By Suzanne Plunkett

It sounds like the road trip from hell: a journey around all Britain’s functioning nuclear power stations.

After all, when the UK has so much to offer the traveller – from the bright lights of London to the ancient ruins of Stonehenge – why would anyone go out of their way to visit the far-flung places where the country has stowed its grim industrial reactor halls?

Memories of the Fukushima and Chernobyl meltdowns don’t help. For all its green credentials, nuclear energy seems forever tainted by the consequences of its few disasters. Thoughts of abandoned cities, stark yellow and black hazard symbols and the sickening effects of leaking radiation are never far away.

With all this at the back of my mind, and an itinerary that featured bleakly-named destinations like Hinkley Point B, Heysham 2 and Sizewell B, I wasn’t exactly expecting an uplifting experience.

I was wrong.

My first stop was Dungeness, a sparse, low landscape of scattered pebbles and salty marshland that bulges out of the coastline of England’s otherwise leafy southeastern county of Kent. Here the sky is vast, dwarfing the wooden houses and tumbledown fishing shacks that litter the landscape.