This stretch of English coast is not everyone's idea of paradise, but it does have its otherworldly charms. Nuclear power; pygmy footman moths; sound mirrors; artist's gardens. It's not often you mention this motley crew of landmarks in the same sentence, and that's why we went.
We got lucky, winding our way to Dungeness on a bright November day, with no more of an agenda than to find the concrete listening ears and make a delivery to the artist Paddy Hamilton. We found more of course. This corner of the Romney Marsh is a scavenger's dream; a place at the end of the road where loose ends gather. Wandering the shingle we discovered a phrase to describe this treasure-trove atmosphere: at once thrilling and lonely, Dungeness is a place of abandoned narratives.
The flat-lining landscape leaves everything on display, and yet everything to the imagination. The flotsam on-shore invites you to rummage and uncover threads of histories untangled, fishing crates of stories hauled in and strewn along the shore. Despite all the debris this desert feels alive. Migrant birds on global journeys call in, and the place is home to wild and weird species of plants and insects (the pygmy footman being one). Life on a shingle beach means the ground shifts constantly beneath you. Dungeness dwellers adapt to suit the new order and evidence of ingenuity is everywhere.
A BT truck is repurposed as a lobster pot storage unit
Queen Victoria’s train carriage is converted into a net-curtained family home
And so why couldn't a shingle fishing spit can become an artists' and architects' escape?
A lab for experimental listening devices?
And a controversial home for two nuclear power stations (A+B)?