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This cache has been archived.

MartyBartfast: I'm not going to be coming down this way as often in the future so maintenance could become awkward, therefore I've decided to archive it to open up the area for someone else to place a cache.

I hope everyone who found (or DNF'd) the cache enjoyed looking at the fort and the ponies.



Widley Walk

A cache by MartyBartfast Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/29/2006
2.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

This is a circular walk of about 1 mile around the outside of Fort Widley, on Portsdown Hill, following the “Fort Widley Trail”, there is no need to leave the paths at any stage. These paths are not suitable for wheelchairs.

Tree cover might be a problem at the final location, as may nettles & brambles depending on the time of year. Stay on the path(s) until you get to within a couple of metres of the hiding place.

Recommended parking is at the waypoint below, there is alternate parking at the other side of the fort - either will do for this cache.
Make your way to waypoint STAGE1 (N 50° 51.323 W 001° 04.159 SU6560606620), where you need to find a micro with the final cache location. NOTE you do not need to cross the fence to find the the micro, crossing the fence would be EXTREMELY dangerous due to the steep drop into the outer ditch of the fort.

When you have the co-ordinates for the final cache location I recommend that you keep going in your original direction, rather than doubling back on yourself (this applies whichever direction you approach from - it is a circular walk after all!). Eventually you turn North, and descend the slope away from the Fort. Once you've found the cache (or failed to find it!) keep going in the same direction and you can make your way back to your car without retracing your steps.

Pinto (TBNAN5) and Shaley (TBNC1V) the travel bugs, started a Travel Bug race from here, as the two ponies they're named after are part of the riding school in the fort.

A bit of background info on the place you're visiting:

Fort Widley is one of the chain of “Palmerston Forts” which were constructed towards the end of the 19th Century to protect Portsmouth from a land attack by the French, they became known as Palmerston's Follies after it became clear that the French had no ambitions to invade. During this walk you'll get some idea of the challenge that would have faced them if they did try to take Portsmouth from the land side.

Having parked your car if you look due South you'll see what the fort was put here to defend – Portsmouth. In the distance you should be able to make out the Spinnaker tower, which is easily the tallest feature in the area, this tower is at Gunwharf Quays, now a shopping area but originally the Eastern end of the naval dockyards where the ships of Nelson's day were sent to have their armaments fitted. The main dockyard is just to the West of the tower.

On the way to the first location you will have several views over the fence into the outer ditch, which is 40-50 feet deep and just as wide, you can also see the gun ports in the Caponiers that would have made any infantry assault suicidal. When you arrive at the first location and you're searching for the micro, if you look across the ditch you should be able to make out the earth ramparts which are protecting a firing step, where there would be dozens of riflemen taking pot shots at you if you were attempting to attack. Also across the ditch, and slightly to the right is a concealed mortar battery.

When descending the slope, going North, you will see a number of horses in the fields, these belong to the riding stables, perhaps Pinto and Shaley will be among them, or try calling for Myer, Tia, Dollar, Molly, Cassie, Folly, Flo, Po, Ollie, Domino, Queenie, Roma, Rolfie, Hettie, Bruce, Sprite, Polo, Jasper or William. Note that the signs warning against entering the fields apply to the fields only, and not to the track which runs beside them which is part of the trail.

On a fine day you will have good views to the North, Fort Widley was built to defend against an attack from this direction. If you look back up the slope to the Fort and imagine the skyline bristling with heavy guns, while at the same time the fort is hidden from view and protected from artillery barrage by the hill itself. Also consider that this vista would be within range of the guns of Fort Purbrook to the East and Fort Southwick to the West, you can see that an attack from the North would be a dangerous affair. Luckily the forts never saw active service, although they were used during the 1st and 2nd world wars for various milletary installations. Many of the Forts were connected by underground tunnels during the 2nd world war, and Fort Widley housed a cold war bunker during the '50s and '60s.

If you'd like to see inside the fort you can book a tour of Fort Widley though this page: (visit link)

Alternatively if you go a few miles along the top of Portsdown Hill you'll find Fort Nelson at N 050°51.6246 W 001°8.31 SU6073007120 which is the home of the Royal Armouries Artillery collection, entry is free and they have lots of information and history about the Palmerston Forts, as well as a large collection of guns of all shapes and sizes, see here for more info:
(visit link)

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Additional Hints (Decrypt)

1. svyz pnavfgre va gur Vil ng gbc bs srapr cbfg.
2. Haqre snyyra gerr fghzc ba Abegu fvqr bs gur cngu, whfg Jrfg bs n Yvzr gerr.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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