Two experimental acoustic mirrors were built on an area known as The Roughs just west of Hythe in Kent. A 20′ mirror was built first, then a 30′ mirror added nearby.
The 30′ mirror is in poor condition and now fenced off, as much to protect vandals from it as to protect it from vandals. Unfortunately it is not scheduled, so its long-term future looks bleak – unless someone knows a rich sound mirror enthusiast…
The dish structure is made of metal mesh, supported by an angle-iron frame and covered with concrete, unlike other other mirrors which appear to be made of cast concrete with hidden steel reinforcing.
The 20′ mirror was built in 1923. Landslips caused it the abandoned mirror to fall on its face, probably some time in the 1970s. This is it seen from the front, looking at what was the top of the mirror (4 July 2010).
The mirrors are on The Roughs, just west of Hythe in Kent. The 30′ mirror is easily visible from the Pennypot Estate. The easiest way to find them is to follow the paths along the banks of the Royal Military Canal, then head uphill at the stile. An approximate grid reference is TR138344.
The 20′ mirror is a short distance east of the 30′ mirror. A footpath follows the contour of the hillside east from the 30′ mirror towards Hythe and passes the 20′ example. The remains of the huts are obvious, and the mirror lies on its front a few metres away. There is also a circular earthwork of some sort. An approximate grid reference is TR140345.
The land belongs to the Ministry of Defence, and has permissive access. You can wander around, but there is no right-of-way and the MoD could close it off if they ever wanted to. In practice you can wander around freely. Just watch out for nettles and thistles!
- Not far away from the Hythe mirrors, a modern mirror has been built on the banks of the Royal Military Canal.
- The story of Radar Development has a few pictures of the Hythe mirrors and some history.