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Report - Dover Western Heights - Various - August 2010

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by badwabbit, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. badwabbit

    badwabbit 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Dover - Western Heights

    This is gonna be a long one, so if you don't want to read, you can always just do the pictures! ;)

    "There's a ton of cool stuff in Dover". I'd heard this ever since I've started exploring, and everybody knows that Dover is full of tunnels - so I knew I was going to get down to Dover at some point. I'd kinda put off tackling it because of the enormity of stuff down there, but due to some errands down that way I found myself starting to explore - which turned into a mammoth five+ day schlep around the place, uncovering more and more interesting things.

    So what's here - well, we have the Castle itself, which though interesting I ignored as it's largely a tourist destination. Then we have all the Napoleonic fortifications, which are significant (well, it was to keep the French out!), and tunnels and structures related to these. Then we have the world war modifications, and new structures (barracks, batteries, magazines, underground facilities, grand shaft), deep shelters and more. (In the few miles stretch of coast here, we have at least five deep shelters, two plotting rooms, three coastal and channel defensive batteries, numerous anti-aircraft batteries - and a whole mess of tunnels!)

    History links: Wiki - Dover Western Heights

    So - Friday afternoon I had a few hours to kill so parked up in the National Trust car park and had a wander around. Almost straight away I found some interesting tunnels around the former barracks/prison site, and then wandered along the cliffs down to what turned out to be the Langdon Searchlights:

    [​IMG]
    1: Langdon Searchlights

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    2: Langdon Searchlights

    - Pics: More Landon Searchlights pics
    - Info: Langdon Searchlights
    - Info: Wiki - Langdon Searchlights

    Then back up top and found myself in "Langdon Hole" - awesome, some deep shelter action! Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared and didn't know exactly what or where I was looking for, and disappointingly didn't find the entrance. Still, my Dover explore had started - time to get on with the research.

    The following Friday I had to do another errand in the area, and again with a few hours to kill and a sat nav full of way points to explore, covered the St Martin's Battary area - found the chalk caves, a couple of interesting tunnel entrances which turned out to be the Archcliffe Cells and Galleries, St. Martin's Battery with an interesting closed tunnel entrance, down to the baracks and Grand Shaft, then up to the Drop Redoubt, the first of the large fortifications, before I had to leave.

    [​IMG]
    3: Drop Redoubt

    - Pics: More Drop Redoubt pics
    - Info: North Entrance
    - Info: Archcliffe Cells
    - Info: Archcliffe Galleries
    - Info: Drop Redoubt
    - Info: Drop Redoubt
    - Info: St. Martin's Battery
    - Info: Grand Shaft


    Back on Saturday, it was time to tackle the North Central Bastion, Detached Bastion and moats/ditches. While the Drop Redoubt is maintained, these ones are abandoned and overgrown and are from another world. I absolutely loved this place - it's like an abandonded Mayan temple in the jungle!

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    4: North Centre bastion from moat - the walls are massive

    [​IMG]
    5: Jungle is massive

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    6: Detached bastion casemates

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    7: Detached bastion tunnels

    - Pics: More Detached Bastion pics
    - Detached Bastion

    After I had entered the Detached Bastion and spent a few minutes taking pictures, I heard voices approaching and it turned out to be a bunch of guys from the Western Heights Preservation Society - so I put the camera away and hooked up with them for a semi-official unofficial tour of the rest of the interior of the Detached and North Central Bastion. These are the guys that have the *keys* to the Drop Redoubt, Grand Shaft etc. Great guys, and we had a fun time!

    - Info: Western Heights Preservation Society


    Sunday was also a fine day so I figured I'd head back there, my goals for today being to explore the rest of the Detached Bastion ditches, and then to do the stuff out the back on the long walk around the back of the Western Heights.

    So, back in the ditches, I went right to the end of the Detached Bastion ditch, which ended in a large moss-covered chalk wall. Hmm. Back around the other way, another ditch led off behind another ten-foot wall, which proved tricky being on my own with a large rucksack/tripod/camera gear etc - however, I managed it and found another entrance which I'd seen from the interior the previous evening - this also helped me map out where the interior of the Detached Bastion crosses through the moat and into the North Central Bastion.

    Ok, pressing on to do the long walk around the back. About twenty minutes in, I see a bunch of tourists and - yes, the same WHPS guys from yesterday again - and once again, as they were doing the same route as I intended, I joined up with them on the long walk taking in most of the accessible features - but not the North/South Casemates, which they didn't seem to know about. Found some interesting access points to the rooms/magazines underneath the Citadel Battery. We are definitely hooking up again in the future with some interesting explores on the cards.

    [​IMG]
    8: Citadel Battery

    - Pics: More Citadel pics
    - Info: Citadel
    - Info: Citadel
    - Info: Citadel
    - Info: Citadel Battery


    Back to the car, and after that long walk and tour finished and they left, I decided I'd do the *complete walk around the Western Heights again*, only this time with the goal to find the Southern Casemates. This proved tricky due to the massively overgrown hillsides, and I did a heckuva lot of climbing up, down, around, navigating around innaccessible bushes, over tricky fences, and nearly completely exhausted myself. It's also pretty dangerous up there because you are climbing high up on very steep, overgrown terrain, with the 60+ foot drops into the various moats/ditches all around just feet away and you cannot see where the edges are. Freaky. I did get my first glimpse at the Southern Casemates from over the other side of the Southern Ditch (yay!), but didn't get close to an access (boo!).

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    9: Southern Casemates

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    10: Danger: Footballers

    [​IMG]
    11: Steep + drops...

    [​IMG]
    12: ...and hard to find edges

    That was enough for that day.

    Continues in part 2...
     

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