Fort Gilkicker, Gosport, Portsmouth

2015 has been a pretty poor year for my levels of exploring, I’ve hardly managed to get out at all this year so I was pretty upbeat about exploring Fort Gilkicker. A location close to home, but still requiring an early start to dodge the inevitable dog walkers & people playing on the nearby golf course.

Fort Gilkicker initially peaked my interest after I saw some posts on Instagram by @dr_crooks71. It’s a 19th century curvilinear Palmerston fort, built in 1871 to protect the coastline and harbours around Portsmouth. Being a fairly small fort I was surprised to learn that it housed a total of 26 guns.

Fort Gilkicker is easily spotted from the approach road, just over half a kilometre away, it’s ten chimney stacks protrude in to the skyline. As you arrive at the front of the fort you’re greeted by my favourite feature, “FORT GILKICKER” hand-painted above the door – a rare treasure to find a sign so well preserved. It makes me wonder if it’s in fact been repainted recently it’s that good!

Entry to the fort is exceptionally easy, with the front door wide open, we immediately came across the burnt-out shell of the former security hut. It’s obvious that security isn’t present here anymore, a lot of mindless damage, smashed windows & litter everywhere in the courtyard. The fort entrance passes through the old barracks block, now stripped it once accommodated one field officer, four officers and two-hundred-and-twenty NCOs and privates.

An incredibly well preserved shell lift. Fort Gilkicker, Gosport.
An incredibly well preserved shell lift. Fort Gilkicker, Gosport.

We immediately went in to the basement section of the semi-circular casemates structure. Much like other forts of this period there’s two parallel passageways running the length of the building which would have been used for storing ammunition and then using the shell lift to deliver it upstairs to the 18 ton guns above. Some nice signage also exists in these lower rooms.

Moving up to the next level, the casemates, home to seventeen 18-ton guns and five 12-ton guns is an impressive space. At the far end of this level is a fantastically preserved ammunition lift, the likes of which I’ve only seen at the Breakwater Fort in Portland harbour. The chain & mechanism while rusted in place, remain. The loading platform & hinged section still working perfectly. Hopefully this won’t fall victim to vandalism.

The future for Fort Gilkicker

The future of Fort Gilkicker is uncertain. While subject to redevelopment plans (which were actually accepted) the developers website hasn’t been updated since 2012 when they were announcing an open day for the general public to come and view the building and also boasting that 30% of the twenty-two proposed homes had already been reserved. In a more recent interview with the developers (January 2015) they were “optimistic there will be progress within the first month or so of 2015”. Sounds like they’ve bitten off more than they can chew to me!

With the lack of on-site security and nothing new to report from the developers in over three years, Fort Gilkicker’s immediate future doesn’t look good, and this grade II listed monument will no doubt remain on the buildings at risk register for some time.

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37 responses to “Fort Gilkicker, Gosport, Portsmouth”

  1. Ben says:

    Little update. It’s no longer available to visit it’s in the process of redevelopment to be modern homes and the homes have already been listed as for sale on rightmove.

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      The homes have been on Rightmove for years. Although you say it’s the process of development, do you have photos? I’d love to see these apartments when they’re finished! It’s a great use of the place.

  2. Ewan says:

    I’m doing a response to pictures of abandoned/derelict type structures for my photography GCSE, and was wondering if I could get a photography shoot of this place in the next few weeks. If anyone has any idea to what the security is like here since I believe there is one monitoring the site (https://www.fortgilkicker.co.uk/newspage1.php) or any way to contact the owner of the site to maybe arrange something. If someone could tell me something it would be much appreciated as I’m pretty unsure to the condition of the site.

    • Mr.S says:

      You can’t get in anymore. I went there last night. Roaming patrol and a site office on the ramparts. Scaled a fence to gain access and went up to the roof. That’s as far as you can get undetected and that’s if you are really sneaky.

  3. Ben Cregeen says:

    Going to visit the fort in a few days, is there still a way in or has it all been blocked up and destroyed?
    Cheers
    Ben

  4. We went here not long ago to record a video for our Urban Exploring YouTube channel, as well as RAF Chilmark and Bourton Mill. If anyone would like to see it all in video form, please go check us out at ‘Exploring The Unseen World’. Many Thanks! Love the photos!

  5. Linda Tracey Ring says:

    Hi all love this website! I live right by Fort Gilkicker and just wondered if any of you are going to explore Royal Haslar Hospital if that is a possibility which is not that far away from the Fort?

    • Paul Reeves says:

      Can Haslar be accessed? If so I’m happy to explore :)

      • Donna Wayne says:

        I’d love to take a tour of Haslar hospital. I used to work there with my Mum, until she sadly passed away, whilst we were working there one morning back in 2001. The A&E department closed down just a few weeks before, unfortunately, as it took the ambulance service an hour and 8 minutes to arrive at Haslar. I loved working at the hospital, the staff were always friendly, I met some great people from all walks of life.

