Access to the Nature Reserve
The Dungeness National Nature Reserve in Greatstone is located to the south west of the village and extends southwards from the area at the rear (west) of Merritt Road.
The most northerly accesses to the reserve are at the north end of Roberts Road (see the Greatstone Shingle Trail) and at the end (west) of Seaview Road with access limited to small parts of the reserve.
There are two public footpaths providing access to all parts the nature reserve. The first runs from near the south end of Leonard Road between two houses and the second from the west end of Taylor Road.
Access to the reserve is also possible from the end of Coleville Crescent and Hull Road, both west off Leonard Road.
Walk almost west across the shingle and cross one of the styles on to the what used to be the old railway track (see Greatstone on Sea Station). From here, the lakes are to the north (See Greatstone Map).
Alternatively, you can park in the car park in The Parade just past Hull Road, walk westwards down Taylor Road and then follow the signs for The Mirrors
North from the old railway track are the two Greatstone Lakes and the Sound Mirrors. Taking the style opposite will take you further into the reserve, whilst walking south will take you to another style on your right to go further into the reserve. From here it is possible to walk the reserve all the way to Dungeness.
The Dungeness National Nature Reserve is unique in that it has no boundaries, a desolate landscape but possessing a rich
and diverse wildlife in one of the largest
shingle landscapes in the world.
The communities of plants and animals living at Dungeness are unique,
precious and exceptionally fragile.
The diverse wildlife, complex land form and sheer size of Dungeness
make it one of the best examples of a shingle beach in the world, home to many
uncommon plants, insects and spiders.
It is also a great
place to see birds, particularly migratory birds in the spring and
Please see Birds in Greatstone.
Dungeness has been designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special
Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is home to
600 species of plants which is a third of all plants found in the UK.
National Nature Reserve stretches across from Greatstone to Dungeness to encompass the vast RSPB
reserve and is intended to help protect the landscape and its wildlife.
There are two large lakes in the nature reserve at Greatstone. Once gravel pits, they were returned to nature and over time they have become two magnificent water based habitats for birds, other wildlife, fauna and flora. See here for full details.
Greatstone Dunes separate the beach and sea from the land along almost the length of Greatstone. Owned by Shep District Council, the dunes are a Site of Special Scientific Interest with many rare species of plants.
The Romney Marsh Countryside Project has been asked (Spring 2009) to produce a five year management plan for the dunes.
Owen Leyshon of the Project says "Getting the right balance between the human pressures and the wildlife is vital - with the main thrust of the proposed works over the next five years is to reduce the coverage of the prickly sea buckthorn in the dunes and to check the spread of the garden flowers which are throughout the dunes. Issues like dog fouling, fly tipping of garden material and access will also be addressed"
Greatstone Shingle Trail
A good way to get a taste of the reserve is to walk the Greatstone Shingle Trail.
This short walk takes you along the tideline on Greatstone beach towards Greatstone car park, then across to a small part of the Dungeness Nature Reserve, before coming back along part of the beach.
See here for full details including a map.
Three concrete sound mirrors, ranging in size from 20 to 200 feet in size are a prominent feature on the reserve at Greatstone. They were an early form of radar. See here for full details.