Dungeness Nature Reserve, Kent - The RSPB (2024)

Days out

DungenessOpenSee opening times

Come to the dramatic sweep of shingle that is Dungeness to hear Marsh Harriers, Bitterns and flocks of seabirds and waders.

Dungeness Nature Reserve, Kent - The RSPB (1)
Dungeness Nature Reserve, Kent - The RSPB (2)
Dungeness Nature Reserve, Kent - The RSPB (3)
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About

⚠ Unfortunately, we have had to close part of our discovery trail, because of flooding.Upon arrival our staff and volunteers will be able to update you on the best routes, when you check in at the visitor centre. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause ⚠

The Dungeness reserve is set back from the sea, boasting mile after mile of open shingle, freshwater pits, wet grassland and stunning wildflower meadows. We look after the reserve's wet and dry grasslands to create good breeding conditions for Lapwings, Redshanks and Garganeys, as well as two uncommon bumblebee species – the Brown-banded Carder Bee and Red-shanked Carder Bee.

Watch the sky in spring and autumn for hundreds of Swallows, Swifts and martins feeding over Burrowes pit. Listen for the booming of our Bitterns and the unmistakable call of the Cuckoo. In the summer, the meadows are a riot of colourful wildflowers which attract nectar-loving pollinators like bees and butterflies.

It is always a joy to watch the Hobbies performing their acrobatic displays over the reserve as they hunt insects during the summer months. In the autumn, many different species of waders will stop to feed here in their hundreds before migrating elsewhere for the winter. Other migrating birds such as Whinchats, Redstarts, Wheatears and Ring Ouzels, will all be present in varying numbers.

Winter sees large numbers of Wigeons, Gadwalls, Teals, Shovelers, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes and Pintails. Bewick's and Whooper Swans are also a species highlight seen around the reserve at this time. Other birds such as Goldcrests, Firecrests, Goldfinches, Robins and Fieldfares can be spotted when they overwinter here.

Lade Pits is a unique site for history as well as wildlife, as it contains three Scheduled Ancient Monuments, which are of international significance. The Denge Sound Mirrors (also known as the Acoustic Mirrors or Listening Ears) are three concrete structures which range in size from 20 to 200 feet. They were built between 1928 and 1935 as part of Britain's national defence strategy. The Sound Mirrors are open to the public during organised events.

Discover events at Dungeness

At a glance

Our main car park is located at the end of our access track which is approx. 1miles from the main road. 60 spaces and 4 Blue Badge spaces. Surface hard-packed shingle, occasional potholes. No height restriction barrier. Alternative parking at ARC site is located opposite the reserve main entrance. Also hard-packed shingle, occasional potholes. 15 spaces. No designated blue badge spaces. We do not allow any overnight parking or camping at the reserve.

Our accessible toilets are open during reserve opening hours. The toilets (with accessible and baby changing facilities) are situated opposite the visitor centre, a short distance across the car park, with a Blue Badge space outside.

Our baby changing facilities are open during reserve opening hours. This is located in the accessibility toilets, opposite the visitor centre, a short distance across the car park.

The level, circular walk around our Discovery Trail makes RSPB Dungeness a suitable place for a stroll in nature with a pushchair. You and the little ones can spot ducks and geese on the pools, taking in the stunning views across the reserve and fresh air as you go.

Visitor centre: Ground floor with step-free, level access throughout. 3 Blue Badge parking spaces close to visitor centre and 1 Blue Badge parking space outside accessible toilet. Nature trails access: Our main route is a Discovery Trail which is 3.2km (1.7miles). Hides have adapted wheelchair spaces. Paths are hard packed shingle or gravel with some loose stones. Picnic area: Two tables in the car park, all with wheelchair spaces. Five tables all with wheelchair spaces at Dennis's Hide. Prior to your visit, please contact the reserve directly for detailed information.

Our toilets are open daily, 9am – 5pm. They are situated opposite the visitor centre, a short distance across the car park.

BBQs are a fire risk, endangering other people and the precious wildlife and habitats here. They are not permitted here at any time.

