A 326,700 square foot Grade II listed Welsh fortress is on sale for £190,000, less than half the average price of a London flat (£449,782).
Located outside Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Fort Hubberstone was built 160 years ago, in 1863, to defend the town from invasion.
The Milford Haven Waterway was home to the Royal Navy Dockyard, Britain’s secret base for building warships, and Fort Hubberstone was intended to prevent enemies from reaching it.
During World War II it was used as a secret base for American soldiers for the Normandy landings of 1944. It was abandoned after the war.
Now up for sale, it represents an “incredibly rare opportunity” for a prospective buyer, according to agents at West Wales Properties.
D-shaped, the fort is made up of two main buildings, divided by a strip of scrub. The larger, curved building was once the accommodation block for 250 men, comprising guard rooms, soldiers’ quarters, baths, kitchens, a coal store and a pub, all positioned around a parade ground with a raised centre.
The smaller building, below, houses seven former gun rooms and magazine rooms where artillery would have been stored. Further rooms, currently inaccessible, include a submarine sighting station and a submerged corridor, called caponiera.
“The fort is steeped in history which is evident throughout,” says West Wales Properties. “You can see the traces of the cannons, the fireplaces, the wooden frame of the arched windows and even the decoration on the walls of the bathrooms. 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 decay and vandalism, the fort is in a ruinous condition, requiring significant investment.
In 2019, an organization called Camp Valor announced ambitious plans to turn the fort into a rehabilitation camp for veterans at an estimated cost of £2m, before ultimately deciding against the project.
A year later, Fort Hubberstone was purchased by Pembroke Dock town councilor and local businessman Guy Anderson for £2,000. According to the local press, Anderson intended to turn the building into a “living ruin” that would be opened to the public in stages. He was no stranger to this type of project, having previously converted a Pembroke Dock gun tower into a home.
In 2021, Anderson stepped down as advisor. The fort still remains closed to the public and was put up for sale this month.
Fort Hubberstone is the largest of sixteen Victorian forts and batteries built nearby. Since being decommissioned, many of these have found new uses as holiday accommodation, activity centers and museums.
Chapel Bay Fort, on the south bank of the Milford Haven Waterway, was turned into a museum in 1995, while Dale Fort, west of Milford Haven, has been a field center since 1948. The 20-sided Pembroke Defensible Barracks was put listed for £500,000 last year and remains on the market.
“They can’t all become museums or be open to the public, but what has to happen with this, a scheduled ancient monument, is that it has to be saved,” says Phil Russell, president of the Palmerston Fort Society, which aims to educate and promote a more extensive interest in Victorian forts.
“We owe it to future generations to save these extraordinary buildings and finding a sustainable future for them is important. This could be as accommodation or any other creative use a new owner can imagine. These once-proud sentinels were built to last, and they deserve to.
Fort Hubberstone is listed with West Wales property for £190,000.