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Posted on Nov 8, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Palmerston Forts – Part 2 – Fort Widley

Armchair General

Entrance to Fort Widley is made via two main gates. These gates are at the Southern Edge of the Fort and are accessed by large rampways leading up to their raised positions. As the second picture amply demonstrates, the shoulders of the Fort see the ground level drop and we will see why later.

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Partly restored, tours of Widley are available during the weekends of the Summer months. From outside however, the view through the gates reveals little about the internal construction of the Fort. Although I did find an interesting vehicle as you can see here.


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Here we see the Eastern "shoulder" of the Southern face of the Fort descending and forming the entrance to a defensive ditch which runs around the Northern, Eastern and Western flanks of the building. In the centre of the Southern face there is an open area containing many windows beneath the ramparts. The Southern face of the Fort is the most visible one, with all other sides camouflaged by earth and grass or set within the defensive ditch.

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Here we can see the centre of the Southern face of Fort Widley. This if the side of the Fort overlooking the City, marked by the presence of a large cannon.

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This is a 9-inch R.M.L. Armstrong-Fraser gun weighing 12 tons and introduced in 1868. This was one of the first heavy rifled muzzle-loading guns to see service and was built from sections of wrought iron.


Here’s the second of the two entrance gates. This is the Westerly gate, inside which is an equestrian centre.

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Unlike Fort Brockhurst, Fort Widley has a dry-ditch. There is no moat, and this allows us to see the defensive features more closely. In the next article in this series we will be able to see these mighty defences from within an almost identical Fort.

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