Tuesday 7 February 2023

A day out

At the start of this year John and I spent a little time to take stock of our life. There isn't anything majorly wrong with it but we do get very little space to do things as a couple. I know this is a complaint that many couples have and when your children are young it is expected. Back then we used to get a babysitter so we could go out together at least once a month. Meals for two in a quiet restaurant, a movie or a visit to the theatre were our preferred outings. Trips out to visit places or long walks were enjoyed by the whole family. Now our family is grown up but we still have two of them living at home. During covid lockdowns it was great as there was no chance to feel lonely but we realised we don't get much space for just the two of us. Over a glass (or two) of wine we realised we needed some time together each month. We already try to go away for a long weekend/weekend at least once a quarter but we needed to increase the 'us' time. Our decision was to plan in at least one day a month to do something together, just us, no other family members or dog. Our choice of outing for January was a trip to Dungeness nature reserve for birdwatching which would also include a walk.

We had done a circular walk in this area when we had stayed in Folkstone for a weekend way back in 2014, You can read about that trip Here The walk had been along the beach, past the power stations and round the outside of the nature reserve. We had popped into the reception area to find some information about the reserve in anticipation of a future visit.

The drive down the motorway was sunny and crisp, a perfect day for an outing. We started at the reception area and after getting the information about what birds had been seen we set off to circle the reserve. The sky was blue with fluffy clouds.

As we walked we looked across the largest gravel pit we could see the power station. Dungeness is a decommissioned nuclear power station. There are actually two power stations  A and B. Dungeness A stopped generating power on 31st December 2006 having operated for over 40 years. All fuel was removed from the power station by 2012 and had been sent for reprocessing. Dungeness B had two reactors that began operation in 1983 and 1985. In 2009 problems were discovered in a reactor and they remained offline for 18 months. In 2015 the reactors were upgraded and given an extension of use until 2028 but in 2018 the reactors were shutdown for a scheduled outrage maintenance. The outrage caused ongoing problems and so on June 7th 2021 its closure was announced. Removal of the fuel is underway but will probably take up to 10 years to complete.

If you look to the right of the picture you can see an area of land with posts around it. Through the binoculars I could see a lot of cormorants on the island and perched on the posts. I didn't have my big lens with me so couldn't get a good picture of them.

Walking through the reserve felt a little lonely. The landscape at times was very open whilst at others there was good ground cover and trees and bushes. There was a lot of gravel around but not surprising since the ponds were dug out gravel pits. We didn't see many other people even though we knew the car park was full and that nearer the reception building there were a lot of people. I was very happy that we had taken our shadow selves on the walk.

Whilst we could see the gulls, and waders when at the waterside we couldn't always see the smaller birds. This bush was a good hiding place to a big group of blue tits , and whilst we could hear them we couldn't see them.

We should have been able to complete a circular walk but having walked over three quarters of the way round we had to turn back as the path was completely flooded and the surrounding area was very soggy under foot. It wasn't a hardship to walk back the way we had come, especially as the weather stayed good all day. As we were almost back at the start we met this herd of sheep. Most of them were very obviously pregnant.

The reserve is difficult to photograph and as always the birds are even more difficult. Although we didn't get photos we saw a good range of birds including 3 marsh harriers. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo so I found this one taken by Pete Dommett

By Pete Dommett. Published March 24th 2021 

The UK has three species of Harriers and the largest is the marsh harrier. In 1971, this was Britain’s rarest breeding bird. Since then, numbers have increased and so that today there are about 590–695 breeding pairs in Britain.

Before we left we got a hot drink and spent a little time in the gift shop. At this time of year I'm always on the lookout for potential birthday presents for John but sadly nothing jumped out at me. We returned home very happy with our outing, having enjoyed the weak winter sun.

On Saturday we remembered our dear little Yorkshire terrier Scamp. The 4th February was his birthday and so we toasted his memory with some vey tasty red wine. Missy has filled the void Scamp left but he is a hard act to follow. I've owned several dogs over my life and Scamp was my favourite. Here's a photo of him having cheekily made himself very comfortable in bed.

Take care



  1. Lovely reading and photos. I've actually been to Dungeness and found it absolutely fascinating. I didn't realise there were 2 powerstations & though it was all defunct. We were there in 2019, not long before covid. My DH's birthday is in March and I'm trying to think of something special too for being 75. BTW....did you get my email & photos? Thanks for sharing your day out, take care & hugs.

  2. It's always goog to spend special days together. We have been to Dungerness, took a tiny little train there and back, but cant remember the name of the station where we boarded.

  3. I so enjoy seeing photos of your wanderings, Lyndsey! Thanks for sharing.