WWI Invasion Defences

Langstone Redoubt

 Created 16-05-2002    Last update 03-05-2015

At the northern end of Langstone Harbour are the remains of a WWI anti-invasion redoubt. It was built on the site of a proposed Palmerston fortification - Langstone Redoubt - and was well placed to guard Langstone Harbour. It is very significant in that it is the only surviving WWI defence left on Portsdown.

This has got to be one of the most inaccessible sites in the area; it is in a boggy overgrown 'copse', which itself can only be reached after a miles walk. It took me four separate attempts to get to it. 


With thanks to Peter Cobb



Location of the Redoubt

1:25000 OS map of North Langstone

The Redoubt is in an area of land (a nature reserve) which is sandwiched between the South Coast Railway line the A27 trunk road. It can only be reached by walking from the car park on Farlington Marshes. 

Grid Ref SU691054


Google Earth Aerial View
Visit this site - Portsdown Walk No3


The Palmerston Redoubt

This fort was to have been sited on the Farlington Marshes, facing east and covering the eastern approaches to Portsmouth. It was to have been alongside the railway line and would have been in an ideal position to prevent an enemy advance, in fact the whole of the Portsdown line was in danger of being outflanked without it - remarkably its construction was cancelled in 1867.

The land clearance rights were purchased but the work was abandoned because of the rising costs of the other works. The Committee of 1868 were told that a less elaborate earthwork would be built at the time of expected attack.


Extracted from the Solent Papers No 3. 

Copyright David Moore - Palmerston Forts Society


Original Langstone Redoubt

The proposed plan of the Palmerston "Langston Redoubt".

The fort was to have a four sided outline, with positions for 18 guns on the terreplein and a defensible barrack block at the south west angle. The whole was to have been enclosed in what was almost certainly a wet ditch - you would not be able to prevent water from filling a ditch at this location.

Copyright David Moore - Palmerston Forts Society


The WW1 Redoubt

Below are some photos of the remains of the WWI Redoubt; I am still trying to make sense of them.

Copse containing the redoubt

North eastern Farlington Marshes looking east. The copse in the background contains the Redoubt. To the left is the railway line, to the right the A27(T) road.

Redoubt 01

An overall picture cannot be obtained because of the dense undergrowth. The redoubt is now ruined with concrete structures such as this scattered about. There are also two earthworks which may be what is left of the Victorian Redoubt.

redoubt 2

Mature trees, brambles, nettles grow all over the site. It is only possible to view a part of it. 

redoubt 3

Part of the above ground north access tunnel. This leads to a defendable site between the earthworks. The southern part of the site is inaccessible.


NEW - 03-05-2015


As above showing the thickness of the entrance.

Chris Marsh - March 2015


NEW - 16-04-2012

The site during clearance - 2012

"I have been involved in a youth volunteer project with the Hampshire wildlife trust and as part of that I have been clearing the site of the redoubt of scrub and trees. My youth volunteers have done a great job. This is the end closest to the railway line. The picture of the doorway you have on your site is the end nearest the motorway".

Phil Summerscale
South East Youth Volunteering Officer

January 2011