Beacon Hill fort...
Beacon Hill fort was first built due to threat of invasion, during WWI & was retired, unused, at the end of this conflict. WWII made Harwich particularly vulnerable to attack, not only if Hitler's 0peration Sea Lion had gone ahead to invade, but because of the new threat from long range aircraft, capable of bombing the British coastline. The old fort at Beacon Hill was recommissioned, with the the original big gun emplacements being shrouded in concrete, & observation towers built beside the promenade to provide look-out posts. A radar station, 1 of the very first of its type, was built beside the fort complex, & several blimps were anchored around the area, to prevent a direct hit from the Luftwaffe. Having suffered repeated bombing during the 1939-45 campaign, Beacon Hill survived the war unscathed, but was decommissioned during the 1950's, because it was thought that the fort was irrelevant against the nuclear threat of Cold War. Rather strangely, the entire fort area was sold to a mysterious member of the public, who has chosen to allow the complex to be ravaged by vandals & the encroachment of nature. Much of the metalwork in the railings, doors & shutters, has rusted away, & the framework inside the concrete is now rotting & splitting the structure from within. The local council did a survey of the site in 1989 - with the intention to renovate the buildings, some of which are unique in the history of warfare, & open the site as a visitor attraction. However, the anonymous private owner was not compliant with the plan, so the site lingers in a sorry state, collecting litter & grafitti, not to mention, dog muck. For some peculiar reason, Beacon Hill has become a favourite dog walking site, despite the fact it's strewn with broken glass & brambles! I happen to think that if the dog owners were asked to remove their shoes & socks before entering the area, they'd change their mind about the suitability of the place for dog recreation. What it is suitable for, is observing activity at Felixstowe dock, for which it provides a panoramic view, across the bay. However, any visitor should bear in mind that Beacon Hill is not actually a public place, & its unmaintained buildings are rather dangerous to walk on. Also, the site does attract some of the worst of the locals, & though I have never encountered any problems here, I have seen evidence of drug taking. There was also a case of a Chinese immigrant who used 1 of the underground mortar chambers to commit suicide - by the time police discovered the body, local schoolchildren had partially dismembered & burnt him. So, if you want to see the remains of 1 of Britain's major defences against Nazi invasion, Beacon Hill is well worth the visit, but be warned, it ain't no pleasure park...
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Get Off Yer Bike And Walk!
The North Sea Cycle Route is the World's longest. Over 6,000 km in length the route takes in all eight countries that border the North Sea - Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England. Where there is no overland crossing between countries the route uses ferry services and here at Harwich the connection to the Netherlands uses Stena Line's Harwich - Hook of Holland service (on which wheeled-on bicycles are carried free).
Unfortunately, as the pic indicates, you can't cycle to the port!!!
Actually you can - the "dismount" only applies to crossing the main road at Parkeston but it amused me nevertheless ;)
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