History of the Fort


Step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of Whitsand Bay Fort.

Situated on the grounds of a coastal fort

Whitsand Bay Fort gives you the chance to step back in time to a different age. As our name suggests, we are situated on the grounds of a coastal fort that was built to help see off a potential attack from the French Navy during the ‘Napoleonic’ age. In operation with different Regiments of the Royal Artillery for over 65 years.

The fort has 5 major gun emplacements, all facing seawards with underground ammunition rooms, some of which are still buried.

The original glacis is is still visible as are several tunnels, Caponiers and revetment walls around the dry moat.

The fort became an important early Radar Station, protecting Plymouth’s western flank, and the original housing standing on the highest peak of the entire Rame Peninsula, is now a popular holiday cottage.

Researchers have recently repaired the Victorian lifts back in to working order, and further works and research is ongoing. Four of the five vaulted rooms in the restaurant and bars have been exposed and restored to their former glory.

The 19th century map designs have been recently recovered , and are on display in The Heritage Centre

The practice battery has been uncovered, and is undergoing further archaeological studies.We are steeped in military history

We are proud to say that we have teamed with English Heritage to preserve this fantastic piece of history so that our guests are also able to get a true insight of the inner workings of a fort with much of the original features still on view today.

The gun emplacements remain today very much as they were 100 years ago. The recesses either side of the guns provided protection and housed the ammunition lifts. Like many forts built at that time, you’ll find a labyrinth of tunnels within the grounds, many of which are open for you to be able to explore.

We have endevoured to, where it has been feasible to restore elements of our buildings to its original state. This provides guests with a unique contrast of fantastic modern day facilities within buildings that clearly have a fantastic story to tell from their previous lives.

Elements of the Fort have been restored over the last few years, which is still ongoing, as is research into its colourful past. Access to the very special, and rare ammunition, and shell rooms, and the lifts, are arranged via our regular tours.Hidden Heritage

An independent local charity who are based at the fort, have a remit to educate, research and showcase the rich maritime, industrial and military history of the Rame Peninsula. Regular events are hosted here, and around the area using escorted tours, re-enactment groups and local historians.It’s not all serious!

Regular ghost hunting tours, are booked throughout the year,which take you into the less well visited elements of the fort.Smuggling on Whitsand Bay

The peninsula itself has a long and interesting history. Whitsand Bay was the smugglers landing place of choice.

Local smugglers from Kingsand and Cawsand, Looe and Polperro, often landed their contraband immediately below us here, as the shallow sandy beaches, and the remote location at the time, made it a favorite landing place of choice, prior to the goods being taken inland.

Tales of skirmishes with the Revenue men are told to this day