Archive for the 'Then and now' Category

14th December 2008, Sunday

Then and now: 5

The following post shows the results of not designating land as an SSSI.  This photo shows the Lade, the north eastern part of the Dungeness shingle beach in 1946. This section of the beach is relatively young with a series of beach ridges terminating in the marsh soils to the west of the shingle. The dark line bending round from the top left and cutting south across the shingle is the old railway line, with little development to the west of this feature other than the listening mirrors, which were reached by tracks from the east coast. These structures were a pre-radar attempt to focus the noise of aircraft crossing the channel for its operators, and in those days they have a relatively clear view of the sea with only scattered housing along the coast. the most extensive buildings are the beginnings of the Romney Sands holiday camp.

The shingle shows the characteristic relative absence of vegetation on its northern fringes, a consequence of the gravel consisting of very large stones, more hostile to plant life, and no doubt the origin of the term Greatstone. The ridges are aligned in a north-south direction, with the strips of vegetation aligned also in this direction. The pale lines crossing east-west are footpaths across the shingle.

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11th November 2008, Tuesday

Then and now. 4


There have been considerable improvements in the sea defences at Pett Level and this has enabled a rapid increase in development behind the sea wall – even with the predictions of sea level rise. The black and white photo is thought to date from 1940s and shows the caravan site and the small railway on top of the box groyne that was used to bring shingle back from Rye Harbour, an activity that continues today with the shingle lorries during the winter.

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18th May 2008, Sunday

Then and now. 3

Ternery Pool is now home to more than a thousand pair of seabirds, including 4 species of gull and 2 of terns. This no accident, many years of management has created the ideal islands for successful nesting. The first photo shows a Sussex Ornithological Society workparty in April 1979 building up one of the islands to a level where it is present in spring. First, the edge of the island was built up with pieces of concrete and then it was infilled with shingle.


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7th May 2008, Wednesday

Then and now. 2

Historically the RX coastline has undergone great changes, but for now the policy is “hold the line”. In the black and white photo taken in 1933 there is about 60m. of shingle in front of the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House (the largest and darkest building on the shore). The fingers of shingle, dating from after 1800, spread inland to grazing marsh recently won from saltmarsh.


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6th May 2008, Tuesday

Then and now. 1

The RX countryside is constantly changing, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in dramatic ways. I have often thought it would be interesting to create a book or website showing pairs of photos taken from the the same point, but many years apart. If you have any photo pairs perhaps you could get in touch…

The example below is of Ternery Pool, that now has hundreds of pairs of seabirds breeding on the islands. The black and white image was taken in 1950 and shows one island, pretty much as it was in 1970 when the nature reserve was established (between the 2 pools there is a rail line that was used to extract shingle from the beach).


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