160-year-old Welsh fortress on sale for £190,000 — less than half the price of a London flat
A Grade II-listed 326,700 sq ft Welsh fortress is on sale for £190,000 — less than half the price of the average London flat (£449,782).
Located outside Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Fort Hubberstone was built 160 years ago, in 1863, to defend the town against invasion.
The Milford Haven Waterway housed the Royal Navy Dockyard, Britain’s secret base for building warships, and Fort Hubberstone was intended to prevent enemies from reaching it.
During the Second World War, it was used as a secret base for the American soldiers for the D-Day landings in 1944. It was abandoned after the war.
Now for sale, it represents an “incredibly rare opportunity” for a prospective buyer, according to agents West Wales Properties.
Shaped like a D, the fort is made up of two main buildings, divided by a patch of scrubland. The larger, curved building was once the accommodation block for 250 men, comprising guard rooms, solider housing, washrooms, kitchens, a coal store and pub, all positioned around a parade ground with a raised centre.
The smaller, bottom building houses seven former gun rooms and magazine rooms where artillery would have been stored. Further rooms, which are currently inaccessible, include a submarine spotting station and sunken corridor, known as a caponier.
“The fort is steeped in history which is evident everywhere,” say West Wales Properties. “You can see the gun tracks, the fireplaces, the wooden framework in the arched windows and even the decoration on the washroom walls. This fascinating building has so much to explore.”
The site covers almost three acres in total, enjoying a private shoreline and uninterrupted sea views.
Today, after decades of decline and vandalism, the fort is in ruinous condition, requiring significant investment.
In 2019, an organisation called Camp Valour announced ambitious plans to turn the fort into a rehabilitation camp for veterans at an estimated cost of £2 million, before eventually deciding not to go ahead with the project.
A year later, Fort Hubberstone was purchased by Pembroke Dock town councillor and local businessman Guy Anderson for £2,000. According to local press, Anderson planned to turn the building into a “living ruin” which would be opened to the public in stages. He was no stranger to this kind of project, having previously converted a Pembroke Dock gun tower into a home.
In 2021, Anderson resigned as a councillor. The fort still remains closed to the public, and was listed for sale this month.
Fort Hubberstone is the largest of sixteen Victorian forts and batteries built nearby. Since being deactivated, many of these have found new uses as holiday accommodation, activity centres and museums.
Chapel Bay Fort, on the southern shore of the Milford Haven Waterway, was turned into a museum in 1995, while Dale Fort, west of Milford Haven, has been a field centre since 1948. The 20-sided Pembroke Defensible Barracks was listed for sale for £500,000 last year, and remains on the market.
“They can’t all become museums or be open to the public, but what must happen with this one, a scheduled ancient monument, is that it has to be saved,” says Phil Russell, the chairman of the Palmerston Fort Society, which aims to educate about and foster wider interest in Victorian forts.
“We owe it to future generations to save these remarkable buildings and finding a sustainable future for them is important. This might be as accommodation or whatever other creative use a new owner can imagine. These once proud sentinels were built to last and they deserve to do so.”
Fort Hubberstone is listed with West Wales Properties for £190,000.