Hythe sound mirrors

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.

30 ft sound mirror, Hythe

30′ mirror

[Hythe sound mirror, May 2003]

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…

[Hythe 30 foot sound mirror, May 2003]
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.

[Hythe 30 foot sound mirror, May 2003]
The listening chamber underneath the mirror.

[Hythe 30 foot sound mirror, May 2003]
In 2003 there was a large hole in one side of the mirror. By July 2010 a big chunk had come off.

30 ft sound mirror, Hythe

20′ mirror

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).

20 ft sound mirror ruins, Hythe

20 ft sound mirror ruins, Hythe

[Sound mirror]
And this is the 20′ mirror from behind. Hythe can be seen in the distance (3 May 2003).

[Concrete blocks and fallen sound mirror]
The foundations of huts which once stood near the mirror. The mirror is visible to the right (3 May 2003).

Location

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.


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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.


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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!

On the slope just below the 30′ mirror there is another military building of some sort (possibly a radio D/F station, a correspondent suggests?)
30 ft sound mirror, Hythe

30 ft sound mirror, Hythe

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