Route: Portsmouth Harbour Defences (United Kingdom)

Submitted by lou2794 on Sun, 03/14/2021 - 12:23pm
United Kingdom
64.8 km
Vertical Gain
292 m

Portsmouth Harbour Defences

This route begins at the Gosport ferry Terminal and follows the route of the Portsmouth Harbour Defences and finishes at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Portsmouth Harbour is defended from all 4 directions by castles, forts and military lines as it has been a strategically important port for thousands of years (the Romans had a major military base in Portchester). This largely circular loop follows these defences. Not all fortifications still exist or are accessible to the public.

Gosport Forts - Were built to prevent an enemy force landing along the coast and approaching Portsmouth from inland, and had their main weaponry facing away from Portsmouth.

  • James Fort – No longer exists
  • Charles Fort – No longer exists
  • Fort Blockhouse
  • Fort Monckton
  • Fort Gilkicker
  • Stokes Bay Lines
  • Browndown Battery
  • Fort Gomer – No longer exists, now a housing estate
  • Fort Grange
  • Fort Rowner
  • Fort Brockhurst
  • Fort Elson – Not accessible
  • Fort Fareham – Industrial estate

Portsdown Hill Forts - These forts are located along Portsdown Hill overlooking Portsmouth. The forts were intended to prevent a hostile force landing further along the coast, approaching Portsmouth from the mainland. As such, the forts are designed so that all of their main weapons face inland, protecting Portsmouth from the rest of England.

  • Fort Wallington

Portchester Castle – Not one of The Portsdown Hill Forts but the route passes Portchester Castle next.  The Romans built a huge fort here and after the Norman conquest a Castle was built into one corner of the fort which grew into a royal residence.

Portsdown Hill Forts cont.

  • Fort Nelson
  • Fort Southwick
  • Fort Widley
  • Fort Purbrook
  • Crookhorn Redoubt – No longer exists, route passes its likely location
  • Farlington Redoubt – No longer exists

Portsea Island Forts - These forts are situated on Portsea Island, the low-lying island on which most of the city of Portsmouth is located.

  • Hilsea Lines
  • Fort Cumberland – Not accessible to the public
  • Eastney Batteries
  • Lumps Fort
  • Southsea Castle
  • Round and Square tower
  • Point Battery

Solent Forts - These man-made island forts were originally built to protect the eastern approaches to Portsmouth Harbour from attack by enemy forces. These are all at sea so not accessible on foot, the route passes them along the seafront and 3 of the 4 are visible during clear weather

  • Spitbank Fort (at sea)
  • Horse Sand Fort (at sea)
  • No Man's Land Fort (at sea)
  • St Helens Fort (at sea – not visible)

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. - The route finishes at Victory Gate which is the main entrance of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and The Mary Rose.

A ferry crossing is available from The Hard (close to the Historic Dockyard) and Gosport linking the start and finish points.



GPS Track