While in Dartmouth we explored Bayard’s Cove Fort – a Tudor fort, built between 1522 and 1536 which contained heavy guns to protect the town from attack.
The significance of the fort’s strategic position can best be seen from the sea as it controls the narrowest point of the channel at the entrance to Dartmouth harbour.
Dartmouth was an extremely prosperous trading town, initially through wine dealing with South West France and then through the cloth trade. As such the residents were always on their guard for potential attack.
As a result, nearer to the harbour mouth, Dartmouth Castle and its companion fort across the estuary, Kingswear Castle, had been built in the late 15th century to guard the port.
But the people of Dartmouth decided to built Bayard’s Cove Fort as a second line of defence.
During the 18th century, Dartmouth declined and the area around the fort became an overcrowded slum. Recovery began with the arrival of the Royal Naval College in 1863, and the growth of tourism.
Bayard’s Cove Fort was adapted as a machine gun post for a short time in 1940 and since 1984 it has been in the care of English Heritage.