World War II Fortification
Between 1905 and 1939 the fort became a cafe but at the start of World War II was re-armed with two 6 inch naval guns from Cardiff and two searchlight batteries. Brean Down seemed an ideal testing site for secret weapons. A rail track was built and the so-called bomb was mounted on a six hundredweight trolley propelled at 200mph along a caterpillar track by 12 powerful rockets. The aim was to propel the trolley at high speed into buffers. The impact would fling the bomb far out to sea. But the whole lot - trolley, buffers and all - actually went flying off into the Channel, then did a sharp right and came back inland into a local farmer's chicken run!
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Victorian barracks were renovated and made safe to ensure that visitors can safely walk around the remains of the fort today.