Having always meant to go and somehow missing it, 2015 was to be
the year that I finally made it to the annual open day of the Sound Mirrors, on
that wild stretch of Kent coast between Dungeness and New Romney.
|Sound Mirrors |
sound mirrors are three large concrete structures on the Romney Marshes built
1928-30 as an early warning system, superseded in the late 30s by the
development of radar. There are a number of excellent posts by local expert Andrew Grantham where you can find more detail about their history
off from Brighton courtesy of car-owning chums Kerry and Peter, the cloud
and rain forecast never appeared and the day was clear with a brilliant clear blue
light. We initially parked up at the Pilot pub in Dungeness then received a
text from my chum Regina who lives in Dungeness saying she was going there on
the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch small-gauge railway which sounded like a pretty good plan.
|Dungeness old lighthouse|
hazy about how to find them, we headed to the miniature railway to ask how best
to get there. The elderly gent there couldn’t have been less helpful, but a friendly
face appeared in the form of Geoff Cheesemaster, who gave us some detailed
directions and so we hopped on the miniature train to Romney Sands, a 15 minute
chug up the coast.
|Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway|
a little vague, we looped back down the coast road on foot until we found the
path Geoff had described, marked my an A4 laminated arrow pinned to a telegraph
pole, flapping in the breeze.
whole of that coastal stretch is built on shingle, so it was trudging for
several minutes across pebbles until we arrived a man-made lake and could see
the concrete structures through the trees. They’re sited on an island that's rich in flora and fauna, and is a protected bird habitat, accessible only by a
narrow swing bridge which is only open to the public one day a year.
are a quite a remarkable sight – two concave concrete bowls facing east and a
long curved wall where the acoustic bounces along the length of its surface, so
someone speaking at one end could be clearly heard at the other.
is something rather megalithic about them: they could be ancient structures
dedicated to Aztec gods or monuments where the ritual purpose is long lost to
history, so outlandish a sight are they in the British countryside.
word was that the RSPB had taken the land over and access may be further
restricted, so whether this was to be the last open day to the wider public
remains to be seen.