Legends & Mysteries

Hillsley Road

 Created 25-08-2001   Last update 03-04-2003

click the arrow


page 3 of 3



The Fuel Bunkers and the 5th Portal

There is some evidence to suggest that there was a 5th portal associated with the Oil Fuel Reservoirs. It would have been added after the complex was built, probably in early 1940, and was situated on the Fort Southwick escape tunnel approach road. 

That a structure existed here is beyond doubt, as it is still marked on the most recent (2002) OS 1:25000 maps. A report states that it was of similar construction to the other Fuel Reservoir access sites; sloping sides leading downwards to the access door.  The spoil heap from the digging of this portal is also shown the the OS map and was  re-located in June 2002. From here it was possible to move north, and slightly west to find the structure as marked on the map. All evidence of this portal has now been erased from the landscape, and the general area is covered in the most incredibly dense undergrowth. There is also a foot of dead material laying on the ground beneath the scrub making any further survey impossible without better resources. 

It is strongly suspected that later during World War II the Fuel Bunkers were connected via a tunnel to the UGHQ under Fort Southwick, and it is assumed that this 5th portal was part of this new connection.


Map west of Fort Southwick

This map shows the key features of the area

A Southern (west) Oil Reservoir access 
B Southern (east) Oil Reservoir access 
C Fort Southwick escape tunnel approach road
D 5th Portal
E Spoil heap created in digging the 5th portal (at the top of the right corner of the "E" - only just visible)
F An as yet un-identified building - partially demolished.
G Location of the Fort Southwick escape tunnels

With thanks to

Andy Martin and Mike Fooks


site of the 5th portal

The site of the 5th portal looking south, with the Fort Southwick escape tunnel approach road in the foreground. The 2 closer trees on the right mark site, while tree on the far center left marks the top of the spoil heap. The long building on the left background is the Vosper shipyard.

Syd Martin by portal number 5

This photo was featured in the "Portsmouth News" in relation to the disturbances at Hillsley Road - see more on page 1 . The guy in the photo is standing at the top of the access road to the UGHQ escape tunnels, and is pointing in the direction of where he remembers a "shaft entrance" to be. By coincidence this corresponds to the location of the 5th Portal, which is a little way beyond the bend in the track.



The map above also shows another building (marked as "F") slightly to the east of the 5th portal. This has been located, and is currently under investigation. Although partly demolished there are thought to be underground features present.

part of the building

The only visible portion of the building, which was probably some form of strong point / guard house. It is at least 30 feet by 15 feet. A brick building once sat on top of this plinth which is on average 2ft 6 ins high. 


click the arrow


page 3 of 3