It’s a long way up to the top of Dungeness Old Lighthouse. 169 steps to reach the 5th floor balcony where the full expanse of the Dungeness headland is revealed. This post isn’t really about the lighthouse itself though. It’s about the view.
The Dungeness fore land has been growing for around 5,000 years as gravel began to build up on the sandy beaches that used to exist, similar to those found down at Camber Sands. If you take a look at an satellite map of the land, you can see the shingle build up. The grey areas starting on the left are the old shingle shorelines, interspaced with green areas where silts and clays were deposited with tidal movement. The age of the land gets younger as you move from West to East. Where the green areas go back to grey, this probably indicates historical breaching of the natural beaches and barriers around Rye Bay, causing tonnes of shingle and sand to move eastwards, via longshore drift.
The most significant of these breaches happened during the 12th century, when two huge storms hit the channel, changing the Kent and East Sussex shoreline radically. These changes had a profound and long lasting effect on the coastal towns of this area, as I’ve written about before. If you want to know more, there is a full and well illustrated geological report that can be read here.
The top photo looks west and showsÂ Dungeness Nuclear Power Station. Looking east you can see the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch miniature railway track and the new lighthouse. The Dungeness Old Lighthouse, decommissioned in 1960, was the fourth to be built here. The other three, with the first being built in 1615, each required replacing either because of improving technology or the ever shifting shingle.
When the power station was built, the beacon from the old lighthouse would have been obscured, so the decision was made to build the new one.
The south facing photo below shows the Round House and Cottages.
As always you can view these images full size by clicking on them. A new window or tab will open, and you’ll be taken to my Panoramio page.