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Report - - Bushy Hill RX12874 Radar, Woodham Ferrers - 2020-2021 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bushy Hill RX12874 Radar, Woodham Ferrers - 2020-2021

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Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
The History

First we should mention the history of the whole complex known locally as 'Radar Hill' before discussing the tower itself. It formed part of a complex known as Bushy Hill Research Station acquired in 1954 by Marconi in response to a military contract to develop an RAF radar system. The location at Bushy Hill on the outskirts of Woodham was selected for its suitability for equipment testing. By 1955, a Type 80 radar was installed and work had begun, which I first confused this radar for. Other similar testing work was carried out at the facility, and in 1959, the Marconi Company was awarded a Government contract to develop a passive detection system nicknamed 'Winkle'. By 1962, Marconi had got its Winkle out with the production of a High Speed Aerial which was to be the RX12874 radar, developed alongside work with a facility at Malvern, Worcestershire.

Bushy Hill then went on to develop other systems such as the S600 radar, and continued various work throughout the subsequent decades. Alenia Marconi Systems dissolved in 2005 leaving the later use of the facility shrouded in mystery (although as always probably less juicy than imaged). It remains in use to this day but is heavily secured, although it is strange for a former military contract site to be in such an unassuming state. I'd imagine private communications work goes on here although connections to the Government have likely long passed. Rumours about a bunker underneath radar hill have been circulated, although I have found no evidence to substantiate this.

The area in front of the main complex is where a disused helipad and the remains of the RX12874 can be found, with its antenna replaced with a modern tower on top of the gantry, as well as three other modern towers standing alone beside it. The modern ladder towers must have been installed for mounting some sort of lightweight radio equipment in the past 30 years. The gantry of the RX12874 still survives although has suffered from vandalism. Even in this state, it is an interesting piece of Cold War heritage given that it is assumedly the original first developed there.

Bushy Hill 1964 - RX12874 (2).jpg

A 1964 photograph kindly sent in showing the radar (far left) prior to the replacement of the antenna with the modern tower

1980.JPG

What appears to be the original or a later antenna atop the gantry in a 1980 newspaper, before it was replaced with the tower


The First Climb - June 2020


This was another local site which somehow escaped my attention for some time. When I found where it was I thought it would be worth investigating. After a recce sometime before, we decided to climb the structure and check out the original gantry. The control building below was pretty stripped and heavily vandalised, although the gantry building ontop which housed what I can assume to have been the radar motor was still complete with some original equipment (still suffering from graffiti). I was shit scared but we did the climb, clinging on for dear life as my hands cramped up, but it wasn't so bad coming down. The hill provides for an amazing view over South Woodham Ferrers.

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View from the top over the facility
 
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Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
Return Visit - July 2021

We decided to return and do it again. This time I was armed with a better camera although I got a bit carried away with my 8mm ultra-wide lens and the perspective is pretty shocking. Glad I have learnt otherwise since, but for now you'll have to bear with the dodgy angles.

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Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
Very cool to see, having climbed the radarhead at Neatishead is nice to see another Type 80
Ah yes I've not been to that one but have seen pics. I thought this was a Type 80 but the RX12874 is different, although it was apparently based on development of the Type 85. It's all rather complex and I don't know much about radars but it seems all the designs developed from one another, and I suppose the Type 80 set the standard

That looks quite interesting mate. Guessing climbing ainā€™t your thing ha ha.
Cheers, its not my favourite but I do enjoy the challenge every so often. This was the first 'climb' I did hence the nerves, it gets better with time but the jelly legs seem to kick in regardless of your mindset haha
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Good report. Very nice touch adding the old photos. The climb looks good, but I could feel my vertigo from here ;)
 

Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
Good report. Very nice touch adding the old photos. The climb looks good, but I could feel my vertigo from here ;)
Thanks! It wasn't that high as far as things go, surely a walk in the park for many here, but you do feel it about 2/3rds of the way at the point of no return
 

MikeymuttšŸ¶

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Cheers, its not my favourite but I do enjoy the challenge every so often. This was the first 'climb' I did hence the nerves, it gets better with time but the jelly legs seem to kick in regardless of your mindset haha
Yeah climbing things like that is not my favourite thing either ha ha.
 

BenSx

28DL Member
28DL Member
27th August 2023 - Warning
On a night time explore of this facility at around 11:30pm we parked our cars along the road into the facility at a farm building. This was perfectly fine and no issues arised from this. So would recommend.

The site itself is in the same condition as it was and the last reports photos from July.

Although please be careful when exploring not to wander too close to the other site just across from the radar tower contains another tower and buildings. The site is gated off and whilst exploring the area we wandered mildly close to that building from outside the fence (we did not enter) and it turns out we must have triggered an motion detector alarm which resulted in the police turning up. We was inside the radar tower at the time and they made no effort to check it and rather just checked the seemingly security protected or currently active building (although we saw boarded up windows and decrepit buildings through the gate a business appears there on google maps).

Despite not being caught and them leaving this ruined the explore as we decided it was best to leave and to not cause any issues. So just a heads up to not make our mistake.

TLDR: Do not wander near the other building on the site as it has motion detectors and will result in a police response.
 

Seffy

SWC
Staff member
Moderator
27th August 2023 - Warning
On a night time explore of this facility at around 11:30pm we parked our cars along the road into the facility at a farm building. This was perfectly fine and no issues arised from this. So would recommend.

The site itself is in the same condition as it was and the last reports photos from July.

Although please be careful when exploring not to wander too close to the other site just across from the radar tower contains another tower and buildings. The site is gated off and whilst exploring the area we wandered mildly close to that building from outside the fence (we did not enter) and it turns out we must have triggered an motion detector alarm which resulted in the police turning up. We was inside the radar tower at the time and they made no effort to check it and rather just checked the seemingly security protected or currently active building (although we saw boarded up windows and decrepit buildings through the gate a business appears there on google maps).

Despite not being caught and them leaving this ruined the explore as we decided it was best to leave and to not cause any issues. So just a heads up to not make our mistake.

TLDR: Do not wander near the other building on the site as it has motion detectors and will result in a police response.
Thanks for the heads up šŸ‘
 

Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
27th August 2023 - Warning
On a night time explore of this facility at around 11:30pm we parked our cars along the road into the facility at a farm building. This was perfectly fine and no issues arised from this. So would recommend.

The site itself is in the same condition as it was and the last reports photos from July.

Although please be careful when exploring not to wander too close to the other site just across from the radar tower contains another tower and buildings. The site is gated off and whilst exploring the area we wandered mildly close to that building from outside the fence (we did not enter) and it turns out we must have triggered an motion detector alarm which resulted in the police turning up. We was inside the radar tower at the time and they made no effort to check it and rather just checked the seemingly security protected or currently active building (although we saw boarded up windows and decrepit buildings through the gate a business appears there on google maps).

Despite not being caught and them leaving this ruined the explore as we decided it was best to leave and to not cause any issues. So just a heads up to not make our mistake.

TLDR: Do not wander near the other building on the site as it has motion detectors and will result in a police response.
That's unfortunate, strange the police would turn up simply if someone was detected going near the front gate. I haven't been near the active part myself although have heard of it having some very vicious dogs.
 

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