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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

25 View of Dungeness

I have always loved Dungeness because of it's geometrical panoramas; for the horizontality and verticality that flat seascapes afford. These photographs were taken on a visit to Dungeness on 15.05.05 between 16.00 and 18.00 Dungeness has a flatness that resembles Nederland (neder = flat in Dutch). When photographing Dungeness, if you know Mondrian, I think it is impossible to escape being influenced compositionally by the transformation of realistic landscape into abstraction that Mondrian achieved.

A short sequence of painting by Mondrian from realistic landscape to neoplasticism.

The landscape of Dungeness from Dungeness - Romney Marsh, The Fifth Continent ( retrieved 16.05.21:

The area is dominated by two nuclear power stations, one currently being decommissioned; two lighthouses and is at the end of the line for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. There is a scattered collection of dwellings; some of the homes, small wooden houses in the main, many built around old railway coaches (see picture bottom right), are owned and occupied by fishermen. =

Some are occupied by people trying to escape the pressured outside world. The shack-like properties have a high value on the property. Perhaps the most famous house is Prospect Cottage, formerly owned by the late artist and film director Derek Jarman.

Dungeness is an important ecological site with flora and fauna unique to its shingle , which encompasses a RSPB reserve and is home to 600 species of plants, which is a third of all plants found in the UK. The site represents the most diverse and extensive example of stable vegetated shingle in Europe. ...

The flooded gravel pits on Denge Beach, both brackish and fresh water, provide an important refuge for many migratory and coastal bird species. The RSPB has a bird sanctuary there and every year thousands of bird watchers descend on the peninsula to catch a glimpse of a rare bird from the bird observatory.

Nick Levinson describes Dungeness: One of the most remarkable features of the site is an area known as 'the patch' or, by anglers, as 'the boil'. The waste hot water and sewage from the Dungeness nuclear power stations are pumped into the sea through two outfall pipes, enriching the biological productivity of the sea bed and attracting seabirds from miles around.

The 468-acre Dungeness estate is private. Designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the estate had been owned by the Paine family trust since 1964 but in November 2015 it was purchased by EDF Energy, who run the Dungeness B power station. The ownership includes the freeholds for 22 chalet homes, mostly converted railway cottages, which are subject to 99-year leases but not the area's two lighthouses, the Pilot pub, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway station or the neighbouring RSPB reserve. There have been five lighthouses at Dungeness since the early 1600s, with the fifth one still fully operational today. The first lighthouse was built in c1615, but as the shingle banks grew and the sea retreated, a second brick lighthouse , approximately 110ft high was constructed around 1635. This second lighthouse lasted over 100 years, but it too became victim of the increasing shingle banks and was replaced in 1790.

In 1901 Trinity House commissioned Patrick & Co of London to build a new, taller fourth lighthouse, approximately 150 ft high. This lighthouse, now known as The Old Lighthouse, was ceremonially opened by His Majesty, The Prince of Wales, later George V, in 1904. It is still standing and is open to the public during the summer months. Prospect Cottage was home to Derek Jarman, the well known film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. He is also remembered for his famous shingle cottage-garden, created in the latter years of his life, in the shadow of Dungeness nuclear power station.

N.B. Photography and Filming on Dungeness Dungeness is a private estate and a National Nature Reserve and if you are filming or photographing for commercial purposes at Dungeness you must obtain the permission of the Trustees and agree the details beforehand. If you are simply taking photographs as a hobby or as a holiday snap, then permission is not necessary. Dungeness - Romney Marsh, The Fifth Continent ( All of these photos were taken for non-commercial purposes.



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