Kent and Sussex Shoreline Walk

Walk 12 – Watch Tower Ch73 to Dungeness, Kent

Dungeness, Kent, famous for its unmistakable nuclear edifice, is also home to one of the world's largest shingle beaches. My walk from Watch Tower Ch73 to Dungeness Lifeboat, Kent takes in a robust slither of this frontier wildlife refuge.

Parking near the old lighthouse, the power station engulfs the skyline. My companion as I trot west to Watch Tower Ch73, surprisingly quiet for its bulk and purpose. The Lydd Ranges are quiet today, Ch73 unmanned.

Black and white needles

As I turn to return, fishermen with motorised inflatables push-off from shore. With no visible life-vests, I hope it stays calm for them.

Passing the massive electric generator once more, tall black and white needles prick the shingle horizon; lighthouses, No 4 and No 5. I wonder if No 6 will be nuclear powered?

Rounding the corner 'East Road' is on my right, while the small, but very active fishing fleet, rests above the tide line. A lone catamaran is being bulldozed onto the pebbles.

Pride & Spirit

In stark contrast to the swathes of small rounded stones that make up this huge, shingle promontory, the distant shoreline towards St Mary's Bay transforms into a flat, sandy desert.

Passing the RNLI shed, I remember reading Dungeness Lifeboat Station has been home to Pride and Spirit since 1992 and reassuringly, receives a blessing every year.

Journeying back to the car roadside, a vista of individual dwellings and sad reminders of our once great fishing industry, fill my vision. I hope Dungeness never changes.

On this walk…

  • 'The boil' – warm outflow from Dungeness which attracts fish and birds
  • Over 600 species of plants to be found in the Dungeness Reserve
  • No 4 lighthouse which is open to visitors
  • Food smokeries along the road
  • Tanning coppers; for treating nets and clothing
  • OS Explorer map 125 Romney Marsh, Rye & Winchelsea