Welcome to my web site which contains maps, stories, history, advice and over 800 photographs to help you explore Portland, Dorset - The Jewel of the Jurassic Coast

New Ground, Tillycombe and Kingsbarrow

Portland, Dorset

Back to Portland Home Page


Back to Portland Map Index page


All the pictures on this page showing a thick border are thumbnails. Clicking on the picture will produce a larger version. Use your browser BACK button to return to this page.

This area contains the viewpoint of New Ground which is the flat space lower left in the red square.

The Tillycombe estate extends up a steep slope from the middle left-hand edge of the red square whilst the High Angle Battery is close to the middle of the right-hand edge of the square.

Please click here for a detailed street map. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

Please click here to visit the satellite image of this area on Google Maps. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

Please click here to see this area on Google Street View.


A composite picture of the High Angle Battery

Near New Ground at the highest point on Portland lies the High Angle Battery.

This was built in Victorian times to fire shells at enemy ships. This is one of the armament storage tunnels. Various attempts have been made over the years to seal off these tunnels but these efforts are in vain.

Here we see the remains of the tramway that transported the huge shells to the gun emplacements, see below.

The side rooms are in total darkness and very scary. 


But, if you do, take a reliable torch!


The view into two tunnels. The trucks would bring shells from the storeroom on the rails shown here.

For a detailed image of this site from space please click here.

The gun emplacements with the entrance to an armament tunnel in the background. 

This picture was taken in 1989 before the good work of the Manpower Services team in clearing this historic site had been vandalised yet again.

The guns were pointed well up into the sky with the idea of dropping shells onto the decks of ships. In the age of Ironclads, the decking was the weakest part of a warship to penetrate.


Another view (above left) of the gun emplacements where the huge mortars stood on the iron circular mounts. Shells were brought to the guns from the underground armoury on tramways - some rails can be seen at left. Above right are small store buildings.

For more information and pictures of this site please click here, here and here.


This was a training area for the military at the nearby Verne Citadel in Victorian times.

Please click here for many old pictures of the Verne and surrounding area in Victorian times.


Two old marker stones - like many others scattered around the Verne area of Portland - are a reminder of the huge influence of the military in Portland's history. 

Above is a panoramic view of Kingsbarrow Quarry. Much used by motorcyclists over the years as a safe place to have fun, this quarry has now been designated as a Nature Reserve and is being tidied up to encourage visitors and wildlife. The future of the motorcyclists is currently (November 2003) in doubt but it is hoped that some compromise can be reached.

The name of this quarry suggests that a huge ancient burial, or barrow, once existed here. Certainly, when this area was first quarried huge numbers of bones and Roman coffins were found. However, most of these were smashed up and added to the aggregate that was removed here - the relentless and ruthless quarrying of stone was not to be delayed by the discovery of ancient treasures!


Portland's (So - Called) Top Secret Nuclear Bunker

These buildings shown above, enclosed in security fencing, stand close to the Verne Prison's southern entrance and adjacent to the High Angle Battery. The track passing by revels in the name GLACIS. 

There have been many rumours about the true nature of these buildings. What is know is they stand above a vast underground tunnel system including large rooms cut out of the limestone.

Some rumours say this is the place where local authority and military staff would have retreated to survive a nuclear attack on Britain whilst the rest of us fried on the surface. Other stories tell of vast radar installations set up in the early 1950s as part of Britain's Cold War defences. 

Still other stories tell of...

       ... but let's leave it at that. The truth is probably mundane and I'd rather live with my belief that this is a Top Secret Government centre for investigating and communicating with Aliens from Outer Space *.


Waycroft Tunnel is in the centre of the photograph found by clicking here.

It is the last quarry tramway tunnel still accessible at both ends although there are plans (2008) to open up similar tunnels between Tout and Inmosthay quarries, please click here.

This is situated near the centre top edge of the red square above.

In the late 1980s fears were expressed that this tunnel might collapse under the influence of nearby blasting.

However, it still survives and was strengthened in 2006 to make it safe.

'Yours Truly' posing at one entrance to the Waycroft Tunnel showing the massive lintel stone that supports the weight of the rocks above.




The inclined railway from Tophill to Tillycombe ran down under these bridges which carry the road along New Ground (upper bridge) and the footpath (lower bridge) which originally carried the main Merchants railway line from Priory Corner.


Above left is a view along a manmade ravine where trucks loaded with stone were pulled by horses in the Victorian era.

Above right my daughter poses in one of several deep manmade ravines marking the eastern edge of New Ground in the late 1980s.


These used to carry tramway lines feeding from the many tracks gathering stone blocks from Independent and Waycroft Quarries and feeding the wagons down an incline to Tilleycombe where they joined the main Merchants Railway and thence on to Castletown.

The picture below is a compilation of many photographs and show the huge extent of the Verne Hill ramparts. The two lines of red dots shows the lines of the Merchants' Railway which ran around these slopes from the quarries on the top of Portland to Castletown where the stone was transported by sea. 


On the southern flank of the Verne Ramparts is an abandoned water reservoir. From time to time the entrance gets heavily overgrown but the right-hand picture was taken when the entrance was cleared briefly. I do hope that none of Portland's drinking water is stored here now!




During scrub clearance in 2008 and 2009 some ancient remains of the Merchants Railway emerged including a couple of drinking troughs for the horse that pulled the empty wagons around the paths shown in the panoramic view of the Verne above together with some old steel fencing posts.

A couple of horse contentedly grazing near New Ground with the Verne Citadel in the background.

Despite there being no bridleways on Portland there are a remarkable number of horses.


An estate built up a steep valley stretching up from Fortuneswell.

It is very hard work walking up the road - and not worth the effort.

The sensible way to see this estate in on Google Street View - please click here.

This pictures show the point at the top of Tillycombe road where the Merchants' Railway crossed the road.

Please click here for a picture taken in 1919 from exactly the same spot.

*  OK, I was only joking! 

Have a look at http://www.bunkertours.co.uk/portland_rotor.htm to see what this site really was used for and lots of pictures taken underground. Prepare to be amazed! Here are just two pictures - by kind permission of Dan McKenzie.

Back to Portland Home Page


Back to Portland Map Index page