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Listening out for nature at Lade Pits

Sound mirrors

Former sand and gravel site featuring iconic Sound Mirror structures handed over to the RSPB

CEMEX UK have handed over Lade Pits, formerly Denge Quarry – a unique site featuring  three so-called ‘Sound Mirrors’ – to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (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 and will now be one of nature’s homes in the region.

Lade Pits is a restored sand and gravel site covering 70ha and was quarried from the early 1960s. Approximately 4 million tonnes of sand and gravel for local construction projects were extracted from the quarry. Work began on restoring the site into a home for nature during the life time of the quarry. 

In the 1930s – between the two world wars – the MOD developed an aircraft early-warning system consisting of huge concrete structures designed to pick-up and amplify the distant roar of enemy aircraft engines approaching over the sea. However, the system never became fully operational and was made obsolete by the advent of radar in the late 1930s. The Sound Mirrors, which are listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, are not only historically significant, but more recently have also appeared in numerous music videos and fashion shoots.

RSPB South East regional director Chris Corrigan said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Lade Pits is now part of nature’s home in the South East and I am grateful to CEMEX UK for their generosity and unwavering commitment to help the RSPB save nature.

‘Where the mighty Sound Mirrors were once used to listen out for man-made noise, they will now symbolize just how important it is to listen and look out for nature. The site will prove invaluable for what the RSPB is trying to achieve in the South East and we are very much looking forward to taking Lade Pits forward together with the local community.’

Andrew Scott, CEMEX UK’s estates manager for the Southern region, said: ‘We are delighted to hand over Lade Pits to the RSPB for the next stage in the site’s life cycle. It has provided valuable sand and gravel for local construction projects and now, after restoration, becomes a home for nature and a local asset for the community.’

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