Posted: 19 March 2006 23:53
As the sun was shining all morning I decided to jump on my bike after lunch and get some exercise while taking in some anti-invasion defences in the locality; see my blog of 10 March.
It took me about 20 minutes to reach Rickney, which is little more than a cluster of a few dwellings and a farm beside a small bridge over a water course known as Pevensey Haven.
As you approach from the west, the farm buildings are on both sides of the road, as are concrete blocks of various types. At extreme left in the photograph above is an anti-tank "dragon's tooth"; in front of the first building on the right is a row of three small "pimples", with a set of three conical road blocks on the opposite side.
These pimples (a fourth is situated on the verge several metres further down the road) may or may not be in their original positions; roadblocks were usually several obstacles deep, and these small blocks might have been used at the edge of the road to fill a small gap.
However, the angle of the central one possibly indicates that they have been relocated to the roadside to keep vehicles off the verge and away from the building.
The three conical blocks (seen here from the opposite direction) are temporary road blocks.
A hole in the top of the block allowed a short length of metal pole to be inserted so the block could be levered onto its bottom edge; with one man on the pole and two or three pushing, the block could be rolled on its rim into position on the road.
This roadblock is effectively still in a state of readiness!
Two steel loops embedded into the top allowed the blocks to be lifted by crane.
I don't know what the concial blocks are officially known as; this photo I took back in September 2004 perhaps suggests the name "goose pimples"...
One thing I love about cycling around rural Sussex are scenes like these, where flocks of geese wander across country lanes; it starts Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves playing in my head. The current bird 'flu scare has probably confined these birds to barracks, but it wouldn't be the first time an army of goose-steppers has been prevented from traversing England's green and pleasant land...
A few yards further down the lane is Rickney Bridge; on the left side of the road are three more dragon's teeth (the third is to the right, out of shot.)
This group of defences is listed in Henry Wills' 1985 book Pillboxes: a Study of U.K. Defences 1940, where 13 anti-tank blocks are recorded; I counted only 11, so perhaps the missing two are hidden in undergrowth.
Inexplicably, the group was not recorded by the Defence of Britain Project in their database.
It's nearly midnight, I'm rather tired and there's still more to write, so I'll continue this tomorrow.
To finish with, a photograph of me on the far bank of Pevensey Haven, checking the map and planning my next move.
Don't be fooled by the blue sky and bright sunshine; a freezing cold gale was blowing and I forgot to take some gloves with me!
A large project run by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) 1995-2002, collecting data on 20th century military structures submitted by a team of some 600 volunteers. The result was a database of nearly 20,000 records which is available online. The anti-invasion section of the database contains nearly 500 entries for East Sussex.
Generic term for a hardened field defensive structure usually constructed from concrete and/or masonry. Pillboxes were built in numerous types and variants depending on location and role.
Small anti-tank block in the form of a truncated pyramid. Pimples were used to extend anti-tank obstacles and roadblocks and were intended for use on soft ground.
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Hibbs, Peter Rickney Roadblock (2019) Available at: http://wwww.pillbox.org.uk/blog/216492/ Accessed: 21 April 2019
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