West High Down, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight, PO39 0JH
Perched high above the Needles at the extreme tip of the Island, with unrivalled views of the Solent and unspoilt countryside, is the Needles Old Battery a Victorian fort built in 1862 and used throughout both World Wars.
The Battery’s fascinating story is told in a series of newly recreated, atmospheric rooms, whilst vivid cartoons by comic book artist Geoff Campion illustrate the part it played in the history of modern Britain. There are two original guns on the Parade Ground and an underground tunnel leads to a searchlight emplacement with dramatic views over the Needles rocks.
A small exhibition in the underground rooms of The New Battery, further up the headland, reveals the astonishing and little-known story of Britain’s Cold War ‘race for space’, when British-made rockets were tested here under conditions of great secrecy.