Verne High Angle Battery

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This view shows approximately one-fifth of the structure.

The Verne High Angle Battery is a former 19th-century gun battery on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. Situated close to the Verne Citadel, the battery is Grade II Listed,[1] and forms part of the citadel's scheduled monument status.[2] The battery has become a tourist attraction,[3] while the battery's tunnels are often referred to by their local name 'Ghost Tunnels'.[4]


A view inside one of the battery's underground magazine tunnels

The battery was built in 1892 to protect Portland Harbour. Having been constructed within a disused quarry, the battery's guns were hidden from enemy's view. The "high angle" that the RML 9 inch 12 ton guns fired at ensured shells dropped down to inflict maximum damage on the vulnerable upper decks of an enemy vessel. The guns were able to traverse through 360 degrees. The battery had positions were built for six guns. Two additional pits were soon added, but no guns were fitted. Shells were stored in two tunnel magazines, while between these was a troop shelter, laboratory and store buildings.[5]

With the invention of smaller craft like torpedo boats, the guns were less likely to score a hit, resulting in the battery's decommissioning in 1906.[5] From 1918, the battery was used for storing field guns from France and in the 1960s one of the emplacements was used for testing the capsules in which nuclear material was transported.[6]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1281857)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1002411)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  3. ^ "New Ground and Tillycoombe, Portland, Dorset". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Portland butterflies herald Olympic sailing". Dorset Echo. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Verne Quarry High Angle Battery" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Verne Quarry High Angle Battery (1387753)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 11 November 2012.

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Coordinates: 50°33′29″N 2°26′00″W / 50.5581°N 2.4334°W / 50.5581; -2.4334