In the 1930's work was going on all along the Kent coast to build large sound reflectors in an attempt to get an early warning of possible attack. There are several designs but the one on the Roughs above Hythe is similar in design to the latter radio telescopes used to receive radio waves from space. A large bowl with a microphone in the centre. These largely became redundant with the invention of radar.
The Hythe example can be reached by heading out of town on the A259 towards Dymchurch, then right at the Prince of Wales pub into Burmarsh Road. You can park on the road opposite Peregrine Close (try not to block the entrance!) by the new bridge over the Military Canal and onto the old Military Road and then up the hill to get close to it.
For the Millennium the canal itself was dredged and cleaned and a new bridge put across it here. On the opposite side (from the road) there is a model of the reflector and by standing on the road side bank by the information table, if someone speaks softly, they can be heard perfectly well by someone standing in front of the model some 35 metres away. Highlighting how the system worked.
Sadly the local yobs have seen fit to graffiti and vandalise the original reflector and the models. In attempt to cut down the vandalism, there is a new and unattractive wire fence around it.
If any of you v.t. ers are interested in lovely historic walks, the Hythe civic society arrange guided walks of the most interesting parts of this old town, anybody interested link on to the website listed below.
Guided walks are arranged for Thursday mornings in the summer and group bookings are all year round
Dungeness is worth a short visit. The shore at Dungeness is a protected site as it is an ecology area.
This seems amazing as the backdrop to the shore houses a nuclear Power Station. Apart from the power stations own visitor centre what is there to see:
Quaint little holiday homes that used to be made from old railway trucks. The famous BBC film producer Derek Jarman has one (although he died a few years back and his partner lives there) that features a 'beachcomber' garden, an old lighthouse that you can visit, plus two pubs that do excellent seafood and fish.
Also, it's also the end of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. A narrow gauge railway that runs every day in the summer and less frequently out of season.
After a long afternoon walking on the shingle or climbing the lighthouse, then you can enjoy a drink at the Britannia pub or at the railway station cafe.
Update: The visitor centre closed in 2004 and never re-opened.
The "A" reactor was turned off for good on December 31st 2006.
At the end of West Parade is Fisherman’s Beach which is a working rather than a tourist beach so you won't find too many people strolling around. It is where the local fishermen set out from and also has fresh fish wholesalers nearby to process the catch and deliver it to the local restaurants.
About a 30 minute walk from the town centre along the canal bank towards West Hythe you will find evidence of some pre RADAR experiments from the 1920’s. High up on a hillside is a large concrete dish known as an acoustic mirror which was used as an early warning system to pick up the sound of aircraft approaching over the English Channel.
The operator stood on a platform in front of the dish and by moving the sound collector boom could monitor for the sounds of aircraft approaching over the channel. It worked rather like a TV receiver dish only using sound waves rather than radio waves.
It is on Ministry of Defence land and whilst they claim it is open to the public they make it as difficult as possible to reach. It is on the route of one of the marked walking tours of Hythe and a leaflet showing details is available from the library and other tourist spots.
This is part of Hythe's high street with some of the oldest properties in the town. The high street really has a good feel and charm about it, the origional Kent peg tiles on the roofs also give it a unique style as well. For such a small town the shops are very vaired ranging from the modern woolworth's to lovely antiques
Hythe has some great coastline to explore, try walking along the beach in the summer, early in the morning when theres nobody about, its great