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Fort for the Day

How ‘Fort for the Day’ works

Covering the length and breadth of Great Britain from the Shetland Isles to the Isles of Scilly, one of these forts is hopefully near, or near-ish, to where you live or a place you visit.

The grid reference and details of the nearest paths and roads are provided for each of these forts from the relevant Ordnance Survey (OS) Landranger map (1:50,000). If it appears that you can get closer by using the relevant OS Explorer (with its 1:25,000 scale), this information is also provided.

Similarly, if you can't reach the fort or get alongside it by path or road, as is the case here with Spitbank Fort in the Solent, access details are then given to the nearest point that appears to be available. Thank you for respecting private land and local access information that may only become apparent when you visit the area.

Information is provided about getting to each fort using:

  • footpaths
  • National Cycle Routes and/or 
  • roads

and if the maps show that you can’t get to, or next to, the fort then information is provided about how to get as close as possible, even though a view is not guaranteed.

So, have fun reading the maps, exploring a fort near you and visiting others further afield.

When visiting one of these forts you may wish to think about why this particular fort was built here; how was it built; what life might have been like inside it; who provided the water, food, drink, fuel, clothing, cooking facilities etc etc; and why it might have ceased to be a fort.

To help find out more, if the fort also has an official website listed by Historic England, Canmore (Scotland) or Cadw (Wales), the weblink is also provided as these can provide extensive information about any research and local archaeology.

Details about how to buy the maps from the OS Shop are also provided; they will also be available in Tourist Information Centres, some local shops and to borrow from your local library.

Have fun and do follow all local information about access and safety as this isn’t always available on the map!

If you do visit one of these forts, please do email any photos and information that may be of interest to others that we could put on the ‘Fort for the Day’ website. Similarly, if you know a local name for the fort, please let us know.

Which forts have been included?

Forts have been included in ‘Fort for the Day’ if they feature on the local OS Landranger maps in fonts similar to ‘FORT’ if Roman or ‘fort’ if non-Roman*.

With many more than 365 (+1) forts across Great Britain, this collection was chosen initially for personal reasons. I chose Landranger maps that covered parts of Great Britain that were places from my own history – childhood, university, holidays, places have lived as well as forts managed by English Heritage (see Background). These were followed by selecting maps that covered places that family and friends live. After this, maps were chosen to cover other parts of Great Britain in order to provide as good a coverage as possible.

A total of 45 of Ordnance Survey's 204 Landranger maps were needed to collect the 366 so, of course, there are many, many more forts listed on the other Landranger maps across Great Britain.

*Another indulgence has been, on occasions, to ignore the decision to only list forts as defined on OS Landranger maps, thus enabling Richmond Castle to be included although it’s not a fort, as well as another in Swaledale that is only described as a fort on the Explorer map. But then the fun of doing a project like this is that “they are my rules and I can break them!”.

NB There will also be mistakes, given the amount of information that has been collected and collated, so please do let us know if you find out anything useful so we can update the website.

The OS Landranger maps used so far are: LR 3, 7, 12, 18, 32, 37, 47, 48, 49, 63, 65, 69, 74, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 92, 95, 98, 107, 114, 118, 126, 132, 134, 151, 154, 159, 169, 172, 173, 176, 179, 188, 192, 194, 196, 197, 198, 200, 201, 202, 203 and 204.