Portland New Banner Small 3


Go to Home Page


Go to Navigation  Page





East Arrow




South Arrow



© OpenStreetMap contributors - see http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

The area covered by this page includes and surrounds Blacknor Fort, which is now a private house on an old military fort.

There is a narrow and scary path running between the fort and the cliff-edge.

In the face of the cliff is the entrance to a large cave system. This was discovered relatively recently and can only be reached by abseiling down the cliff - one reason why this area is popular with climbers even they have been dissuaded from their sport in this area.

The South-West Coastal Path has been diverted (2016) where shown in red on the map due to a cliff fall.

Please click here for a detailed map. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

Please click here to visit the satellite image of this area on Google Maps. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.


Please use this table to navigate around this page


Click Here Button


Click Here Button


Click Here Button


Click Here Button


Click Here Button


Click Here Button




West Weares looking south towards Blacknor Point.


Notice in this picture the huge section of cliff that has fallen away and dropped a long way down the cliff. Portland is crumbling into the sea and will eventually disappear.

For now we follow a path around the vertiginous cliff edge which runs under the wall on the left side of the picture. This needs to be walked with great care especially as it is often muddy.


High on this wall in the 1980s was daubed in red paint the words ‘THIS IS A NUCLEAR BUNKER’. In fact it was never more than an early 20th century army fort built to protect the coast. Modern guns were fitted in the fort and on two emplacements nearby for the duration of World War 2.



This path emerges into an old quarry which contains a World War 2 gun emplacement and the remains of an ancient quarry workers’ stone hut.


Here we see the remains of a quarry workers' hut a few metres north of Blacknor Fort and nearby are the remains of a World War 2 gun emplacement as seen in the picture below.


Here we see the remains of the quarry workers' hut with the sweeping cliffs of West Weares and Portland Harbour in the distance. A World War II gun emplacement is located on the cliff edge. This was constructed in 1940-41, is built of concrete and was used by 15 pounder field guns for the protection of Whitehead's Torpedo Factory and the oil tanks on the Mere. It is a Scheduled Monument number 1425446.

Below is a view taken about a century ago from the same spot showing the walls of the hut more intact.




The expansion of Bowers Quarry adjacent to West Weares in the late 1980s resulted in many of the old tramway tracks being overwhelmed with an advancing wall of waste stone. At least one old tramway tunnel was blocked off and lost in 1989 by the dump shown here.


Dominating the westerly headland of Blacknor Point on Portland is Blacknor Fort. This was built over the period 1900- 1902 by local builders Jesty and Baker for a cost of �6,296. It was decommissioning in 1956 after which the fort was sold off and became privately owned. A very informative article is available here and another document here provides details of the Blacknor Fort’s armaments.

A German Junkers Ju.88 crashed alongside the fort in August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. The plane landed safely and there were no deaths among the crew members although the pilot was severely injured.

Please click here for a close-up view of the Fort showing the old gun emplacements in detail.


Above is an historic picture of a 9.2 inch gun being moved to Blacknor Fort in 1909.

Please click here for a excellent photograph by Bob Ford of fog on this part of the coast.


A general view of Blacknor Fort looking north before its renovation.

This Victorian fort is now private property. In 2004 a very unfortunate dispute arose between occupiers of Blacknor Fort which resulted in the death of one occupant - click here to read this tragic story.


Blacknor Fort is now a private home as seen above and below. The fascinating story of the purchase of the old Fort and its conversion to a luxury home can be read here. The project was filmed to appear on Channel 4's Grand Designs and planning permission was approved in September 2008. Although filming took place at the end of 2008 the TV company decided not to transmit the programme.




A view of the Blacknor Fort entrance in March 2008


There are many caves on Portland although the number has reduced as quarries have been opened up for commercial gain. Several quite spectacular caves have been dug out and no longer exist.

On the face of the cliff at Blacknor is perhaps the best of the remaining caves. Discovered by a helicopter crew member, the opening is some way down the cliff and has to be reached by abseiling from the top of the cliff. It appears there has been a dispute between the local landowners and cavers over the legality and Health & Safety concerns resulting in the bolts used to secure abseil ropes being cut off making the cliff entrance to the cave unreachable from above.



There is a discussion here on this cave system and many excellent photographs inside this extensive cave system here. A comment is made on one caving blog “Does anyone cave on Portland any more?” clearly suggesting that the caves left and accessible on Portland are boring.

Please click here to return to the top of the page


Countless people have walked along the path at the cliff-edge by West Weares. There is one section which was deeply rutted where the Victorian quarry tramway used to run, see the foreground of this picture.

But how many of those walkers realised that on this length of path the heavy stones upon which they walked were propped up with rotting wooden posts?



This picture was taken with a 200 mm lens from the sea's edge.

In fact, this section was closed (October 2002) for examination by structural engineers. In June 2003 an order was made by the Weymouth and Portland Council closing this footpath. This may be understandable looking at the picture above!


This is the 'bridge' seen in the previous picture. It looked substantial enough from up on the path but it is understandable that the Council had to be cautious and warn walkers. In fact, there was no substantial fence to stop walkers - or even cyclists - from continuing to use this part of the South-West Coastal Path.


In 2004 the South-West Coastal Path around Portland's spectacular coastline was reopened. The Council had a bridge constructed which took the weight off the old stone bridge. The picture above shows me in my Lycra cycling shorts - keep calm ladies! - testing the new bridge's weight bearing qualities.


In 2016 this whole section of the South-Western Coastal Path was closed again because of movement in the cliffs. The footbridge is now inaccessible.




Seven Cover Picture

Age of 75 I started a new hobby - writing and publishing books. These are available as paperbacks from Amazon - please click here for details. Their overall star rating from readers is Four Stars



Keywords Blacknor Fort Gun Emplacement Caving Caves Sandy Hole Portland Dorset