Surrender the land
Dungeness on the southern Kent coast is the largest area of coastal vegetated shingle in Europe, designated as a national nature reserve, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The shingle supports over 600 types of plants, as well as rare invertebrates and birds.
A uniquely wild place; two lighthouses and a small number of wooden fishermen’s houses (including artist Derek Jarman’s former home) are dotted around the headland, which is also served by a quintessentially English light gauge railway.
The Dungeness estate, from which the freeholds for the houses are leased, was bought in 2015 by French electricity company EDF who runs a nuclear power station on the site. The electricity lines running from the power station inland can be seen almost everywhere you look, except in the direction of the sea.
There is a curious reciprocal relationship in play between the sea, wind, shingle, and the power station: EDF is responsible for maintaining and protecting the site, hot water from the power station enriches the sea bed, the sea and wind maintain the stability of the shingle, and the shingle is also used as protection for the power station.