Exploring Inside Huge Abandoned Sea Fort – (Horse Sand Solent Palmerston Fort)
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Exploring Inside Huge Abandoned Sea Fort – (Horse Sand Solent Palmerston Fort)

August 13, 2019


welcome to a very special exploration
video exploring inside of Horse Sand sea fort the fort is one of four that were built
in the 19th century to protect Portsmouth and the Solent against the
threat of French invasion. We had previously explored St Helens fort a
couple of years back which out of the four solent forts is both the smallest and
closest to the island. For that visit it was fairly straightforward and we just had to
wander out first thing in the morning on a spring low tide,
once at the fort climb up it and then we were straight in through an open
hatch, the only thing that you had to be mindful of whilst exploring was getting
back in time before the tide changed although, we were happy to make ourselves
comfortable and wait out the next low one Horse Sands was going to be a lot more
complicated, for starters the fort is about two and a half miles off the coast
of the island surrounded by water and sandwiched between two busy shipping
channels with strong tidal currents. As there was not too much in the way of
information about the current state of the fort, since being decommissioned, we
went to scout it out to try and figure out if we could get in and how we would
manage it. It was supposed to just be a recce as we are expecting to have to use
ropes to climb up the outside but as we approached it looked as though several
of the windows on the first floor were completely open. Before I could properly
confirm this with my zoom lens Ben had stripped down to his pants and was
overboard swimming towards the fort Not wanting to be left out and without
thinking I flung myself in after him It was cold but after we managed to clamber and scrape ourselves up onto the rusty landing platform we climbed through one
of the open windows and realized that the entire fort was open! now that we’d
established that it was going to be possible and relatively easy getting in
we just had to work out the logistics of getting several people with loads of
gear in overnight and without getting caught this was not easy and took weeks
to arrange luckily a couple of pirates with the yacht liked the idea and came
to our aid saving the day and making the trip possible. On the day of the trip we
met up mid-afternoon at the pub and after a couple of pints we were loading
up the tender and heading to the yacht the yacht was a lovely well-kept vessel
from the 1960s called Illiya and her captain was a pirate called Jon once we were loaded we set sail up the
river and off into the sunset the conditions out on the water were
calm and without much wind it was going to take several hours to get to the fort
not that anyone really minded much after the beers and the run were cracked and
we were happy to enjoy the journey We were also in no rush
as we needed to arrive at the fort as late as possible to avoid detection as dusk turned to night we watched a
thunderstorm looming in the distance over Portsmouth, thankfully it stayed
away and we arrived at the fort around 11:00 p.m. we anchored up nearby and
began fairing across people and gear in the tender to the fort. It’d been plain
sailing up until now but something was about to go very wrong… the first couple
of runs in the tender went smoothly with Ben calmly running the tender back and
forth between Illiya and the floor as it came to the last run most of the gear
was on the fort Jon Ben and myself all quickly headed below deck gathering the
last few bits and to make some last-minute checks when we returned to
the deck something was missing the tender was no longer tied to the boat
and she was drifting engine idling somewhere out in the darkness. We got a
panicked phone call from the others on the fort who informed us that they just
witnessed the tender drift past with no one on it, fortunately, though they still
had sight of it and were able to pinpoint it for us with torches we
frantically pulled up the anchor and set course for the dinghy when we caught the
boat we breathed a huge sigh of relief except now the yacht engine wouldn’t
start as the rope that wasn’t tied to the boat was now tangled up in the prop of
the yacht Ben and I had to take it in turns diving under the boat to try and
free the rope each attempt was an awkward balance of blindly trying to
unravel the rope in one hand whilst clinging to the rudder with the other
after about 10 attempts exhausted and scraped by the barnacles we finally get
the Rope free elated we head back to the original Anchorage and we finally
make the last tender run ensuring this time that when we get out it is tied very
securely to the platform we had several hours until first light
so headed up the rusty ladders to the top most part of the fort where we could
make the most of the panoramic views and live the luxury fort life. Far too excited see as soon as the first glimmer of light appeared on the horizon I was
off exploring the huge structure Horse Sands is the joint largest of all of the UK seaforts and was built with 59 gun emplacements across its two gun floors The fort was built between 1865 and 1880 by the time the fort had been finished the threat of a French invasion had
diminished and the technology of the guns become out-of-date because of this
the fort’s were never needed to be used for their intended purpose and became
known as “Palmerston’s follies” after the Prime Minister who authorized their
construction. The numerous forts built during this period were the most
extensive and costly fixed defense structures built in Britain in peacetime Horse Sands was rearmed during the first
and second world wars and during this period the Fort was painted in a black
and white checkered paint scheme. It was painted in this way as a form of
camouflage the purpose being not to make the fort invisible but instead to
confuse attempts to attack it by making it difficult to accurately gauge the
distance of the fort The fort was deactivated after world war two
and used of a coastal artillery up until 1956 in the 1960s the site was declared
surplus to requirement by the Ministry of Defense but the port remained in
military ownership up until 1993 when it was purchased by Portsmouth Naval Base Heritage Trust. The trust plan to restore it and open it to the public but put it
back on the market in 2002 in 2012 the company who owned the neighboring
forts Spitbank and No Mans announced that they purchased Horse Sands and they
intended to convert it into a museum with displays of the history of all
three forts work was started to clear some of the
debris but the owner put the site back up for sale in 2016,
however, it failed to make its £875,000 reserve price. Within the last month the
three Solent forts had been collectively put back on the market for the guide
price of 11 million pounds as the tide returned we readied
ourselves to depart it had been an amazing explore but before we left there was one
last thing to do Filmed and edited by Nick Stotesbury 2018

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  1. Awesome video, looks like you had a fun adventure 🙂 I'll have to keep an eye out for the pirate flag next time I cross the solent!

  2. Top fucking notch. One of the best urbex videos I’ve seen on a brilliant unique location. Didn’t know someone was going to make a video on this because I saw it as a report. Awesome work!

  3. Beautifully filmed. What a fantastic site. Was that the fort used for shots in the 1972 Doctor Who story 'The Sea Devils'? That story was shot mainly on location in the area, with the Royal Navy letting them shoot scenes on one of their shore establishments. The addition of the Pirate flag to the fort, at the end of your film was very cool indeed. Great work!

  4. Such a good video as always, I always look forward to your videos as I live on the Isle of Wight and have tried to gain access into some of these buildings but failed on some but glad that you managed to get it to them all so I can still see. Keep up the good work!

  5. You've reached another level with this one! Awesome site and very well filmed too.

  6. In parkhurst there is an old prison building that is now abandoned, I think it’s near or in Rooke street

  7. Looks like a good time. ☺️
    School boy errors with boats & ropes though.
    (Understandable in situation.)
    It's some while since I passed it in the boat..

  8. Unlawful entry and trespass. You stayed the night, where did you crap out? Or did you follow the lead of the seagulls?

  9. Well done!It's a shame that these and many other similar sites have not been properly conserved as part of our national heritage,your efforts at least help to bring them to peoples attention,THANK YOU!

  10. Magnificent to see this. I sailed around the fort last week and we thought that the solar panel and half a pirate's flag (all that's left now – mid Aug 2018) might have meant there were some well funky squatters in there !

  11. at 1:50 , thats some archivement to be like 99% dry after coming up from the ocean.. but its all fake, right?

  12. Totally bad ass the whole trip was amazing but the placement of the flag made the video so much more better yall marked your territory by placement ad not grafitti or vandalism much love and respect brother

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