Dungeness is a tiny strip of headland in the southern coast of England… the pebble beach with shingle ridges is often referred to as one of the most desolate in the UK… there’s a tiny fishing village – with the houses still made out of wooden slats. The salt-marsh leading to the beach has been designated of special scientific interest (both biological and geological). There are saline lagoons, vegetated shingle, sand dunes and ditches… all in one place.
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Then there’s the background.
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The first, and most obvious thing is the large, nuclear power station. Two in fact.
Next, there is an RAF (Royal Air-Force) base, which has been around since the first airplanes…
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Interestingly, this was also the site for Operation Pluto; one of the first undersea oil-pipeline. This was constructed to allow the Allied forces to attack France and Germany, without relying on fuel tankers for resources. Instead, a large pipe was laid under the ocean, and extended as allied troops advanced. (for more information on Operation Pluto, click here)
Finally, and maybe most curiously, there’s an array of acoustic mirrors.
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The acoustic mirrors (or listening ears, as they are referred to locally), are a predecessor to RADAR. In the late 1920′s, massive concrete parabolic dishes were built with a microphone at the focal point. These were designed to focus sound waves from invading planes (subsonic of course), and Dungeness was selected as being one of the quietest in England. The mirrors are still there, and form a stark reminder of techonologic progress and development. Standing in the focal point of the larger of these dishes allows one to hear noises from quite far away.
The mirrors were abdandoned overnight in the early 1930s, when RADAR was developed.
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