Little did I know that I had arrived in Dungeness this past June weekend at an ideal time for wild flowers. This headland on the Kent coast is a unique wilderness touched both my man and a spectacular plant life.
I was gawping at the contrasting surreal and strange scenes when I began noticing the remarkable splashes of colour from wild plants growing out of the pebble covered land. My last post will give you an overview of Dungeness, Britain’s only desert. An area of natural beauty mixed with surreal scenes of abandoned ships, shipping containers and nuclear power stations.
Dungeness is a shingle foreland that has been designated a National Nature Reserve. Over 600 plant species grow here – a third of all plants found in the UK.
A widely used quote, apparently originally written in the New York Times, is:
“If Kent is the garden of England, Dungeness is the back gate.”
What was particularly uncommon about this landscape was the sight of two nuclear power stations within it.
Non native red valerian and yellow flowered silver ragwort are some of the non native species growing amongst the Dungeness flowers. Plants seemed to be very happy growing right in the shadow of the nuclear station.
In early summer it’s common to see plant species such as the viper’s bugloss, yellow horned poppy, hound’s tongue and biting stonecrop.
Yellow horned poppy
Yellow flowered broom
Sea kale was flourishing and flowering as well. Areas of the shingle beach were dotted with abandoned ships and vegetated communities.
Although most of the houses lacked any fences or clear boundaries they were surrounded by the flowers of Dungeness. (I have a picture of the famous Derek Jarman garden in my previous write up on Dungeness but will be showing more soon as I have too many photos!)
It almost seemed stranger to see the sight of roses climbing up a cottage wall.
I fell in love with a red and white beach house that had a small pinkish red and white caravan parked outside and driftwood used as sculptures in the garden.
Standing out in its flower beds were red hot poker Nobilis.
Many artists live now in Dungeness. Who knows if one dwells within here?
Fortunately this fragile environment is now protected as a nature reserve. Rare species grow on the shingle beach alongside native wild flowers.
I’m so looking forward to returning this summer with my kids to tour the nature trails and spot wildlife in another part of this wilderness called Dungeness.
12 thoughts on “Dungeness flowers in a strange wilderness”
I would love to visit Dungeness as I’ve read so much about it. This time of year is brilliant for wild flower spotting, very jealous of your visit!
It’s definitely worth a visit – actually a few visits as I really want to do more exploring there with the kids next time.
wow!!! these are such great shots! i love the nature against the industrial. so good!
Thanks Claudia – it was a pretty cool place to take photos.
I have to admit I’ve always found Dungeness a rather creepy place. It is entirely due to the nuclear power station and the feel that the area around it is what the world would be like after a terrible nuclear explosion! I’ve never seen it looking as nice as this though with all the wild flowers.
There is something very post-apocalypse about the area but also fascinating as nature is also strong there.
Gorgeous! That white wood clad beach house with the red doors is fantastic. I can imagine myself living in something like that 🙂 So nice to see all those flowers around something to stark. Nature is pretty amazing, it can brighten up even the bleakest of places. Super stuff Kriss!
Thank you Gemma – I was rather blown away by the amount of flowers flourishing there amongst the abandoned debris as well as cottages such as that one.
I also love the red and white beach house with the (probably once) coordinating caravan – cute! it’s a beautiful looking place (nuclear power stations aside) and looks like you chose just the right time to visit – that first shot looks as if it should be a painting 🙂 #hdygg
Wow Kriss that’s a beautiful setting – I love the contrast of power station and wildlife! We have a power station close to us too, alas there’s not nearly as many pretty things by it!
I’m not surprised it’s become a hub for artists. What a fabulous contrasting, fascinating, and, inspiring landscape! Wonderful wildflowers thriving there. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos 🙂
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