Dungeness is one of the most unique places that I’ve ever been to in the UK.

It was believed that it had such a low rainfall that it was called The Only Desert in the UK, but the Met Office refuted this in 2015.

What is Dungeness? It’s not a village, it’s not a town. It’s a shingle headland between Lydd and Romney Marsh, with 12.5 square miles of shingle..

Dungeness power stations

Dungeness power stations

It has two power stations, two lighthouses, two pubs, and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch miniature steam railway ends there.

Wooden houses look as though they’ve been roughly, randomly dropped onto the shingle, or blown there, but they’re not as flimsy and Jerry-built as they look. They’ve proved time and time again that they can withstand the constant windy weather and the strongest gales.

Greenhouses blow away, but the houses stand firm.

Some of the houses are converted railway carriages, spreading out long and thin across the shingle .



Walking is difficult, crunching across the stones and shells. People who live there must develop strong muscles in their calves.

It was originally a fishing community. There were over 20 boats, but now only three remain.

The houses are now sought-after and have changed hands for over £320,000 – for a wooden hut with no land to speak of! Any alterations are strictly controlled.

Derek Jarman's house

Derek Jarman’s house

I spotted the late Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage. It’s impossible to miss it. His famous garden really stands out from its bleak surroundings.

Derek Jarman's garden

Derek Jarman’s garden

Derek Jarman was a film director, author, diarist and artist.

After he became ill with AIDS he moved to Dungeness where he created his amazing garden out of flotsam and seaside-loving plants.

Derek Jarman's garden

Derek Jarman’s garden

Jarman died in 1994, but visitors are welcome to walk round his garden, which isn’t easy as it’s all planted on shingle.

Living Architecture

Living Architecture

A bit further along is The Shingle House.

I was really looking forward to seeing it as we’d stayed in another of Living Architecture’s houses, The Balancing Barn in Suffolk.

There were a couple of cars parked outside and I know that Living Architecture’s properties are rented out for short holiday lets. So I was about to creep away when the front door opened and a lady stood there. She turned out to be the housekeeper and she kindly let me have a look round.

And I wasn’t disappointed. I love their style.

The Shingle House is amazing. Once you step inside, the tiny wooden shack turns into a large maze, with every inch of it cleverly utilised.

Doors go off in different directions, with windows framed like paintings showing off the unique views.

A glass corridor joins the main house to what was obviously originally outside sheds.

What a wonderful place to stay, to relax and explore the area!

We carried on along the road until we came to the Britannia Inn, a local pub in a wooden building.

Inside it’s fascinating, but I thought the food prices were a bit too high. I doubt if the locals can afford to eat there very often. So we had a coffee and carried on exploring.

A sculpture of flotsam

A sculpture of flotsam

On the other side of the road is an artist’s studio.

I’ve never seen anything like it! There’s a sculpture – no, it’s not really a sculpture. I don’t know what to call it. It’s made up of flotsam from the beach, odd sandals, flip-flops, crocs, a spade, broken sunglasses, one flipper, and much more.

If I walked along the beach and saw an old, lost shoe, I would carefully step round it and curse the people who dropped litter in such an important natural environment. But a Dungeness artist’s face would light up and he’d say, Wow, a red flip-flop! That will fit perfectly in the middle on the left-hand side!

Here and there are sheds selling fresh local fish. But there are no shops for bread, milk, etc.


Past the power stations there is a row of cottages and the end one is run by the RSPB.

Two men were in the garden, making a note of any birds that were spotted.

Dungeness is home to over 600 types of plant, which is a third of all those found in the UK.

There are many rare insects; moths, bees, beetles, and spiders.

Warm water flows out from the power stations into the sea and it attracts many breeds of birds to the area.

We spotted a flock of plovers, which are an uncommon sight, and buzzards hovered over the lakes.

The light in Dungeness is unusual and very clear. Houses and old boats stand out, begging to be photographed or painted. It’s no wonder that the area is an artist’s idea of Heaven!


About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.