Ancient Monuments

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Dale Point Fort (Unoccupied Parts)

A Scheduled Monument in Dale, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Latitude: 51.7027 / 51°42'9"N

Longitude: -5.1511 / 5°9'3"W

OS Eastings: 182363

OS Northings: 205146

OS Grid: SM823051

Mapcode National: GBR G3.HZ1H

Mapcode Global: VH1RW.NGPJ

Entry Name: Dale Point Fort (Unoccupied Parts)

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1959

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2063

Cadw Legacy ID: PE336

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Fort

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: Dale

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire


The monument comprises a maritime fort built in 1853-7 as part of the massive programme of defences at Milford Haven against possible attack from France by Napoleon III. In 1850 three gun batteries with barrack blocks were commissioned for Dale Point, West Blockhouse and Thorne Island, together with a gun platform on Stack Rock. Dale Point Fort was constructed on a natural promontory, and consisted of a gun emplacement for large smooth-bore muzzle-loading guns with barrack blocks for personnel, all contained by a defensive wall across the landward neck of the site. In the 1890s an additional concrete emplacement was constructed to test the 'Zalinski pneumatic dynamite torpedo gun' - an innovative American weapon which rapidly became obsolete. The Fort was sold at the beginning of the 20th century and served briefly as a private residence before passing into the hands of the forerunners of the Field Studies Council. The FSC are still the owners, and the Fort is in use as an active and busy Field Study Centre. To enter Dale Point Fort, the visitor must pass across a wooden bridge (originally a drawbridge) over a dry moat and pass underneath a finely built stone gateway bearing a plaque 'V.R. 1856'. Inside, original buildings include limestone barrack blocks and a stores. Two gun emplacements are levelled out of the cliff, the eastern is bounded by fine limestone ashlar terrace walling. The 1890s use is evidenced by a sunken concrete gun-pit and underground chambers. The whole of the interior is riddled with concrete paths, steps and hard-standings which reflect and record the military use of the Fort.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to inform us about 19th century defence against a perceived international threat. In particular, there is group value with the other Pembrokeshire Forts- Stack Rock, West Blockhouse and Thorne Island were planned contemporaneously with Dale Fort whilst Hubberston, Popton, South Hook and Chapel Bay subsequently strengthened the line. Scoveston and St Catherine's represent an attempt to extend the defensive chain landward. Dale Point also serves to demonstrate the pace of change of defence technology at this time - the testing of the Zalinski gun, and the changes to the infrastructure to accomodate this, is representative of a short-lived technology which could not keep up with advances in naval warfare. Dale Point Fort may also preserve nationally important remains from the prehistoric period, it is constructed over and within a promontory fort dating to the Iron Age.

The Scheduled Area includes all the unoccupied parts of the Fort, and extends from the dry-moat and wall at the west of the site to the cliff edges around the promontory - a distance of c. 155m NW-SE and approximately 100m N-S across the promontory.

Source: Cadw

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