Stop 14 - Kete


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STOP 14
Kete
 
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SM 800 038

Stop 14: (810 m) Gate entering National Trust land (Kete)

The gate into National Trust land at Kete

As you walk along the next kilometre or so of Coast Path, it is difficult to believe that the fields to your right once contained over a hundred huts and other buildings, with many hundreds of working Service personnel. Today the only evidence of all this activity are lumps of brick and concrete beside the path, and inland some concrete roadways and a single remaining hut in Kete village, now used as a farm building.

The first military station here was RAF Kete, which opened early during World War Two. Kete was not an airfield, but a Chain Home Low (CHL) radar station, with the role of tracking low-flying enemy aircraft, and training radar technicians and Fighter Direction Officers.

One remaining Kete building - a radar hut, now a farm building
One remaining Kete building – a radar hut, now a farm building

In 1943 the control of Kete passed to the Royal Navy, and it became HMS Goldcrest 2 (Goldcrest 1 was Dale airfield – see Stop 17a). In 1948 it was commissioned as HMS Harrier, a Royal Navy Fighter Direction School and School of Meteorology. At its peak, the huts of HMS Harrier provided accommodation, classrooms and offices for over 1500 sailors, ‘wrens’ and civilians employees.

HMS Harrier closed in 1960. Afterwards the derelict buildings were cleared (apparently by bulldozing them, judging by the heaps of building material piled up in banks around the site!) The freehold of Kete was passed to the National Trust in 1967.

The rubble banks at Kete

You will have a longish walk of over a kilometre before the next stop, at the end of the National Trust land. All along this stretch you can see the bulldozed remains from Kete/Goldcrest/Harrier buildings, now covered by grasses and other flowering plants.

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