The Log Cabin Dungeness occupies an intriguing spot close to a decomissioned nuclear power station in a British nature reserve on the Kent coast. Rose Dykins reports
Formed by two turn-of-the century railway carriages painted white, the charming single-storey accommodation is situated amid the remote beauty of Dungeness Nature Reserve along the Kent coast, offering uninterrupted beach views, despite its proximity to Dungeness B power station, which is less than a mile away. The nearest train station, Rye, lies ten miles away, and is accessible from central London in just over one hour.
Fifteen years ago, artist Sara Newman and her family began restoring the two abandoned railway carriages that make up the Log Cabin, wanting to pay homage to a piece of local everyday history.
From the 1880s, the main railway that serviced the area surrounding Dungeness permitted workers to buy its old stock. As a result, many carriages were dragged onto the shingle beach and set up as homes, which created a unique community living amid the nature reserve, and a special way of life.
Almost 1,000 hectares in size, Dungeness Nature Reserve is home to one third of Britain’s plant species, rare wildflowers and waterbirds as well as Europe’s largest shingle beach. Regular walks and workshops take place there and, in the Spring, the reserve blooms with rare wildflowers, while the seasonal bird migration brings in cuckoos and warblers.
Now, holidaymakers can experience this way of live for themselves with a stay at the Log Cabin. The property has three bedrooms and sleeps up to six people so is suitable for families or small groups.
Visitors can enjoy the unspoilt, unique landscape of this section of the Kent coast, taking part in activities such as birding, cycling, walking and fishing.
The interiors of the Log Cabin are truly special, featuring cleverly repurposed railway infrastructure. For example, the kitchen is formed by a converted cattle carriage – with its original vents.
The windows on the exterior side of the house follow the carriage windows – creating a light and airy feel – and the living area with its glassed reading room leads to another king bedroom, which has views across and out to sea.
Sara Newman’s practice as a glass artist with a background in interior design permeates the cabin’s décor. Furnishings include restored Ercol chairs, lawn bowling balls reappropriated as bedroom lamps, white walls decorated with work by local artists, and colour palettes inspired by seaweed, gorse and sea kale.
Meanwhile, features such as the beds’ Hypnos mattresses, Woolroom duvets and Tiele bedding offer refinery, comfort and practicality, as do the white-hotel-quality towels, REN hand and body wash, a well-equipped kitchen and a cosy wood burner. There is also wifi (although no TV and very little phone signal), and gated private parking for two cars.With its reading room, bifold doors and stunning views out across the nature reserve to Dungeness lighthouse and across the channel, the Log Cabin epitomises seaside living.
Guests can wander to the nearby shack selling lobster rolls, scallop wraps and fresh seafood dishes, or the sandy dunes of Camber Sands are ten minutes away. Other attractions include Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway – the world’s smallest passenger railway – and the Romney Marsh Sound Mirrors.
A three-night stay at the Log cabin starts from £885 for three nights during low season (£1,180 for seven nights), rising to from £1,410 for three nights during high season (£1,880 for seven nights), and from £1,560 for three nights during Christmas and New Year (£2,080 for seven nights).