  6. Mikhail says:

    Visited here about a week ago with a friend, was very easy to get into with multiple entrances.
    Sadly seems to be a hotspot for vandals, 2 other groups there at the time who seemed more concerned with trying to break things. (Also a third group but they were just doing band practice or something.)

    Also police do check here it seems, had a police van park up near the entrance to the road leading to the fort and followed us down the road. He did later spot me on the top of the fort but didn’t make any effort to actually follow inside.

    It’s a really cool place to explore around though not the biggest place ever. The ‘underground’ tunnels I enjoyed a lot. :) Just a shame about the vandalism.

  7. Matt lawrence says:

    Hey is this place still accessible. Please email if you know anything. Mattlawrence93@hotmail.co.uk

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      I couldn’t say. You should just go and have a look, Matt. Access to abandoned buildings changes all the time, daily in fact.

    • Luke says:

      Yes it is! And very easy to get in to! I went there a couple of weeks ago! However, there are homeless people living inside and signs of drug abuse all over the place!

      • The Urban Explorer says:

        Did you actually see homeless people there, Luke?

        • Sophy says:

          Hi,
          We visited here yesterday (13/3/16)

          Although they have now gated off the front and locked the door, there is still an easy way in. (I won’t reveal as it will be easy for you to find and will stop security from closing it up again)

          There was no evidence of people living in there but there was a lot of new fire pits and recent damage, which is a shame as it was such a fun place to explore.

    • Blys Westwood says:

      It’s currently illegal to enter the fort but many people still go in anyway. I used to go there all the time. But I’d be careful if I were you, policemen go in there occasionally.

    • livy says:

      Yes, but there is gas let off in the place. It could give you cancer if you inhale too much, like I did. Because I’m a stupid shit.

  8. Tom says:

    Great website and great recommendations! Able to produce some beautiful pictures here even though it was a flying visit. Will definitely be going back to grab some more. https://flic.kr/p/DBhXJv Thanks again!

  9. Martine Wilson says:

    I think your website is amazing, very inspiring

  10. Jasmine R says:

    Hi,

    After many years of being into photography and this being a good time to start getting myself involved into it more; I found this site to be very insightful, interesting and helpful, so thank you for that!

    Regarding this site (Fort Gilkicker) I see you’ve mentioned the fact it should be open from the main door (fingers crossed) it still is, if not which other way(s) would you advise me on as I’m most definitely going in the nest few days? Also, I would like to know if there is a timetable (so to speak) of which times are better to go in order to have a better chance of going about a hobby without causing a scene or getting caught?

    Thank you for your time and I’ll look forward to hearing from you :)

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      Hi Jasmine,

      You may have noticed I don’t often reveal any entry details in my reports. This is usually for a good reason. It doesn’t give security a clue on where to strengthen, and it doesn’t give easy access to any “unsavoury” characters wishing to do damage etc.

      The reason I mention it here is because there’s literally hundreds of ways in to this place. And it’s widely documented that turning up here on a day in the summer you’ll be sharing the place with dozens of local kids!

      Just use your common sense when visiting. Going during the middle of the day, there’s obviously more opportunities for you to be seen. Early morning starts are usually a winner.

      • Jasmine R says:

        Hi again,

        Yes I had noticed and very much took that into consideration; I thought you may reply in some circumstances more privately using ones email provided. Saying that, you’ve very much answered my question. I’m glad to hear in this case it won’t be so much of a problem to access the site and I’m looking forward to the experience.

        Thank you for you help and continue the great work your doing as well as keep enjoying what you love; I’ll continue to use your site :)

  11. David Crooks says:

    Glad you got to get there mate and the photos are great!

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      Thanks! Appreciate it.

    • Liam says:

      Been here a year ago a fair few times and never had any problems coz you can get in round the back by climbing up the hill and walking round the fence, the last time I went to take a friend the was a strange man stood in there on the top in the dark with no torch, nothing and kept disappearing and moving around watching us and then all of a sudden disappeared and was nowhere to be seen so I advise if anyone goes there to stay frosty on it.

  12. Kelsey says:

    My Dad did some work on this place about a year ago putting the boards on the windows to stop people getting in, needless to say he was glad it wasn’t me or my boyfriend that ripped a board off to get in and it was already like that, the place is really quite interesting inside, and the tunnels and corridors were dark and creepy but it’s a great place to visit… there is CCTV on site so beware, as we were leaving, someone came racing across the golf course in a 4×4 to try catch us, we got away but definitely worth a look if you don’t get caught :3

  13. cally says:

    Great to see a new exploration. Awesome photos as usual!

  14. Steve says:

    It goes to show what’s on your doorstep! The place is in great condition. We’re quite likely going to pop down and see if it’s still open. Thanks for another great report / pictures.

  15. Rob says:

    Brilliant photographs and information. Thanks for this!

    Have a great 2016!

    R

  16. Sara Harpley says:

    Love the images… and looking forward to more in 2016. Thank you!

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