Outer Bastion West Moat, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom

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John Latter on November 23, 2009

Looking south along the flanking West Moat of the intriguing Outer Bastion (on the left), yet another photo necessarily taken on an overcast day!

Note the razor-wire, the close-circuit security camera fitted on the far end of the right-hand moat wall (it looks like a small white 'dot'). Because it's on a projecting bracket, the camera appears to be fixed to the left-hand moat wall (now part of the Citadel) as it turns to the right. A vertical grey conduit and horizontal black cabling are also visible on the right-hand moat wall.

On the skyline, right of centre, is the small flat roof of a Second World War pillbox (it's below the tree, just as the ridge drops away to the right).

This pillbox is Monument No. 933172, built in the 'Dover Quad' style, but trapezoidal rather than square in plan (also see the Pillbox above the North Entrance photo).

Standard Information for the Outer Bastion

Click to see all photos of the Outer Bastion.

The Outer Bastion is shaped like three chunks of the five-by-one segment Yorkie chocolate bar, complete with "hanging valleys" between each segment - see the East Moat, Outer Bastion photo.

For ease of reference, the three sections of the Outer Bastion have been termed: Outer Section (nearest the camera), Middle Section, and Inner Section (this last being an integral part of the Citadel). The two "hanging moats" (or cross ditches) are the Outer Traverse Moat (again, nearest the camera) and the Inner Traverse Moat.

Of the five major components* of the extensive Napoleonic and Victorian fortifications on the northern slopes of the Western Heights above the town of Dover, perhaps the least known about is the Outer Bastion - and that takes into account the fact that one component is no longer visible!

The reason for this lack of knowledge is because, like the Citadel itself (the core of the defensive network), the Government has never relinquished control and inadvertently allowed "unofficial" access. Indeed, razor-wire and security cameras can be found all around the moats of the Outer Bastion.

Having stared wistfully at the Outer Bastion for over half a century, this inability to "have a look around" has resulted in a small entry to be made near the end of, "Things I Intend To Give God A Hard Time About", Volume VII.

Despite the apparent lack of surface structures, there are some interesting aspects to the Outer Bastion that will be commented upon under the relevant photos.

*Three of the other components - the Drop Redoubt, North Entrance, and North Centre Bastion - are owned by English Heritage, while the remaining fifth component, the Western Outworks, has been completely buried.

I've made these for YouTube: North Entrance (Video) and North Centre Bastion (Video).

English Heritage's Pastscape entry for the Western Heights states:

The Western Heights were first fortified circa 1779, with field works. In 1781 work was begun to replace them with permanent defences. The Grand Shaft (see TR 34 SW 210) was constructed between 1805 and 1807 and the Citadel and Drop Redoubt were built as separate forts. These were subsequently combined when lines (ie moats) were constructed to join them. Work ceased when the armistice was signed in 1814. The defences were completed following the report of the Royal Commission of 1860.

NB The Detached Bastion is part of the North Centre Bastion complex and known locally as "Dead Man's Island".

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 23, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/11/12 11:31:29
    • Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
    • Focal Length: 20.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.600
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash