RSPB Dungeness nature reserve to host Free Open Day at historic site on the Kent south coast

Louise Kelly

Sunday 17 July 2016

In late 2015, leading building materials supplier CEMEX UK handed over Lade Pits, a unique site equipped with three so-called Sound Mirrors, to the RSPB.

The site and its listening devices, which are located next to the existing RSPB Dungeness nature reserve near Lydd, have for many years been an iconic feature on the Kent coast. Lade Pits is normally closed to the public but for one day only, people will be able to get free access to this brand new home for nature, when RSPB Dungeness host an open day on Saturday July 23. In addition, there will be free access to the Dungeness reserve on the day as well.

Louise Kelly, Visitor Services Officer for RSPB Dungeness said: "We are very excited about our open day when we open up the reserve for free. We invite everybody to come along to see what Lade Pits has to offer and get up close to the amazing and historical Sound Mirrors. Have a wander around the site and talk to our staff and volunteers about what we are doing to give nature a home at Lade Pits. Afterwards you can head to the nearby visitor centre at our fabulous Dungeness reserve for a cup of tea or an ice cream to round off the day nicely."

In the 1930's, between the two world wars, the MOD developed an aircraft early warning system consisting of huge concrete structures designed to pick-up and amplify sound coming from miles away. This warning system came to be known as Listening Devices or Sound Mirrors and once built they could pick up the distant engine roar of enemy aircraft coming in off the sea. However, due to speedy advances in technology, the system was made obsolete by other methods of detection (radar).

The Open Day takes place on Saturday July 23 from 10 am until 3 pm. Entry is free but donations are most welcome.

1. The RSPB is the country's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. Visit for more information.

2. About CEMEX: CEMEX is a global manufacturer of building materials and the biggest Mexican investor in the UK, with 3,000 people employed across 450 sites nationwide. In this country, we are a leading provider of aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete and rail sleepers with annual sales of around £1 billion. Helping to build a Great Britain - CEMEX's vision is to help build a greater Britain by providing solutions to construction problems through our innovative building materials, our expertise, our understanding of the construction issues and our people. We aim to create the best service and the best solutions for a better future.

3. The RSPB has completed the acquisition of Lade Pits comprising three parcels of land from CEMEX. The Northern area is Lade Pits; the southern two areas are two parcels of vegetated shingle. The total area is app 70ha [173acres] and the land is predominantly designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI], and is in part a Special Protection Area [SPA].

4. RSPB Dungeness nature reserve is located one mile out of Lydd on the Dungeness Road. Turn right for the main site. The visitor centre and car park are a mile along the entrance track. The entrance to the Hanson ARC site and car park is opposite the main reserve entrance on the left of the Dungeness Road.

5. The reserve is open daily (except December 25 and 26) from 9 am-9 pm (or sunset if earlier). The visitor centre is open from 10 am-5 pm (4 pm November - February). RSPB and Wildlife Explorer members free. Non-members: adults £3, concessions £2, under 16s £1, families (up to two adults and four children) £6

6. For directions to the reserve and for more information visit:

7. We are extremely grateful to the following organisations for their support at Dungeness: Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust, through the Landfill Communities Fund, Defra and Natural England.

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Reserves