Last week I was in the port town of New Haven
in Connecticut and today when browsing through the 'things to do' collection of leaflets at my parents house, another por
t town called Newhaven
, but this one in East Sussex jumped out of the pile and in particular Newhaven Fort. One of Palmerston's Victorian fortifications, it was one of the largest ever defences built on the south coast and as today marked the 70th anniversery
of the outbreak of World War II our day's plan was settled.
Newhaven itself is pretty industrial and is mostly known for the twice daily Dieppe ferry
and less conspicuously being the town in which Lord Lucan's car was found in 1974. Newhaven has a kind of sullen look but new flats have been built down on the West Quay harbourfront offering signs of encouragement, but for £180,000 the view of the ferry and a scrap metal merchant across the quay wasn't the best water view I have ever laid my eyes on.
But it Newhaven Fort
that we had come to see and after suffering years of neglect, at one time owned by a developer who planned to turn it into a holiday camp, the fort was lovingly restored and re-opened in 2000. There is a large range of exhibitions and audio presentations mostly within the fortific
ation's ramparts but there's also a warren of echoing tunnels built into chalk cliffs to exp
lore. Climb up on top of the ramparts and the views are magnificent.
The boisterous English Channel was crashing into the harbour arm with the lighthouse isolated on the end. The view then carries around the coast to pretty Seaford and it's white cliff. Stand in the gun emplacement and pretend the fire at the Dieppe ferry like I did, sorry I mean my son did or just admire the South Downs and the River Ouse that cuts through it.
Newhaven Fort also had a nice little cafe located away from the winds in a mocked-up air-raid shelter. It was £5.85 to get in and kids under 15 were £3.80.