Sorry, dogs are not permitted on the Discovery/Main trail or the Hanson ARC trail (except assistance dogs), due to the sensitive wildlife and habitats here. However, dogs can be exercised on a lead in the car park. Please keep your dog on a lead and under close, effective control at all times whilst walking the public footpaths that cross parts of the site, due to the sensitive wildlife, habitats and livestock here. Dogs are permitted in the visitor centre and shop. Dogs die in hot cars, please do not leave your dog in the car when visiting us. There are no dog waste bins on the reserve, we ask that you please take their waste home with you to dispose of.

Assistance dogs are welcome in all parts of the reserve.

See what’s here
Check out our blog and recent sightings

Find out about school visits

Bring your science and geography lessons to life with our curriculum linked sessions run by our learning team on the reserve. We offer a variety of hands on, practical sessions which you can choose from. Find out more about our school visits here.

School visits to RSPB nature reserves

Contact Dungeness

  • dungeness@rspb.org.uk
  • Boulderwall Farm, Dungeness Road, Lydd, Kent, TN29 9PN
  • 01797 320588
    Dungeness Nature Reserve, Kent - The RSPB (2024)

    FAQs

    Can you park at Dungeness? ›

    Parking. Our main car park is located at the end of our access track which is approx. 1miles from the main road. 60 spaces and 4 Blue Badge spaces.

    What does RSPB mean? ›

    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a charitable organisation registered in England and Wales and in Scotland.

    Are dogs allowed at RSPB Dungeness? ›

    Dogs. Sorry, dogs are not permitted on the Discovery/Main trail or the Hanson ARC trail (except assistance dogs), due to the sensitive wildlife and habitats here. However, dogs can be exercised on a lead in the car park.

    How many RSPB reserves are there in the UK? ›

    Protecting places for nature

    More reserves followed, and the RSPB now manages over 200 nature reserves across the UK.

    Is Dungeness worth visiting? ›

    It is eerie and sparse yet intriguing. The beach is dog friendly so worth going here but bring water as there is little in terms of shops here. Toilets are scarce also so bear that in mind. Definitely worth a visit, there are a few bits to see here such as shipwrecks and a lighthouse.

    How safe is Dungeness? ›

    The likelihood of a radiation emergency occurring at Dungeness B is very low and there are a significant number of safety barriers in place to prevent the uncontrolled release of radioactive material to the environment.

    Is the RSPB free? ›

    If you're aged 16-24 you could be a Youth Member (for under 18s), an adult member or a family member, all of which means you already enjoy free access to RSPB nature reserves.

    What is a bird in British slang? ›

    Chiefly British Slang. a girl or young woman.

    What bird is the symbol of the RSPB? ›

    The Avocet is a distinctively-patterned black and white wader with a long up-curved beak. Avocets are protected by the Schedule 1, which makes it an offence to disturb them. It's also the emblem of the RSPB, and you'll see it in our logo. It symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species.

    Can dogs walk on Dungeness spit? ›

    The hiking trail to the lighthouse at the end of the spit starts at the northeastern corner of the park. Note that dogs are not allowed on the spit.

    Who owns Dungeness Estate? ›

    Dungeness Estate was originally owned by the Tufton family but was sold to Southern Railway (subsequently British Rail) It was then sold to Mr G T Paine and it remained in the hands of the trustees of the Paine Family Trust until it was sold to EDF Energy in January 2017.

    Is the Pilot Dungeness dog friendly? ›

    We are a family run pub and restaurant set in the picturesque area of Dungeness. Just a stones throw from the beach we welcome visitors with well behaved dogs to come and join us. We are particular famous for our Fresh Fish and Chips; although we have a large menu to choose from.

    What is the biggest nature reserve in the UK? ›

    There are currently 221 NNRs in England with a total area of over 110,000 hectares - approximately 0.8% of the country's land surface. The largest is The Wash covering almost 8,800 hectares, while Dorset's Horn Park Quarry is the smallest at 0.32 hectares.

    Who funds the RSPB? ›

    The Species Recovery Programme Capital Grant Scheme is funded and delivered by Natural England as part of its long-runni... The EU's LIFE programme was a vital funding source for the RSPB and other UK environmental organisations between its cre...

    How much does it cost to join RSPB? ›

    When you join the RSPB you join more than 1.2 million others in a quest to protect and give nature a home. With individual membership starting at just £5 per month, we have a range of packages to suit everyone.

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