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World War II Radar station 600m east of Bent Rigg Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Stainton Dale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3925 / 54°23'33"N

Longitude: -0.4777 / 0°28'39"W

OS Eastings: 498941.7642

OS Northings: 500741.2784

OS Grid: NZ989007

Mapcode National: GBR TK3N.C5

Mapcode Global: WHGBD.MVQG

Entry Name: World War II Radar station 600m east of Bent Rigg Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020544

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34842

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Stainton Dale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ravenscar St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes remains of a World War II radar station at Bent Rigg
about 1km south east of Ravenscar on the North Yorkshire coast. The monument
is located on gently sloping land close to the cliff edge commanding a wide
view across the sea. The monument is in three areas of protection. One area is
located 100m from the cliff edge and contains remains of the technical and
support buildings. The second area is located 200m to the south west, adjacent
to the disused railway line, and contains the footings for the domestic and
administrative buildings. The third area is located 40m to the north east of
the second area and contains remains of the latrines.
Bent Rigg was a Type`M' radar station established in 1941 as part of the
national coastal defence Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) system, which was designed to
detect surface shipping. It was later converted to more powerful equipment as
part of the Chain Home Extra Low system (CHEL).
The core elements of the radar station were housed in a cluster of four
buildings, the shells of which all still survive intact. The radar equipment
was housed in a reinforced concrete built structure known as the Transmitter
and Receiving block (TX/RX). The aerial array was located on a metal gantry
set on the roof. A number of original features still survive in the building
including the blast shutters covering the windows, metal doors and the access
ladder to the roof as well some internal fittings.
To the south west of the TX/RX building are two smaller buildings 2.5m apart.
The southern building is a rectangular concrete structure which was the former
engine house containing an electric generator. The northern building is brick
built with a cement render and was the fuel store.
All three of these buildings followed a standard plan used for structures at
radar stations throughout the country. A Nissen hut with a corrugated asbestos
roof lies 14m to the south east of the TX/RX building. Various original
internal fittings survive within this building including cable clamps and
switch bases. To the north east of the TX/RX building there is a small
concrete platform which is the footings for a small structure, the use of
which is currently unknown.
The domestic and administrative buildings are broadly clustered into two
groups. There are the foundations for five rectangular buildings measuring 12m
by 5m in a line adjacent to the old railway track. These are interpreted as
barracks to accommodate the station crew. To the north of this group, adjacent
to the field edge there are the footings for a further five buildings of
varying plan and dimensions. These are thought to be administrative and
further domestic buildings and may have included a mess hut, station
commander's accommodation, offices and stores. The remains of all these 11
buildings include concrete and brick foundations, steps, drains and the ends
of metal reinforcing rods.
The remains of the latrine blocks are located 40m to the north of the
administrative buildings. They include the footings for two small structures.
There is a vertical clay pipe set at the edge of one and two brick lined drain
pits nearby: this and the shape and position of the buildings indicates that
they were latrines.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The introduction of the aircraft as an offensive weapon is significant in the
history of 20th century warfare, while the bomber's ability 'always to get
through' provided the rationale for strategic air defence systems adopted by
Britain from the early 1920s. These systems initially involved early warning,
based on the visual spotting and tracking of aircraft, but developed through
acoustic detection devices to radar.
The principles behind radar were widely recognised by the 1930s, but British
technicians were the first to mould the basic science - that an
electromagnetic pulse reflected from an object betrays that object's position
to a receiver - into a practical means of air defence. Following experimental
work at Orfordness and Bawdsey in Suffolk, radar developed through the initial
Home Chain, to Chain Home Low (CHL) stations, which filled gaps in low-looking
cover left by the original technology. Both were designed for raid reporting,
passing information to a central operations room which in turn directed
fighters to intercept enemy aircraft. This system was vital in the Battle of
Britain. Radar was then adapted during the Blitz of 1940-1 to incorporate a
system of Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) by which night fighters were
controlled directly rather than via a central operations room. A further
addition in 1941 was Coast Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL), a low-cover
coastal radar designed to detect surface shipping. Originally manned by the
Army, these coastal sites were ultimately handed over to the RAF, thereby
unifying the low cover chain. At this time many stations were converted to new
and more powerful equipment, known as Chain Home Extra Low (CHEL). Finally, in
1943 Fighter Direction radar was developed to aid Fighter Command in their
offensive sweeps over occupied Europe. Many radar stations were reused during
the Cold War period for Rotor, a later development of wartime radar.
A national survey of radar stations has identified some 242 sites at 200
separate locations - some quite extensive - occupied by radar reporting and
control functions during World War II. Thirty-six of these are CHEL sites,
some 60% of which survive in some form, though only six are complete or near
complete. All of these complete or near complete examples represent
developments of earlier radar stations, involving the adaptation of existing
CHEL sites with significant surviving remains representing the site's primary
function are considered to be of national importance.

The radar station 600m east of Bent Rigg Farm survives well. Significant
evidence of both the radar complex and the administrative and domestic
elements will be preserved. The latter are a particularly unusual survival
and hence worthy of protection.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Newman, M, Kenyon, K, Bent Rigg Radar Station:Standing building survey, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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