Shornmead Fort

During the Napoleanic wars there was a Battery of four guns at Shornmead. In 1847 a 13 gun fort with smooth bore cannons was constructed,it was completed by 1853 after delays and problems due to the marshy ground it was built on unsuitable for large structures. In 1859 it was seen as unfit and would probably be insufficent against an enemy attack,so the fort had to be completely rebuilt.

The new fort would be in a D shape with the curved side to contain fourteen heavy armoured casemates and open emplacements housing rifle muzzle loading guns (RML's) with the rear of the fort consisting of defensible barracks and administrative buildings.

A report of 1886 sayes the fort was armed with 11 x 11 inch RML's in the casemates and 3 x 9 inch in an open Battery. Later two 6 pdr Quick firing (QF)  guns were provided for the defence of a fixed minefield.

In 1901 the fort was still armed with the 11 inch guns,but by 1904 the fort had been disarmed and was only being used as barrack accomodation.

In 1940 two 5.5 inch guns were installed in new emplacements just to the east of the fort,this was an anti-invasion emergency battery. The fort was only used as a practice area for the Royal engineers demolition school from WWII to the 1960's,much of the barracks and rear sections of the casemates were destroyed as a result.

Today the granite facing blocks in the facade and armoured shields in the front section of the fort still survive. Also the open emplacements still survive,but the emergency battery to the east has now gone. The magazines are flooded but can be entered "with extreme care" and waders.

The Fort is open access and can be explored. It lies on the banks of the River Thames,East of Gravesend and North of Lower Higham.

There is a small walk from the nearest parking place.