Fort Widley Equestrian Centre, Portsmouth

5.0
#9 of 11 in Trails in Hampshire
Equestrian Trail · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Fort Widley is one of the forts built on top of Portsdown Hill between 1860 and 1868 on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom. It was designed, along with the other Palmerston Forts atop Portsdown, to protect Portsmouth from attack from the rear.
Fort Widley was a polygonal Fort designed by William Crossman, an officer of the Royal Engineers, who was part of the staff of the Inspector General of Fortifications at the War Office. The fort was built up from chalk, with red brick and local flint being used for buildings and revetment to the large dry ditch which was also dug at the same time.
Armament was fitted into three different categories - the main armament which was mounted on a semi-circular rampart, high angle armament provided by 13-inch mortars, mounted in two protected mortar batteries and close range armament, mounted in one full and two demi-caponiers.
Barracks accommodation was also provided for both officers and other ranks.
Even before they were completed questions arose over the effectiveness of the forts in the face of improving weapons technology and the forts were not fitted with guns until some years after they had been completed. This delay resulted in changes to the fort's planned armament. The originally specified 68-pounder smooth-bore guns were never fitted and instead RBL 7 inch Armstrong guns may have been the fort's first armament. In 1885 the fort was reported to have been fitted with some ordnance while the other Portsdown forts were still awaiting their guns. By the 1890s the fort was fitted with five RML 6.6-inch howitzers, ten RBL 7 inch Armstrong guns, two RML 8 inch howitzers and nine RBL 40 pounder Armstrong guns on carriages that could be moved to wherever they were needed. Fort Widley had its guns removed in 1902.
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Fort Widley Equestrian Centre reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
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  • Well, half an hour of work without stopping is very hard on a horse, so imagine doing it for even longer. i learnt to ride there, and have now been riding 8 years, and i have never since met such...  more »
  • Private / semi private and group lessons avalable here. They are a recognised centre for riding for the diabled.  more »

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