Dungeness

Situated on the coast of Kent, Dungeness has one of the largest areas of shingle in Europe and is the only place in Britain to be classified as a desert by the Met Office. It has a huge diversity of wildlife with over 600 types of plant – one third of all those found in this country. It is also home to a variety of moths, bees, beetles and spiders. In addition to the two nuclear power stations and a lighthouse, there are also a collection of small dwellings. Built mostly of wood, some constructed around old railway coaches, they are inhabited by local fishermen, or those wishing to escape the pressures of everyday life. It is also one of my favourite destinations for an afternoon with the cameras.

As with other locations, my preferred time of year is in the middle of winter when I am unlikely to be disturbed by mini-buses carrying groups of noisy art students. It was one such day when these three photographs were taken. The shingle at Dungeness is littered with an assortment of sheds and huts in varying stages of decay. There are boats too and they make a sad landscape, as on subsequent visits you see them with more graffiti and less structure.

The featured image here was spotted as I drove in on an earlier visit, but I didn’t quite believe my eyes – so much so, that I didn’t bother to walk back to investigate. On this particular day, it was bitterly cold and the wind made it feel even worse. I had to explore though and when I finally reached this spot, I discovered a home-made adventure playground, complete with a stop sign, garden fork, old bath and flags. Around the other side I found clear evidence of use, as a tea party had been set up. It seemed a bizarre find in what is essentially the shadow of a nuclear power station. This is the photograph that won a national photography competition a few years ago and brought me to the world of digital photography, as the prize was a Sony A700, which I now use in conjunction with my beloved film cameras.

This is typical of the sheds that can be found everywhere at Dungeness. I was attracted by the corrugated sheets strewn around on the shingle and the rope leading from the shed to the rusty old tin.

Corrugated Shed

This shed was found much further up the beach and in a partial state of collapse. It gave me a photograph that is one of my own personal favourites, but on a later visit I had to hunt high and low to find it again. Eventually I stumbled across an assortment of wooden planks and from the location I knew this had to be the remains of my old friend the shed. It had finally lost its battle with the elements and it made me sad, but at least I will always have this to serve as a reminder of one freezing day in the middle of winter.

Skeletal Shed

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