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Solent Way ~ Hill Head to Gilkicker Point

Getting closer.


Solent Waters...the Portsmouth to Isle of Wight ferry ploughs its familiar course to the island...


...entering the Solent the chemical and oil tanker Travestern, passing its stern is the Southsea to Ryde hovercraft ferry.


No Mans Land Fort ~ The construction of the three Palmerston Forts started in the mid-19th century. Spit Sand also known as Spit Bank Fort, Horse Sand, No Mans Land and St Helen's Forts were designed to prevent warships from bombarding Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. The forts saw little or no action even during both world wars, by 1942 they were put into a state of care and maintenance, and completely de-activated at the end of the war and put up for sale in 1963, athough I believe Horse Sand Fort was taken off the market and retained by the Ministry of Defence.


Spit Sand Fort.


Dominating the skyline for miles around the 170 metre Spinnaker Tower. Located on the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth Harbour, it's said to offer amazing panoramic views of the harbour, the south coast and the Isle of Wight, with views stretching up to 23 miles. Something I shan't be confirming. In the foreground members of Gosport and Stokes Bay Golf Club.


Fort Gilkicker's giant granite casemates have been covered with earth since 1904, its hard to believe there's 1.5 acres of casemates and buildings behind the grass banks.


The fort was built between 1863 and 1871 to defend the deepwater anchorage at Stokes Bay. During its history the fort was modified on several occasions and the casemates strengthened against the increasly more powerful firepower. It was upgdated again in the late nineteenth century and re-armed during World War 1 to protect Portsmouth and again had a new lease of life during World War 2. After the war it fell into disuse and in 1986 was bought by Hampshire County Council. Although the fort is a Grade II Scheduled Ancient Monument and still belongs to the county council it's still in a disused state. There had been plans to convert it into private dwellings (heaven forbid), but so far nothing has materialised.


The main entrance, although there's no public access to the fort.




A good illustration of how the weather changes in the Solent. A short while before sunny and warm and now dark clouds, high winds with shafts of sun and somewhat chilly.



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All Photographs copyright David Packman © 2002 - 2009 (All Rights Reserved)