Open only on one day a year, luckily we were there on that day

I may have mentioned that we recently holidayed in Guernsey. Among the things we enjoyed were the many coastal walks.

On one of which, on the blustery North coast around L’Ancresse and Pembroke Bays, we noticed a ‘Martello’ tower with bunting, and walkers striding towards it. We had come across the day of a local charity walk that was ending at the tower. There was music playing from loudspeakers on the tower, and a tent offering refreshments to the walkers. The tower in question is known as Tower No.5 L’Ancresse Bay, Nid de l’Herbe. It is the only privately owned tower of the 15 Guernsey loophole towers built in Guernsey from around 1778 to 1779 to protect the island from the French. As ever in our own island history, we built similar towers on the coast in Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and Sussex to protect against a French invasion. These are known as Martello towers. More about these in a later blog post.

Back to tower No.5. The day of the charity walk was the only day in the year that the owner opens the tower to the public. The tower has had a number of different private owners in the 20th and 21st centuries. Each of whom have made alterations, including the German occupation forces in WW2, when among their modifications they added a trap door to the roof, and a stove, which is still in situ.

The tower is small inside, having an internal diameter of just 12 feet. There are three floors – a basement without windows, and two upper floors having numerous loopholes to allow musket fire. The tower is quite cosy, though spartan. The owner said the only heating is from the WW2 German stove. At least all the loopholes have glass windows – otherwise it sure would be drafty. Here are my photos.

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