Upton Fort, Osmington Mills, Dorset

The harbour and coastline around Portland & Weymouth was well defended
The harbour and coastline around Portland & Weymouth was well defended

Portland & Weymouth Harbours have their fair share of Victorian coastal defences. On the Isle itself, the harbour breakwater wall and also Nothe Fort. All of which are Westerly (firing East) or Southern based (firing North). So what about a Northern site? Something that would attack to the South and be, no doubt,  a bit of a surprise for enemy ships/aircraft! With the addition of this defence, the harbours would be extremely protected.

And that’s where Upton Fort comes in. Possibly one of the best preserved (derelict) Victorian coastal defence batteries in the area, especially when compared to the Portland High-Angle Batteries. It sits hidden in the Osmington hills, now surrounded by a few homes, converted from the original buildings.

I knew for a long time that there had to be some defences on this edge of coastline and with that seed planted in my head, I took to Google Maps and found it, sticking out like a sore thumb (for someone who knows their Victorian defences from the sky!)

Upton Fort is someones garden. Please take that in to account if you’re planning a visit, be courteous and ask permission before you go wandering around.


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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. Lauren says:

    This is my familys holiday getaway. My great grandfather built the tin hut at the bottom. He later sold it to the current owners. Please don’t ‘explorer this place. Its very looked after and very well known to locals. There is a caravan site in Osmington Mills if you like the area but this isn’t somewhere people should go and explore as IT IS NOT ABANDONED.

    1. Emma Burden says:

      Hi Lauren – they weren’t Dawsons were they? My Grandparents lived at the fort xxx

      1. Lauren says:

        Yessss! They were :-) That’s my great grandparents. Mimp and Gramp 🥰

        1. Emma Purcell says:

          I remember them! xxx

  2. Ryan R says:

    Me and my best mate are photographers and we wanted to photograph this to preserve the history. In March we took a 4 hour hike to get there and we asked permission from locals who said parts of it are holiday letting. But they were happy for us to explore.

    We got stopped by a women who was doing work on them down there, she looked pissed off and told us to leave which was very disappointing it’s still there but I’m not sure for how long.

  3. Abbie says:

    Please can I have the email for the people who own the area as it is ideal for my college photoshoot

  4. Lee says:

    Love this site, Doing my family tree and I believe I had a family member who was here in the war. Could I possibly get the e-mail for the owners? Has anyone else had luck when emailing them? Or are they pissed at all the e-mails they get? lol

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Head on down there and ask politely. The problem with e-mail is that it’s easily ignored & you never really know who you’re replying to!

  5. BEN martin says:

    Hi there, is there any chance you can send me the location of this please as would love to go have a look around and take photos

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      The location?! It’s in the title, explained in the write up, and there’s also an image pin-pointing it! I’m not sure what else I can do for you.

  6. robbins says:

    Could I have the email for permission please?

  7. debbie chung says:

    Hello there, I came across your page by accident and read that it may be possible to email the people whose garden the battery is in would it be possible for me to have their email address as we are going on holiday near there in May and we love all types of war history and exploring.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Keep an eye on your e-mail inbox (and junk just in case…) I’ll send you the details.

      1. Josh says:

        Do you have any information on access point for this site?

        1. Jimmy boy says:

          Love to visit, how can I get permission?

      2. Matthew says:


        I was wondering if I could possibly have the contact details also? Looks like a great location

    2. Frankie says:

      Hey Debbie,

      Did you manage to get the email address for these people?

      I wanted to send them an email also,

      I hope you enjoyed your holiday/ visit

      Kindest regards

  8. Dave says:

    Hi, Love your site!! Very interesting stuff! I actually used to live in and renovated the two flats/ cottages here at Upton Fort. When we emptied the apartments we found diaries and reports from the soldiers who were stationed here. Unfortunately though not much happened there apart from regular drills and a couple of minor accidents. Was still a very interesting read. We went down the stairs quite a lot but never had the equipment or courage to get inside so thanks so much for the pictures. My family live up on the hill and rent their home from the same people who own all of these buildings so I may ask them if we can get a proper look. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Oh wow! That’s great! What did you do with the diaries, hopefully they’re in a museum or similar? You should definitely try and have a proper look around.

      1. Ukloudgang says:

        Is this place still possible to access do you know? Any info be greatly appreciated

  9. Monika Fisher says:

    I worked with the company (Soil Mechanics) who drilled the holes in the ground, into each of which I seem to recall, four thick bolts – about five or six feet long – were cemented. I was the Surveyor’s assistant, making pencil marks on a little stake in the ground, which located the center of where each hole was drilled. The two masts were operated by the USAF, but were not actually in use for more than a very few years, as satellite technology took over their job. My memory of the job would be “bloody cold, and bloody muddy” !!!!

  10. Holly says:

    How do I contact the people’s whose garden this is in?

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Hi Holly, send me an e-mail through the contact form and I’ll give you their e-mail address.

      1. Matt says:

        Is it possible for you to send the email adress of the land owners, I would love to photograph this place, looks amazing!

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Sure, keep an eye on your inbox.

          1. Ian says:

            Love this site, I have used a number of places for photo shoots!
            Would it be possible to send me the email address of the people as well please?
            I would love to go and have a look around.
            Thank you

  11. jack says:

    Hiya, how do you get to this? Looked on Google Maps, can’t exactly make out where it is?

  12. Stuart Smith says:

    I haven’t got or seen any photos of the dishes. At the time I got the impression that most of the locals considered them to be something of an eyesore rather than something which might be of interest to military or other historians, at a later date.
    I guess if you contacted the appropriate military historical branch they might ( ! ) help.

    Regarding the bat, if it was March, and the weather was as cold as it is now, it would still be hibernating and lesser horseshoes tend to hibernate on their own but you may find more at the same site. Greater Horseshoe bats, similar looking but much bigger obviously, are however often found hibernating in clusters but also as individuals.

    I notice from your web site you’ve visited many underground sites in the south west. I do know that, of those you’ve got pictures of, the limestone caves / mines at Beer and Box are well known sites for horseshoe bats

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      I knew that bats roosted in Beer Caves (not the same as the place I recently visited) and Box. Although I’ve never seen them in Box and I’ve been there a lot!

      I keep meaning to visit the Dorset archives centre, there’s plenty I need to research. Perhaps this’ll be the motivation I need!

  13. Stuart Smith says:

    Can you remember what time of year you photographed the bat. It’s a lesser horseshoe, by the way, and did you see any more ?

    In the 60’s when my grandparents had a caravan at Ringstead Bay the base was still operational with 2 big radar (?) dishes on site

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Hi Stuart,

      The picture was taken in March. He was all on his own, which I thought was odd?

      Thanks for the insight, that’s fascinating! Don’t suppose any photos were taken of it?

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