Crownhill Fort, Plymouth

October / November 2012

Crownhill Fort was built in the 1860s to protect the Plymouth Naval Bases. It was used by The War Department / Ministry of Defence until 1987, when it was sold to Landmark Trust.

They have worked to restore it to the way it looked in Victorian times. The Fort has a number of working guns, including the world's only example of a working Moncrief Disappearing Gun.


The Fort is equipped with guns from it's history.  Although it never fired a shot in anger, the Fort was an important piece in the defence of the country.

It was primarily designed to counter a land attack from the rear on the naval bases in plymouth, and formed a part of the ring of defences known as "The Palmerston Forts". The naval bases of the time were well-defended seaward, but open to attack from the rear.  As a result the guns at the Fort are facing inland.

To enable quick, safe movement around the Fort in the event of attack strategic parts were linked by tunnels and exterior walkways where troops would be protected from enemy fire.  Guns were placed on three levels, and arranged such that their fire covered the Fort's dry moat.
The Fort has a museum displaying military artefacts from the 19th and 20th century.

The Fort has had the Officers Quarters converted into holiday accommodation.  This attempts to retain many features of the original building.

The building, like many on the site, was made blast-proof by covering the roof with soil several feet thick