Dungeness Old Lighthouse
Dungeness Old Lighthouse
A Grade-I listed lighthouse standing in an exposed position on the vast shingle expanse of Dungeness. The shingle posed a serious threat to shipping, and there has been a lighthouse here since 1615 when James I granted a license to erect a 35-foot high wooden tower on the spot.

That first lighthouse was replaced with a brick structure just 20 years later. This, in turn, was replaced in 1790 with a much taller lighthouse (116 feet high) with oil fired Argon lanterns. The lighthouse was taken over by Trinity House in 1836, and in 1862 Dungeness became the first electrically powered lighthouse in England.

Unfortunately, electrical engineering at that stage was too inefficient, and the electrical power was replaced by oil-fired lights once more. Expansion of the shingle due to silting meant that a second, low-level light was needed, and this was installed at the end of the 19th century.

A new, taller lighthouse was erected in 1904, to a design by Patrick & Co of London. This, the fourth lighthouse, became known as the Old Lighthouse when a new, automatic light was erected in the 1950s.

The Old Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1960 and has been open to the public ever since as a museum and historic attraction. It is painted a distinctive black and white and is built of over 3 million bricks. It is 46 metres high and 11 metres in diameter.

Aside from its historic interest, the lighthouse offers superb views over the Dungeness shingle, and out across the Channel. An RSPB nature reserve is nearby, and there are numerous walking trails. Beside the lighthouse is the terminus of the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch Light Railway.