Dingli is a village near the western coastline of Malta, with a population of around 3,600. It is two kilometres from Rabat and it lies on a plateau some 250 metres above sea level, which is one of the highest points of Malta. The area provides not only open sea views over the tiny, uninhabited isle of Filfla, but is also a good vantage point over Malta. From the cliffs there are also views of the nearby Buskett Gardens and Verdala Palace. The name Dingli is believed to be derived from the name of Sir Thomas Dingley, an English Knight of the Order of St. John, who owned much of the lands in the surrounding area.
Nearby are the spectacular Dingli Cliffs, the highest spot on the island and the most fantastic sea views in Malta. Their flat rocky top is a great place for walking and there is usually a beautiful refreshing breeze up there. It is also possible to drive along the edge of the cliff for some distance. The views of the Mediterranean are spectacular and this is a popular spot from which to watch the sunset. In spring the area is covered in wild flowers, in summer wild fennel and caper bushes flourish, and the smell of thyme wafts up as you brush the greenery underfoot. The cliffs are simply majestic, particularly if viewed from a boat while cruising, but also from the top – the views are breathtaking, overlooking the small terraced fields below, the open sea, and Filfla, the small uninhabited island just across.
It is also a place to unearth important local history and archaeology. Here we find the most impressive concentration of ‘Cart Ruts’ in Malta. Those ‘Ruts’, burrowed into the rocks, have been a mystery to archaeologists, striving to find a satisfactory explanation as to their origin. The most accepted theory is that they were made by cart wheels during the Bronze Age (2300-800 BC). British archaeologists have named this network of ‘Ruts’ found in Dingli, ‘Clapham Junction Cart Ruts’ after a similar intricate network of rail lines at Clapham Junction station in South London.
This area of Malta has long been one of my favourites. This is where land and sea collide and where untamed beauty abounds. I love to drive around this heavenly landscape at my leisure. The panoramic views over the deep blue Mediterranean always takes my breath away. The peaceful rural life of the surrounding countryside is a soothing experience to savour and if I’m lucky I might even spot a goat herder sitting in a field watching his flock graze in the lush winter grass or I might meet up with the last shepherd roaming the cliffs.
From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)
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