Brean Down and Brean Fort

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Brean Down juts out into the Bristol Channel and has witnessed human history since the Stone Age. It offers commanding views of the Somerset coast and levels, as well as the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm and the coast of South Wales. The carboniferous limestone headland provides habitat for birds, butterflies and rare plants. Birds are also attracted to the winter feeding-ground at Berrow Mudflats.

The route follows an old military road to the fort and returns along the ridge of Brean Down. Birnbeck Pier can be seen across the bay. It is the only British pier that links the mainland to an offshore island and was taken over by the Admiralty in 1941, as HMS Birnbeck. Since then, it has fallen into disrepair and is closed to the public.

Brean Fort was completed in 1871 and is one of four Palmerstonian forts built to guard the Bristol Channel against the threat of French invasion. It played a part in the history of radio telegraphy, which is described in Walk 5111, before an explosion in July 1900 destroyed half the battery and the fort became a cafe for walkers and holidaymakers, until a garrison returned at the outbreak of the Second World War. Naval guns and searchlight positions were added. Scientists from HMS Birnbeck also used it for experimental weapon trials. Brean Down was given to the National Trust in 1954. The fort was renovated much more recently and entrance is free. Interpretive signs are provided to inform visitors.

Visit the exhibition opposite Brean Down Cove Cafe to find out more about the area. This walk can also be combined with a visit to the Tropical Bird Garden and a day at the seaside.

England - South West England - Somerset - Blackdown Hills


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Flowers, Gift Shop, Great Views, National Trust, Public Transport, Sea, Toilets
5/27/2018 - victoria fox

We did this walk on 26/05/2018, we had previously completed this walk on a hot summers day when the down had been very dusy. Today with a lot of sea mist & a strong breeze it was very different. A great walk especially in good weather. There is a water trough for your dogs to have a drink, very dog friendly.A lovely walk that doesn’t take too long or take a picnic there are lots of places to sit & enjoy the view and spend the best part of the day up there. You can park on the beach for £3.50 for a full day.

1/20/2010 - Alan Davies

Nice short walk with some stunning views.

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