Friday, 17 June 2011

DUNGENESS

And so we come to the last county on the south coast, Kent. So far in our jaunt along the British coast the only real sign of heavy industry has been the oil refinery at Fawley. With Dungeness comes our first nuclear power station, in fact there are two here, although one, Dungeness A, has reached the end of its life. Aside from these, there are two lighthouses, the terminus of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and not a lot else. There is a bleak, “end of the earth” feel to this place, but as is so often the case with such places, there is a thriving array of wildlife here. The Dungeness National Nature Reserve is home to a number of rare plants, insects and spiders, and is visited by migratory birds in spring and autumn. The latest sightings listed in the RSPB page for Dungeness include Bar-headed Goose, Great White Egret and a Kingfisher. In 2008, The Telegraph reported that Dungeness had been named one of the world’s most authentic tourist destinations.

Dungeness saw action in December 1652 when a naval battle took place near the headland. Unlike so many skirmishes along this stretch of coast, this time it was the Dutch, not the French, who were the aggressors. A convoy of Dutch warships pursued a fleet of 42 ships commanded by General-at-Sea Robert Blake and an almighty bust-up took place near Dungeness leading to the loss of five of Blake’s ships and damage to many more, while the Dutch lost only one.

Map of the area.

Dungeness, Kentphoto © 2009 Allan Harris | more info (via: Wylio)

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