth a visit and this would make a good place to stay for a night or two.

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