Grain Fort was an artillery fort located just outside of the village of Grain in Kent. It was constructed between 1861 and 1868 to defend the Thames and Medway rivers during a period of tension with France.
Being at the mouth of the Thames and Medway, its location enabled its guns to support the nearby Grain Tower and other nearby forts and garrisons.
The fort consisted of an outer ditch with four caponiers and a second inner ditch between the earthwork and the keep, defended by five caponiers. The main magazine was located beneath the keep with tunnels linking to the caponiers and the ammunition lift to the gun emplacements above.
The fort was repeatedly modified and its guns upgraded, seeing use in both world wars before being decommissioned in 1956 when the UK abolished its coastal defence programme. It has since been mostly demolished, with the remnants of the fort incorporated into a park, some of which are still visible in the lay of the land today.
Hidden within this coastal park today, is a small hole which hides subterranean remains of the fort. After some time walking around the area, the access hole was not difficult to find by judging the unique lay of the land. After squeezing through this opening and clambering down a pile of rubble and discarded concrete posts, the tunnels opened up and we were walking through this now hidden part of history. It is rumoured that due to the presence of bats, the local council are unable to totally seal access.
The tunnels have a few signs of vandalism, including graffiti and carelessly discarded rubbish, but are in reasonable condition. Only parts of what lies below the ground here are accessible, with some routes bricked up. Peering through a gap in some brickwork, it was clear that other parts of this underground network have collapsed or been filled in.
Last Updated on 22 June 2022 by Michael