Neil Oliver visits Chapel Bay Fort in Milford Haven. The ex-military fort is owned by George Geear, who has spent more than ten years restoring it.
Browse content similar to Milford Haven. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Admiral Lord Nelson described Milford Haven
as one of the finest natural harbours in the world.
In its glory days,
this was the largest deep water port on the Atlantic.
The historic defences that ring the estuary
show how highly it was prized.
The military have now abandoned these coastal forts.
They've fallen into private hands
and they make an ideal spot for the security conscious.
Talk about taking things to the limit.
Look, VR 1891, Queen Victoria.
She didn't like to be taken by surprise either.
How do you get in here?
Hello the house.
-Hello, you must be Neil.
-Welcome to Chapel Bay Fort.
What a fantastic place!
George Geear bought his coastal fort 14 years ago.
Since then, he's devoted himself to restoring it to its former glory.
What about this brute, George?
What does this fire?
This is an 18-tonne 10-inch rifle muzzle loader,
fired a pointed armour-piercing Palliser projectile,
penetrating nearly a foot of armour plating from 1,000 yards.
This is the original gun put here in 1891.
If you fire something out of the end of this, how far does it go?
About three or four miles at this sort of elevation,
12 degrees, I think the range is three miles.
George's restoration has been a labour of love.
The previous residents were pigs - a pig farm, to be precise.
Even in its heyday, the fort never actually saw action.
But it was used to train artillerymen before they faced the Western Front in World War I.
This is the battery control station which
we have nearly finished restoring, with help from the Lottery.
You are under an inch and a half of steel armour plate.
Up in here is where, if you like, this was the nerve centre for this battery.
-This is the brains of the whole operation.
-This is the brains.
From here, you can see everywhere from the entrance to the Haven, all the way round past Dale,
you can see all the way down the Haven to the dockyard.
So nothing passes this fort, but the men in here can see it.
-And they're in communication with the guns.
-So how do you do the clever bit?
The clever bit comes from this instrument,
which is a Watkin Depression Range Finder.
First appeared in 1873. It was so good,
it was still in use in 1956 when Coast Artillery was closed down.
So by working these controls together,
you can keep the crosshairs on the waterline of the ship.
Absolutely, and get a continuous read-out of range.
Brilliant. I've got one, George.
Right now, your number two would pass the range to the chap sitting behind you,
who by telephone and loudspeaker
would relay the elevation and the azimuth to the guns.
Coast gunnery was the very peak of artillery of the period,
the most intelligent men were posted to Coast Artillery batteries
because it was so dependent on engineering and mathematics.
This really WAS the brains of the outfit.
This was the white heat of military technology 100 years ago.
The trainee gunners would've had no shortage of ships
passing through their sights.
Over the years, fishermen, the Navy and even the odd whaler
have made the most of Milford Haven's deep waters.