Often my initial tentative plans for journeying to a location merely list one or two agenda notes for places that I need to be at some point followed by several days remaining open for spontaneous adventure. Those blank days in my calendar are how I ended up in a headland town on the southeast coast of England. Visiting Dungeness started as meeting up with a best friend from the UK, when she suggested driving to the general region of New Romney, which was a location for her family’s past weekend getaways when she was a child. So after countless roundabouts and sheep lining the roads between London and the coast, we finally parked our car at the station of the local light railway, or better described as a train station for miniature trains (only standing to my shoulder, if that) that are still powered by steam and you certainly feel like a child when you crawl into the open window wagons. One of the terminating locations for the light rail was Dungeness reaching out into the English Channel. We were greeted by a vast open landscape filled only with millions of pebbles, sparse low-lying shrubs, a few shack-like residences, two lighthouses and a large nuclear power plant looming in the background.
Our first destination was climbing up the spiral stairs of the old lighthouse. On our way up, we walked through all of the old glass for changing the reflected light’s color, which was still hanging in place just under the top terrace level. Stepping up a narrow ladder to the very top, we had a bird’s-eye view of the strip of land jutting into deep waters with France in the far distance.
We then roamed the barren coast using the well-washed boardwalks rising slightly above the pebbles that had prickly and also rather durable-appearing fuzzy plants sprouting through every few meters. The wooden pathway finally emptied into the beach, which was still just pebbles without any noticeable– but expected– difference in terrain. We then ended our afternoon adventure in the strange, although arguably romantic Dungeness at the self-proclaimed (and accurate) ‘only pub in Dungeness’.