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Coastal heritage project restores artillery site

St Anthony and zone point, Cornwall_600_376

The remains of a Second World War artillery battery located at Cornwall’s St Anthony’s Head on the South West Coast Path National Trail route have been restored in a £71,000 scheme.

Gun pit, restored coastal battery at St Anthony's

The work has been undertaken as part of the South West Coast Path’s 'Unlocking Our Coastal Heritage Project', and was backed with £63,953 from the Rural Development Programme for England and £7,647 from the National Trust’s Neptune Fund.

“St Antony’s Head has always been low-key compared to the nearby iconic castles at Pendennis and St Mawes, which altogether form the network of defences for Falmouth, and this project has helped underline its place in the country’s maritime heritage of coastal defence,” said National Trust ranger Phil White.

“Members of the public will now be able to see what remains of the site for the first time since it was decommissioned in 1954 and buried under rubble, including the main gun battery itself, comprising of two gun emplacements and an underground magazine where ammunition was stored during the First and Second World Wars.”

Shell hoist at St Anthony's Head, Cornwall_200_112

He said the well-preserved remains of hand-cranked ammunition hoists were among items of “special value” to the site.

The Unlocking Our Coastal Heritage project has seen £676,127 invested across 28 historic sites on or adjacent to the South West Coast Path route over the past three years. A number of the schemes involved share a coastal defence theme with the St Anthony’s Head site, including conservation work restoring Second World War pillboxes at South Devon’s Torcross and Slapton Sands, both sites of American D-Day practice landings.

“As anyone who has ever walked along it will know, the Coast Path is dotted with sites of archaeological and historical importance, whether it’s a medieval burial site or a Second World War concrete pillbox. The aim of the project is to conserve them before they become lost or irreparably damaged and open them up to wider audiences,” said Bella Crawford, from the South West Coast Path team.  

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