Britain’s only desert – Dungeness!

Apologies for the delay in getting a post out – the last two weekends have involved much traveling and I thought I would venture a tad beyond the M25 perimeter and explore Britain’s only desert, a strange, eerie and undoubtedly peculiar place, Dungeness. Located in the south coast near Hastings, Kent it is feasible (just) to do as a day trip, which is precisely what I, and a pro photographer friend of mine, Louis Amore did last week.

Dungeness is a private estate, owned by the Paine Family trustees, but open to the public. It is a site much used by TV and film crews and its shingle beach is home to a number of derelict boats, fishing debris, flotsam and jetsam and rubbish left by fishermen, visitors and residents. Dungeness also has two nuclear power stations, two lighthouses and is a National Nature Reserve, as it’s home to a unique variety of wildlife and more than 600 different types of plants – which is apparently, about one third of all plants found throughout the UK. It is also one of the best places to spot rare species of moths, butterflies, bees, beetles and spiders with many not found elsewhere in the country.

I spotted some jade/blue creatures and have been subsequently told they are either  Greenish Blue Shiny Beetle – Cicindela sexguttata; or a shiny blue tiger beetle.  Either way these creatures are about half an inch long and have a shimmery metallic feel to their colour.  It was lovely to finally take macro shots of something this bright and beautiful, and there were thousands of them about.

Blue/Green Tiger Beetle snug as only a bug can be.

Blue/Green Tiger Beetle snug as only a bug can be.

Tiger Beetle - Took a few shots to get this, but I was pleased with snapping this tiny creature with some degree of clarity.

Took a few shots to get this, but I was pleased with snapping this tiny creature with some degree of clarity.

As well as these fabulous macro opportunities, there are abandoned boats and shacks, random debris and rubbish, all of which give the place a desolate, eerie feeling, one of isolation and abandonment. Walking around, you can feel as if you are among the result of a nuclear war; the post apocalyptic feel not even interrupted by the rare presence of another human being.  Throw in some interesting cloud formations and you can get exciting and dramatic photographic results.

Abandoned Boat on Dungeness Beach

Abandoned Boat on Dungeness Beach

Dungeness Beach - I feel this shot captures the desolate and austere nature of the place

Dungeness Beach – I feel this shot captures the desolate and austere nature of the place

Random Rubbish on Dungeness Beach; tried my best to make it art. I did not succeed.

Random Rubbish on Dungeness Beach; tried my best to make it art. I did not succeed.

Debris on Dungeness Beach

Debris on Dungeness Beach

In short, visit the place – its weird and wonderful, or wonderfully weird, with great photographic opportunities. To see artistic results, far superior to mine and to really appreciate the potential of this place, go over and check out Louis Amore’s shots – as a fine art photographer he knows what he is doing!