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Report - Cliffe fort, Kent - May 2014

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Pinkman, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    Cliffe Fort is a Royal Commission fort built in the 1860s on the edge of the Cliffe marshes on the Hoo Peninsula in north Kent, England to protect against invasion via the river Thames. It is opposite Coalhouse Fort in Essex: they are 2 km apart. Construction was difficult due to the marshy ground and the malaria-carrying mosquitos. It was armed with 12.5-inch 38-ton and 11-inch 25-ton rifled muzzle-loading guns. Protection of these guns was provided bygranite-faced casemates with shields for added defence. The shields, casemates and the rails on which the gun carriages stood are all still visible today.

    A Brennan Torpedo station was added in 1890. This was a wire-guided torpedo used for harbour defence: the launching rails are still visible at low water. It was replaced around 1910 with quick firing guns. The fort was armed in World War I and was used as an anti-aircraft battery in World War II. (from Wikipedia)

    The Trip

    Me & Vixxie began our journey with a drive out from our London digs to the Cliffe marshes near Gravesend. At this point in time we were very green to the whole Urbex thing, & the only reason we were there was through an indescribable love for abandoned spaces & the fact that I had stumbled across this place by accident a few years ago. I used to live around the area & was always curious about it.

    After a quick stop at the local convenience store for some much needed liquid provisions, we pressed on to the start location, kindly pointed out by my Nav. We pulled up & made our way across the marshes, & as we were drawing closer we were getting increasingly excited about the prospect of cracking this place. We had tried it before earlier this year, but it was cut short as the sun went down & we didn’t think it wise to clamber around a decaying site in the dark.

    We approached the site from the usual place, & access was rather simple (the helping hands are much appreciated!). We made our way across the roof level, proceeding counter clockwise from the entry point. It became a little precarious as we neared the first corner, due to the narrow wall & the 40ft drop down one side. Which wasn’t an easy obstacle to navigate after a few Lech, & the drain holes were making it all the more difficult. After huddle-waddling our way around, we eventually made it across to the first of the AA gun observation towers.

    Soon after we had exhausted our findings on the top level, & decided it was time to venture to the lower level. This was where is started to get interesting, as we explored the older Napoleonic sections. Down here there were quite a few nice details, like the large vaulted ceilings & the casemates with the recoil arms for the guns. We had a good nosey around these spaces for a good while, before the sun eventually died down & we were forced to retreat.

    Here are some shots

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    Conclusion

    Cliffe fort is certainly an interesting place to explore, but I guess it isn’t for everyone. Given that it is a fair way out from London, a fair few would be put off. It doesn’t have as many of the fine details that you would find in more modern sites. But what makes it worthwhile is seeing the different time periods all sat on top of one another. With the Napoleonic era sat at the bottom, & the WW1 & WW2 adaptations sat on top, it is a clear depiction of how the site was reshaped to fit the purpose for each war. What I find particularly nice is how quickly nature is reclaiming this once inhabited space. That for me is part of the wonder & allure that draws me to these derelict places.

    Apologies for the shoddy quality on some of the pics, we arrived at the site by the early evening. I was using the camera on my I-phone, which can take some pretty good shots in good light, but is piss poor in low light conditions. Also this was our first major explore, so we were understandably caught up with seeing the site rather than documenting it.

    Credits as always go to my partner in crime Vixxie, who’s wise cracks & balls out attitude make our trips even more entertaining :)

    Pinkman
     
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  2. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    I quite like this. Looks fucked though
     
  3. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
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    Good report and some nice pictures mate :thumb
     
  4. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah it's a pretty cool place to visit, a nice countryside walk to get there too.
    Not everyone's cup of tea but it's right up my street for sure.
     
  5. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks Canute, much appreciated :D
     
  6. Vixxie

    Vixxie 28DL Regular User
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    Don't know if it's just me, but seems like pictures expired from photo bucket..
     
  7. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    i see no pictors either
     
  8. JaneEyre

    JaneEyre The clumsiest explorer in Yorkshire!
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    Me neither, just a message about photobucket bandwidth
    :confused
     
  9. Vixxie

    Vixxie 28DL Regular User
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    He needs to re-upload.
     
  10. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    It's Photo-fuckit, exceeded my bandwidth. I'll host somewhere else & get it fixed.
     
  11. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    i pay for pro or whatever photfuckit calls it few quid a month and comes out DD ..job done
     
  12. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    Nice pics :)
     
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