Derelict Fort - Kent

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Hotspur73

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Hi, first time posting here so please be kind! Also, apologies for not having the best quality photos, as the site was only accessible by kayak after a vigorous 25-minute paddle across tidal waters, I did not feel brave enough to take my nice camera.

The history – this is a military fort built in 1870 on a tiny island in the middle of the River Medway which formed part of Britain’s extensive coastal defence system upgrade in the 19th Century, known as “Palmerston’s Forts” named after the Prime Minster who commissioned them in 1859 (or less politely as Palmerston’s Follies given the large amount of money spent on them). The fort was a circular, casemated battery, set within a large ditch and outer glacis which held 11 cannons and had a garrison of 100 men. The fort was never used in anger and was completely abandoned after WW2 during which it was used as a observation post. Since then, the fort has been left alone and as such is wonderfully preserved.

As the fort is on its own island, it is only accessible by boat. The island is surrounded by a number of sunken barges which makes access trickier, but much more fun.
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Access into the fort used to be thorugh the main gate, but since the fort was abandoned, the ditch has become flooded and the main gate is now only accessible at certain tidal times. I was able to paddle underneath the rusting portcullis by laying completely flat in my kayak.
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Once inside, the bottom layer of the fort, which were the living quarters, storage and the magazine areas, are partially submerged.
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The main level of the fort is not flooded, and this is where the gun ports for the cannons are. This is still nicely preserved, with hooks for lifting, trails for aiming cannons, chutes linking the cannons to the magazines underneath (see left side of photos below) and fireplaces. Finally, the top level of the fort is the roof, from which you can look down into the rest of the fort.

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Hope these photos are of interest

Hi Blackie,
Thanks for a great write up about the ‘follie’.....great pics to show and share what a treasure of a place.
Would never have known about this gem of history which is in remarkable condition.
Thanks Derelict Places. 👍
 

Natters5

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Whilst Darnet was not used in either world war other than as an observation point Hoo was quite busy as a Naval Munitions store. When ships came into Chatham for repair they off loaded the stuff that goes bang at Hoo or Chattenden on the mainland. Not a good idea to have explosives on board with a load of guys using cutting and welding torches. The Munitions dump was on the island behind the fort not in the for itself.
 

blackie

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I knows it was one them just couldn’t remember 😅 I can see them from local park I live near lol
It is Darnet - sorry, I should have said that in the title. They are both near identical, though Darnet is now part flooded whereas as Hoo is actually dry inside so they give a very different experience for looking around!
 

Foxylady

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Wow, that's a fabulous place and lovely photos. Amazing explore with the kayak; I've only been kayaking once and I absolutely loved it but I don't think I fancy going across that stretch of water. Good stuff. :)
 

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