Bulbarrow Radar Station is a GEE Station. It operated during World War II and into the Cold War era, even today the MOD still own the site though it is no longer operational. There are some great photos available here:
This system is described on Wikipedia:
‘GEE or AMES Type 7000 was a British radio navigation system used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. GEE was designed to improve aircraft navigation accuracy, thereby increasing the destructiveness of raids by Avro Lancasters and various other bombers.
GEE was devised by Robert Dippy and developed at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Swanage. Dippy later went to the United States where he worked on the development of the LORAN system, a system that was similar to GEE but using a longer wavelength. LORAN was used by the US Navy and Royal Navy during World War II, and after the war came into common civilian use worldwide for coastal navigation, until GPS made it obsolete.’
The US Air Force obtained Bulbarrow Hill along with Golden Pot near Alton, Hants, Dean Hill near Salisbury and Portland Bill where facilities were available. These facilities provided the necessary microwave link relay stations with the
Ringstead-Gorramendi stations. These included the High Wycombe Atomic Joint Co-ordination Centre which had a direct connection to US nuclear forces straddling the Mediterranean in Spain, Morocco, Wheelus Field near Tripoli in Libya, and further east.
Wikipedia describes Bulbarrow Hill:
‘Bulbarrow Hill is a 274 metre (900 feet) hill near Woolland, five miles west of Blandford Forum and ten miles (16 km) north of Dorchester in Dorset, England. The chalk hill is part of the scarp of Dorset Downs, which form the western end of the Southern England Chalk Formation. Part of the hill is used for arable agriculture, but most is calcareous grassland. The hill overlooks the Blackmore Vale, and offers views of Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon.
Rawlsbury Camp, a five acre Iron Age hill fort, is situated on a promontory of the hill. Little remains of the camp except the twin embankments and intermediate ditch which surrounded it. The hill gets its name from the several barrows, or burial mounds, that adorn the hill. Additionally, a medieval trackway crosses the ridge. A more recent addition is the twin radio transmitter towers used by the emergency services.
The hill is a popular launch site for paragliders.
On 13 February 1969, a Gloster Meteor T7, number WL350, crashed on Bulbarrow Hill (Grid 805068). Both pilots, R Woolley and Flight Lieutenant RV Patchett, were killed. The cause of the crash has never been established. Two local men, John Tory and Donovan Browning, received bravery awards for risking their lives trying to save the pilots.
The TV presenter Jack Hargreaves who died in 1994 had his ashes spread on Bulbarrow Hill above Raven Cottage.
In popular culture
The British band, Half Man Half Biscuit, refer to Bulbarrow Hill in the track, Third Track Main Camera Four Minutes, taken from their 2000 album Trouble Over Bridgwater, in which the narrator bemoans the increasing popularity of 'trendy' holiday destinations such as Cuba and Iceland, saying 'I’d much rather go down to Dorset, with its wonderful Bulbarrow Hill'.’
There is an interesting Daily Echo article about ‘Richard’s North Dorset shack site’ on Bulbarrow Hill here:
‘Richard’s North Dorset shack site worth £1m – but he won’t sell!
2:00pm Saturday 19th June 2010
A MAN who paid £30,000 for a shack on top of a hill says he has seen it shoot up in value to £1 million – but he is refusing to sell.
Richard Hayward, 59, moved onto the site that consisted of a run-down wood yard and some World War Two Nissen huts in 1970. In 1991 he got the opportunity to buy the land he had been renting and splashed out £30,000.
But now, after winning planning permission to build a bungalow, he says the two acre site at Bulbarrow Hill near Blandford, is worth 33 times what he paid for it.
Mr Hayward runs the saw mill there with his two grown up sons. The wooden tumbledown shack that is his home has electricity and a well is used to draw water.
But despite the value of the land he lives and works on, he couldn’t bear the place to change.
He said: “We paid just under £30,000 for the two acres to include the old wartime radar station, the NAAFI building and the ancillary buildings plus the right to cut wood in another 20 acres.
“Soon after we got planning permission to build a bungalow on the site we were offered over £500,000 for the freehold but there is no way we would sell.
“Today £1m would be nearer the value but I still wouldn’t want to move.
“I couldn’t bear to see the site destroyed with the old buildings demolished and the wildlife disturbed.”
Mr Hayward moved his young family onto the rented land in 1970 despite there being no proper living accommodation at the time. He worked off the land, cutting and axing logs and producing fences and rails for local farmers and pit props for mines.
After marrying his second wife Barbara in 1985 he was offered the chance to by the land and the ancillary wartime buildings in 1991.
He added: “We were granted planning permission a few years ago to replace the shack with a modern bungalow but soon after that Barbara succumbed to cancer and I was left alone.
“Within days of getting planning permission offers to buy poured out of the mail sack. The money that was bandied about was ridiculous.” '