Built in the 1860s to protect Plymouth from attack, Crownhill Fort retains its tunnels, earth ramparts, parade ground and cannons.

Part of a Victorian fort building boom

In the 1860s it was decided to protect naval bases, such as Plymouth, from attack by land as well as by sea. A chain of forts was built, with Crownhill in the key position to the north of the city. It is now one of only two large forts of this kind in the country to remain in good condition.

From a distance, the fort blends with the hilltop, defended not by walls but by steep earth ramparts. These enfold the central parade ground, around which are handsome quarters for up to 300 men. For further protection, the buildings and many of the emplacements for 32 large guns have turf roofs, some restored by us.

Outside the ramparts is a deep dry ditch, 30 feet wide at the bottom, which could be covered by protective fire from a chemin de ronde and six three-storey covered defensive structures called Caponiers, reached from inside the Fort by tunnels. Since acquiring the fort in 1987 we have done major work to grounds, weaponry and buildings, many of which are now let to small businesses.

In 1995 the fort was opened to the public for the first time; and in 1998 it was once more armed with a Moncrieff Disappearing Gun, one of only two working examples in the world.

Officers’ Quarters

Crownhill fascinates the enthusiast and the novice alike. It is also a remarkably pleasant place to be. The Officers’ Quarters, in which you stay, face south. The kitchen has a large window and a commanding view of the comings and goings. Above all, you have free run of this spectacular structure of stone and earth.


Our Address:

Crownhill Fort, Crownhill Fort Road, Plymouth, PL6 5BX