Go South 5 – Dungeness Mystery and Magic

We eventually got to walk along the expanse of shingle at Dungeness. When we tried for the second time the wind had abated but as the evening was approaching the temperature was dropping.

We still appreciated its mystery and magic. Most people who visit Dungeness are fascinated and captured by its unique atmosphere but find it hard to describe or explain. It is not beautiful but it has an attraction.

Old huts once used by fishermen remain scattered thinly along the banks of shingle, as do their sad unused boats.

Silvery blue foliage of sea-kale softens the flinty shingle flatness.

Many fishermen’s homes are still in use but now instead of nets and pots around their doors, cars are parked. The homesteaders no longer tackle the dangers of the seas in search of fish and shellfish but instead tackle morning and evening commuter traffic. Some interesting fishing artifacts however have been salvaged and now grace the homes as decorative features or are integrated with plants and shingle in the sea-shore gardens.

One of the highlights of all our visits to Dungeness, and in fact the main reason for our first visit when we fell for its charms, is to visit the atmospheric and unique garden of the late film director and writer, Derek Jarman. We drove up in anticipation again this year, parked a little way away out of respect for the current owners and I walked across with my  trusty Nikon only to be disappointed. It now seems less cared for and  lacking in atmosphere but nevertheless loaded with memories. The first time we saw the garden when Jarman was still living there, we just could not believe that any garden could evoke such deep emotions and emerge you in its own unique character. Jarman was a one-off when it came to garden design. The garden was a perfect reflection of its environment, the sea, the shingle, its fishing history and its plant life. This was the only garden capable of sending a shiver up the spine!

Sometimes the strange beauty of Dungeness lies in its emptiness and simplicity.

Published by greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

6 replies on “Go South 5 – Dungeness Mystery and Magic”

  1. I liked the post but especially the fifth picture down. The house and boat look so lost and sad with the dark sky. I found your comment about trading in the art of fishing for the task of commuting a good summation.

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