Striking forts exposed after years hidden beneath undergrowth

A series of historic structures have been almost rediscovered following the love and care of dedicated volunteers.

Rame Conservation Trust’s team have been cutting back vegetation along footpaths to maintain public access to several mammoth monuments at Maker.

In the process, the have unearthed the true size and stature of those great relics dotted around the area.

Soldiers Path, which connects the buildings at Maker Heights with Grenville Battery, is one recipient of this sprucing. As is the battery itself.

Grenville Battery, also known as redoubt 4, is a grade II listed structure and a designated Scheduled Monument.

It was highlighted recently after a fresh trim, something we all could do with after lockdown.

Constructed in 1782, it formed part of a group of defensive structures designed to resist French and Spanish attacks while the Royal Navy was engaged in the War of American Independence (1775-1783).

The battery had 15 gun embrasures. It was disarmed in 1815, re-armed in 1849 and remodelled in 1887, when the sea-facing wall was strengthened and new gun emplacements and bomb proof accommodation were added.

In 1899 the redoubt was renamed ‘Grenville Battery’ and was intended to defend against battleship bombardment.

You can take a fascinating virtual tour of the facility here.

The Trust works hard to repair and conserve several redoubts and fortifications for wider public benefit.

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There are many other projects that the Trust work on, with local communities – spanning heritage, arts and culture, and the natural environment.

Cousin of redoubt 4, redoubt number 5, is a ‘scheduled monument at risk’ and is situated close-by.

It is also being worked on. The idea is to secure and stabilise it for future use.

It was built in 1782 and its bridge, allowing access inside, had been missing for 70 years.

Work has started on replacing the bridge so people can enter as originally planned centuries ago.

Malcom Cross, a trustee of the charity, said: “Nobody has been able to get into this building unless they’ve brought a long ladder. The moat is six metres deep.

“It’s an extraordinary building in many ways, precisely because it is so simple. At the same time, it is also unique.

“It represents a wonderful opportunity to see some building which has not been messed about with or altered.

“The whole of the moat was built by hand, dug out by soldiers. All of the stone was brought by horse and cart.

Grenville Battery at Marker, Cornwall. But so close, that it’s nearly Plymouth
(Image: Matt Gilley/PlymouthLive)
What. A. View. Bleddy heck
(Image: Matt Gilley/PlymouthLive)

“It was such an easy and remarkably strong way of building, and also incredibly skilled.”

Speaking on the project, Rame Conservation Trust’s chair Ursula Stevenson said: “We have an incredible set of nationally important assets here on the Rame Peninsula.

“They need to be taken care of and repaired, but also remain accessible to the public for local people and visitors to enjoy.”

You can see more about this project on YouTube here.

And you can keep up to date with the Rame Conservation Trust on Facebook here.

Rame Conservation Trust is a charity whose primary focus is conservation of the historical, architectural, and constructional heritage at Maker Heights and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Maker is a fitting name, it’s a culture of creativity

The Barrack Building which sits at the heart of Maker
The Barrack Building which sits at the heart of Maker

The RCT sold a portion of the outbuildings to company Evolving Places back in 2014 in order to clear its debts – but the trust have retained the Napoleonic barrack block.

Over time, new trustees have gone from strength to strength, turning the charity around in both stature and financial position.

They have been able to reopen the Barrack Building to those previously displaced, as well as many more that had been waiting to move into a creative space.

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To celebrate their success of bringing a thriving hub back to the site, artists, makers, musicians and creatives have thrown open their studio doors so the public can see just how much has been done to improve the crumbling foundations of the building and ensure it has a long and bright future.

Visit, when you can. Or read more here.

Not every building feels the love, and some look better when they’re gnarly

The tallest of the five buildings as you walk up from the Cremyll ferry

There’s so much to see at Maker and parts nearby. A short stroll will take you to these old buildings at Cremyll. They haven’t been spruced and trimmed.

And actually, they look better that way.

Local historian Brian Rayden has spent a lot of time researching Mount Edgcumbe and the surrounding areas.

He said: “I would refer to those oil tanks as being on the western shore of Cremyll.

“One can see the bases on which the oil pumps would have been.

“Did you know there was a tunnel into the hillside near those oil tanks?

“I’ve seen it but don’t remember its precise location…”

See more of those tanks by clicking here.

Plymouth Live