Report (Permission Visit) - Maunsell Forts (Red Sands Fort) - Thames Estuary - July 2014 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Maunsell Forts (Red Sands Fort) - Thames Estuary - July 2014


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The Maunsell Forts were small fortified towers built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during the Second World War to help defend the United Kingdom. They were operated as army and navy forts, and named after their designer, Guy Maunsell.[1] The forts were decommissioned in the late 1950s and later used for other activities including pirate radio broadcasting.

One of the forts is managed by the unrecognised Principality of Sealand; boats visit the remaining forts occasionally, and a consortium called Project Redsands is planning to conserve the fort situated at Red Sands. In the summers of 2007 and 2008 Red Sands Radio, a station commemorating the pirate radio stations of the 1960s, operated from the Red Sands fort on 28-day Restricted Service Licences. The fort was subsequently declared unsafe, and Red Sands Radio has moved its operations ashore to Whitstable.

Red Sands Fort - There are 7 forts in the Red Sands group, at the mouth of the Thames Estuary. These forts were previously connected by metal grate walk-ways.


I'd been waiting for months to get a call from a boat owner, willing to let me tag along on a trip out to the forts. Project Red Sand had space on their boat, so on a very early Saturday morning, we set off.

Floors are wafer thin metal in parts, walkways feel dodgy, there's seagull shit all over the roof, and the sea erodes a little more every day. It really does feel like the sea wants to take the fort down, which is a shame considering the historic value they have.

It's a long day out there. Because of the tide going out in the morning and then not coming back in again until the evening, we were on there for about ten hours getting a nice bit of facial sunburn. Water, food and a good book are ideal if you can't fill ten hours with taking photos. I didn't think I'd get any after my memory card packed up 30 minutes after boarding, but thankfully I squeezed some more life out of it. I now carry a spare...

Wind farm on the horizon.

Approaching the fort.

On the roof.

Ammunition storage

Eroded walkway.

The one internal room that I found of any real interest. The old stove was a cracker.

Wherever man-made abandonment lies, it seems that nature can always take it back over time. The plants on the roof surprised me, but a butterfly 90 minutes out into the North Sea was incredible. When we left the fort that evening, it flew past us towards the mainland.

The footbridge to the other part of the fort, now longer usable.


Exterior Wall

Home time

A little (HD) video of the day that I put together.

I have an album link too if anybody would like it.
Last edited:

Idle Hands

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28DL Full Member
I really like this, cheers :thumb

Shame about your memory card - the pictures you got are very good.


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28DL Full Member
why has he got a gun in the video ?
To scare the pirates off (and possibly the seagulls).

Thanks, all! Glad you like the report. It's quite a magical place, especially as the boat approaches for the first time.


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28DL Full Member
Cracking report and video, I never tire of seeing this place.


Stay Safe
In the days before helicopters, it must have been a task and a half to lift a 3.7" AA Gun & Mount ~ Statistics say 20,541 pounds (9,317 kg) same goes for a lot of locations, but at sea must have been a challenge!

answers on a used twenty pound note LoL

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
Geeky wildlife reply...

The butterfly pictured is the Peacock (Aglais io). Don't be surprised that's it out to sea. Butterflies, just like birds, migrate across the seas. Whilst the peacock does overwinter in the UK some of the British Peakcocks are immigrants. Many species of butterfly seen in the UK in the summer do not overwinter at all in the UK and arrive via migration from the continent as the weather warms. The North Sea sees crossing of species such as the Clouded Yellow and the Painted Lady every year.

I know need to get out more. Just getting my coat now.
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