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Stop 10: (810 m) The stone bench at West Blockhouse Point – SM 817 036
The bench is dedicated to one Brigadier Gough, who, as a lance bombardier, served at West Blockhouse fort from 1931- 35.
There have been fortifications at West Blockhouse Point from at least the times of Henry VIII, when a fortified round ‘artillery tower’ stood on this spot. West Blockhouse Fort was constructed on the site of this tower in 1857, as part of the protective fortifications around the entrance to Milford Haven, which include Dale Fort (Stop 3).
Originally, the fort mounted six 68-pounder muzzle-loading cannons, and had a garrison of up to 40 men and an officer. In 1901 it was remodelled, and fitted with four 5-inch breech-loading guns in the main battery, and two 3-pounder quick-firing guns on the roof.
Later, in 1904-5, a further battery was built on the land 150 metres above and west of the fort. At first this battery contained two 9.2-inch, and three 6-inch breech-loading guns.
Over the first half of the 20th century the emplacements and guns were modified from time to time, and they continued in use throughout both World Wars. A searchlight battery was added later, below the fort. The fort was finally closed in 1950.
The final occupation of the fort was by a corporal and six young men, ‘enjoying’ their National Service.
The gun emplacements above the fort are still in position. There is easy access to these, but you should first ask permission from the Landmark Trust.
The three navigation towers to the right of the fort are 9 to 14 metres in height. They are equipped with marker boards, lights, radar beacons and a foghorn. They are known as ‘leading light’ beacons, used for position fixing and indicating a safe passage into Milford Haven. More information can be found on the West Blockhouse Point Beacons WikiPedia page.
Follow the Coast Path signposts, which take you round to Mill Bay.