Lindsey Chapman introduces an update to this Living World from 1990. In this episode Peter France joins Erica Towner and David Harper to uncover the ecology of Dungerness in Kent.
The shifting shingle world of Dungeness is a remarkable place. There are four internationally important shingle peninsula’s in the World. Two in Germany, one in America, (Cape Canaveral) and yes you've guessed it, Dungeness in Kent. The unique landscape of Dungerness has been studied since Medieval times giving scientists such as Erica Towner and David Harper from Sussex University a wealth of historical data to work from.
Which is why Peter France joined Erica and David on a timeline walk from the sea edge to dry land in this Living World. Along the way, Peter discovers shingle is a very underrated habitat and far from being like a desert the area is teeming with life. Dungerness has also the RSPB's oldest nature reserve created in 1932 from land bought in 1930 on Denge Beach. As part of their journey the trio look at the nuclear power stations on dungerness, which were built on good former shingle sites of Special Scientific Interest. That destroyed the shingle but on the positive side, the power stations provide cliff habitat for redstarts and rare lichens, and their warm discharge water provides feeding areas for birds. As can be imagined on a shingle headland, tree cover is limited, though visiting ancient holly bushes on Ministry of Defense land usually not open to the public provides a startling glimpse into the past.
Lindsey Chapman revisits this edited Living World from 1990 to gently bring the story of Dungerness and it's wildlife up to date with a unique wildlife project.
Presenter Andrew Dawes