Fort Austin Avenue

With one end almost due south of the entrance to Crownhill Fort and the other end just due west of Austin Fort, Fort Austin Avenue runs along the line of the old military road that serviced both establishments and which passes both Bowden Battery and Forder Battery along the way –the route also skirts around the top of Eggbuckland Keep (which was, incidentally the last keep to be built in Britain).All of the aforementioned structures date from the 1860s when Britain’s elderly Prime Minister, fearful of a French invasion commissioned the construction of a ring of fortifications around both Plymouth and Portsmouth. Costing an absolute fortune and redundant almost as soon as they were completed, where they were in fact completed, they have long since been known as Palmerston’s follies.

Austin Fort itself was designed by Captain du Cane and was started in 1863 and completed within five or six years. Released by the MOD some ninety years later, the Guardhouse was converted as the PlymouthCity Emergency Centre for Civil Defence in 1984, while the rest of the fort has since seen service as the City Engineer’s depot and workshops.