Record Details

NHER Number:58311
Type of record:Monument
Name:Ring ditch associated with the Precision Approach Radar at RAF Coltishall

Summary

A large ring ditch-like feature is visible on 2006 aerial photographs on Google Earth within RAF Coltishall (NHER 7697), which has the appearance of the remains of a possible prehistoric round barrow. However research has indicated that it is likely to represent a twentieth century defensive feature, possibly a compound or 'alignment ring' that would have surrounded the Replacement Precision Approach Radar (NHER 59129).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2658 2280
Map Sheet:TG22SE
Parish:SCOTTOW, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

December 2012.
A large ring ditch-like feature is visible on 2006 aerial photographs on Google Earth (S1) at TG 2658 2280 with RAF Coltishall (NHER 7697), which has the appearance of the remains of a possible prehistoric round barrow, however research has indicated that it is likely to represent a twentieth century defensive feature that would have surrounded the ‘Replacement Precision Approach Radar’ (NHER 59129). The 60m diameter ring ditch feature has hard-standing and structural components relating to the former radar equipment at its centre and its form is extremely regular – a perfect circle. Additionally it was showing extremely clearly when compared with the surrounding vegetation marks which related to relatively recently removed post medieval and pre-Second World War field boundaries (NHER 57995). Previous experience of looking at earlier radar and radio-related sites on aerial photographs had suggested that some types of radar installations were surrounded by compounds and may have octagonal and/or circular wire netting or mats, known as ‘clutter’ screens, which reduce the effect of surrounding vegetation on the radar equipment. Further consultation with Chris Morshead, Manager and Curator at the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum (RADRM) at Neatishead, and John Welton, Historian for ‘Spirit of Coltishall Association’, provided valuable additional evidence for similarly sized and located circular compounds or possible ‘alignment rings’ still in situ around equipment at other sites, for example at RAF Marham. The Precision Approach Radar (PAR) often served multiple airstrips and the encircling ring may have allowed for rapid realignment of the radar equipment to create precise measurements for whichever runway was being used. The ring ditch visible as a vegetation mark in 2006 must relate to a PAR realignment ring or associated circular compound dating to the use of the equipment during the relatively recent past, but not in situ on any of the available aerial photographs.
S. Horlock (HES), 31 December 2012.

Monument Types

  • RING DITCH (Cold War - 1945 AD to 1992 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Infoterra and Bluesky Ltd. 2006. Infoterra Ltd and Bluesky 01-JUL-2006 (Google Earth TGTG 2658 2280).

Related records

7697Part of: RAF Coltishall (Monument)
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