A 326,700 square foot Welsh fort listed as a historic monument is selling for £190,000 – less than half the price of an average London flat (£449,782).
Fort Hubberstone is located outside of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire and was built 160 years ago, in 1863, to defend the town against invasion.
The Milford Haven Waterway housed the Royal Navy Dockyard, Britain’s secret base for building warships, and Fort Hubberstone was designed to prevent enemies from reaching it.
In 1944, during World War II, it served as a secret base for American soldiers landing on D-Day. After the war it was abandoned.
Now for sale, it represents an “incredibly rare opportunity” for a potential buyer, according to West Wales Properties agents.
Shaped like a D, the fort consists of two main buildings separated by a patch of bushland. The larger, curving building was once the quarters for 250 men and included guardrooms, soldiers’ quarters, washrooms, kitchens, a coal store and a pub, all arranged around a parade ground with a raised centre.
The smaller, lower building houses seven former gun rooms and magazine rooms where artillery was stored. Other rooms not currently accessible include a submarine observation station and a sunken corridor known as the Caponiers.
“There’s a lot of history to the fort, which you can see everywhere,” says West Wales Properties. “You can see the gun marks, the chimneys, the wooden framework in the arched windows, and even the decoration on the washroom walls. There is so much to discover in this fascinating building.”
The site totals nearly three acres and enjoys a private shoreline and uninterrupted ocean views.
Today, after decades of decline and vandalism, the fortress is in a state of ruin that requires significant investment.
In 2019, an organization called Camp Valor announced ambitious plans to convert the fort into a rehabilitation camp for veterans at an estimated cost of £2million, before finally deciding not to go ahead with the project.
A year later, Fort Hubberstone was bought by Pembroke Dock City Council and local businessman Guy Anderson for £2,000. According to local press, Anderson planned to turn the building into a “living ruin” that would be gradually opened to the public. He was no stranger to projects of this nature, having previously converted a gun tower in Pembroke Dock into a residence.
In 2021, Anderson resigned as a council member. The fort is still closed to the public and was put up for sale this month.
Fort Hubberstone is the largest of sixteen Victorian forts and batteries built in the vicinity. Many of them have found new uses as holiday accommodation, activity centers and museums since their deactivation.
Chapel Bay Fort on the south bank of the Milford Haven Waterway was converted 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 went up for sale for £500,000 last year and remains on the market.
“They can’t all become museums or be open to the public, but what needs to happen with this one, a proposed ancient monument, is that it needs to be saved,” says Phil Russell, chair of the Palmerston Fort Society, which is targeting aims to educate and stimulate wider interest in Victorian forts.
“We owe it to future generations to save these remarkable buildings and it is important to find a sustainable future for them. This can be accommodation or any other creative use that a new owner can envision. These once proud Wardens were built to last and they deserve it.”
Fort Hubberstone is listed Properties in West Wales for £190,000.