Sunday 10 March 2013

Crownhill Fort Open Weekend March 2013

Crownhill Fort held it's first Open Weekend in three years, staged over the weekend of March 8-10th & I made the most of this rare occurrence by attending the Saturday where the weather was thankfully kind for a change. I for one really hope the Landmark Trust build on from this with more weekend events, with a much needed historic military attraction that will bring in tourism & help boost the local economy. I'm still can't figure out why Plymouth doesn't make more fuss over it's military heritage, after all it's part of the fabric & history of this amazing City, communities have been built around it for the past 150 years. What was once green fields surrounding this massive fortification, is now enveloped in urbanised areas with cannons now overlooking McDonalds - imagine telling a soldier from the time that in the future, his clear line of fire would be replaced with a fast food joint!

Re-enactors had travelled from as far as Leicester & Portsmouth to give some amazing displays with skirmishes on the ramparts & cannon firings that certainly woke the neighbours. Half hour tunnel tours had all ages excited learning the meaning behind terms such as 'musketry gallery' & 'caponiers', with the most impressive close-up display of the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers firing the cannon inside the lower section of the North Caponier whilst riflemen fired from the musket holes. Cornwall Military Vehicle Trust was on display in the parade ground with an impressive array of military vehicles, & if you have ever visited the Military Weekends at Mount Edgcumbe, you are sure to be familiar with this great bunch of people keeping history well & truly live.

Crownhill Fort is the best preserved Palmerston Fort & part of Plymouth's Northern Line of Defences which also include Woodland & Agaton Forts. It's modern use houses a range of businesses & also offers a fantastic venue for events such as weddings. I was pleased to see the Devonport Field Gun now reside here after losing their home in South Yard & learnt from a passionate chap called Dave about the interaction with more schools, keeping this competitive sport alive. The team who make the Fort tick have a real passion for keeping the history alive as could be witnessed on the guided tours from Fort Manager, Ed. A huge conservation programme has been ongoing at the fort for the past 3 years involving helicopters in the assistance of moving trees from the surrounding moat.  The day wasn't as busy as I thought it could be, so be sure to keep an eye out for future dates as local events like this need your support & I guarantee you will have a fun packed day, even if you're not that into your history, it makes for an ideal day out for all the family!

Until next time....the night guard watch over the Fort.

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