The Fortress of Weymouth

The Fort is built at the head of the Nothe Penisula which forms one side of Weymouth Harbour and overlooks Portland Harbour to the south.

The peninsula is clay on a rock outcrop, higher than most of Weymouth presenting commanding views of the Dorset coast from St Aldhems Head to the town of Weymouth, the Isle and harbor of Portland and Chesil Beach. The resulting panorama from the ramparts of the Fort is breathtaking.

Between the Fort and the Town are the Nothe Gardens, once part of the military establishment but now a popular landscaped park.

The Buildings

The Fort consists of three levels built in the shape of a horseshoe joined at the base. On the ground level around the courtyard are 26 large casemates (vaulted rooms) every other one built with gun ports to house very big cannons.

Below this gun floor is a maze of small and large magazines, passages and tunnels whilst above are the Ramparts with sites for more modern guns and observation posts.

The entrance tunnel, once served by a drawbridge over a ditch, leads into the courtyard. At the south end of the ditch, a building juts out from the straight side of the Fort.

This is the Caponier, a small fort in its own right, from which infantry might engage an enemy attempting to assault the gate, with its defended barbican above, or to scale the massive escarpment wall of the Fort.

The Collection

The Nothe Fort has been awarded registration as a museum by “re source” , The Museum, Archives, and Libraries Council, and has an extensive collection of items relating to:-

  • Coastal Defence.
  • The history and defense of Portland Harbour.
  • The life of a garrison soldier from 1860 to 1960.
  • The experiences of the civilian population of Weymouth during WW2.
  • The evolution of underwater weapons in Portland Harbour, with especial reference to torpedoes.

It is intended in due course to place an illustrated catalog of the collection on this web site.