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Fort Amherst

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published July 3rd 2012
fort amherst, chatham dockyards, chatham, rochester, kent, navy
One of Many Cannon Batteries at Fort Amherst


In the mid 1500's, England needed to be ready for war with her European neighbours, and a strong navy was essential to this.

Chatham Dockyards in Kent steadily grew in size and importance as a shipbuilding centre at this time, and soon it became necessary to have adequate defences for the dockyards in case of attack.

fort amherst, chatham dockyards, chatham, rochester, kent, navy
Concealed Cannon Overlooking River Medway


Despite the best efforts of defenders at Upnor Castle downstream the Dutch were able to successfully attack Chatham Dockyards in 1667, so major fortifications were built in 1755 at Fort Amherst. These initially consisted of a 9m wide ditch and a 3m parapet, with 34 canons providing substantial defence capability.

fort amherst, chatham dockyards, chatham, rochester, kent, navy
Barrier Ditch for Cannons to Fire Along


Fort Amherst also included many underground tunnels which were used to store and move munitions and defenders. The Fort is believed to be the most complete Napoleonic fortification in Britain, and was in use almost continuously for defence until the end of the second World War.

fort amherst, chatham dockyards, chatham, rochester, kent, navy
World War 2 Artifacts in Tunnels


After hundreds of years service, the defences have now been made redundant by technological advances. But you can relive their importance on a guided tour, or just stroll though the grounds and contemplate how life would have been for the defenders of this important site in the 1700's

And for paranormal believers, there's the additional attraction of monthly ghost tours held in the tunnels at night.

fort amherst, chatham dockyards, chatham, rochester, kent, navy
Commanding Medway Views from Fort Amherst
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Why? Because forts are fun. And ghosts are ghastly.
When: The grounds of Fort Amherst are open 7 days from dawn to dusk. Cafe and Visitor Centre open daily from 10am to 4pm
Phone: 01634 847747
Where: Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4UB
Cost: Grounds: free of charge
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