View of the Reserve from the Visitor Centre
The RSPB Reserve at Dungeness, the Society's oldest nature reserve, occupies nearly 4 sq miles of the Dungeness peninsula - the largest shingle formation of its kind in Europe.
The entrance to the reserve is off Dungeness Road, to the south east of Lydd. (see the location map on right). The Visitor Centre and car park is about a mile from the entrance; just follow the signs.
If you haven't been to Dungeness, nothing can quite prepare you for the landscape – mile after mile of shingle, which is wild and a little weird! On a cold winter's day, it is a delight to sit snug in the visitor centre and look out through a huge picture window at all the waterbirds on the large gravel pit just outside. Often a rare grebe or diver is among them, and it is perhaps the best place in the UK for watching the delightful smew.
The nature trails lead around a series of hides where there is an excellent chance of seeing bitterns and bearded tits in winter. There is plenty to be seen at other times too.
Dungeness's position, jutting into the English Channel, makes it ideally placed to watch for migrant birds arriving or departing, with wheatears, swallows, martins and warblers regularly seen.
In summer, redshanks, lapwings and reedbed birds breed, including, in 2007, two pairs of marsh harriers for the first time.
Dungeness is a great place for children to become 'wildlife detectives' and enjoy learning about nature at one of our regular family events. And with recently added hides and trails overlooking new wetland areas, there's more than ever to see.
For a map of the RSPB reserve, together with the location of the Visitor Centre and the hides, please see the RSPB Dungeness Guide.
Inside the Visitor Centre
The reserve is open daily (except December 25 and 26) from 9 am to 9 pm (or sunset if earlier).
The Visitor Centre is open from 10 am to 5 pm (4 pm November to February).
RSPB and Wildlife Explorer members free. Non-members: adults £3, concessions £2, under 16s £1, families (up to two adults and four children) £6.
If you are new to birdwatching...
A good variety of waterfowl and seabirds can be easily seen from the visitor centre and hides. Staff usually on hand in the visitor centre to help with identification. Identification charts in all hides. Four beginners' walks run each year.
For more information about the RSPB reserve, please visit the RSPB Reserve Dungeness website.
Shingle banks on the Reserve