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Blacknor

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67571504LRThe area covered by this page is enclosed within the red lines. It includes Blacknor Fort, which is the building in the lower right of the red enclosure.

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.

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BLACKNOR POINT

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BLACKNOR FORT

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BLACKNOR CAVING

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BLACKNOR POINT

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West Weares looking south towards Blacknor Point.

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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.

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This is Blacknor Fort which is now a private home. A description is given below.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

BLACKNOR FORT

Dominating the westerly headland of Blacknor Point on Portland is Blacknor Fort. 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.

A very informative article is available here and another document here provides details of the Blacknor Fort’s armaments.

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

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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.

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

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A view of the Blacknor Fort entrance in March 2008

CAVING AT BLACKNOR

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.

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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.

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Keywords Blacknor Fort Gun Emplacement Caving Caves Sandy Hole Portland Dorset