Thursday 19 July 2012

Mount Wise Redoubt

Site Visited - June 2009

You don't have to look far to find remains of Plymouth's rich military history, & the Mount Wise area of Devonport is no exception. Contained within the defensive walls known as the 'Devonport Dock Lines', a series of gun batteries & a redoubt were constructed on the high ridge overlooking the entrance to the Hamoaze with the aim of protecting the dockyard. Further military installations built over the years included barracks, a laboratory, tunnels & even a Cold War nuclear bunker, all of which will feature in forthcoming visits.

For now, we will concentrate on the Mount Wise Redoubt, once an important part of the Plymouth defences, now forming part of a public space overlooking the swimming pools below. Built in the 1770's & octagonal in shape, it's armament consisted of eight 32 pounder guns & two 10 inch mortars, changing in 1850 to three 10 inch guns. Remodelling took place some years later & in 1885, three 64 pounder RML's were mounted & stayed in place until 1895. Also situated within the redoubt from 1806 was a Signalling Station, the last in a chain of 32 which were installed between London & Plymouth, & was used by the Admiralty to pass semaphore signals on to ships moored in Plymouth Sound. This was replaced in 1852 by the telegraph, & remained in operation until the 1930's. World War II saw a newer defensive use with barrage balloons being moored onsite to deter low-flying German aircraft. Demolition of all above ground buildings took place in the 1960's, & in 1998, a 40 metre high mast was erected with a 360˚ viewing platform, history board & plaques, which thankfully have suffered little vandalism over the years.

View of Mount Wise Redoubt from the former top secret Maritime HQ Bunker

Dusk at the Redoubt

Defensive wall of the Redoubt

Looking toward Royal William Yard & beyond from the modern viewing platform

Relics of the original military uses can still be found today within the Redoubt including racer rails for the guns, barrage balloon anchoring points, ammunition recesses & rope rings for manoeuvring the heavy guns. 

Relics & signs of the Redoubt's intended uses

View from the roof of the former MHQ Cold War bunker

The view from Richmond Walk

Today the Redoubt is now a place for the public to enjoy providing an ideal location for picnics, lovely walks or watching the Navy ships leave & return to Devonport. Make sure you read the information boards onsite if you plan a visit & if dog walking, please be considerate & use the bins provided to help keep this scenic area pleasant for visitors.


  1. Have you been in / under there? In the "extension"?

    1. We certainly have Matthew, probably my favourite piece of WWII history in Plymouth.

  2. Can anyone find pics of mountwise park from back then ive searched everywhere????