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Dymchurch Martello Towers

Visited August 2015

Location Dymchurch, Kent
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby Yes- Tourist Railway
Parking Yes
Facilities On Dymchurch Sea front


Martello towers appeared along the British coastline during the Napoleonic wars, when an invasion by France was expected. Ironically, the idea for the line of coastal defensive towers came from France itself, or at lease Corsica, where Napoleon was himself born. Captain William Ford had observed the practice of using single, defended towers to protect the coastline whilst in Corsica, where the British had destroyed one such tower at Martella Port. The design was then copied and the towers built in Britain, but the name was misspelled as Martello.






There are now forty-seven Martello towers surviving in coastal areas today. Some are privately owned and have been turned into homes, others have been left decaying and abandoned. The seaside town of Dymchurch in Kent has three surviving towers- one of which is now a private residence. The towers would have been big enough to house a garrison of 24 men and one officer, so they must be quite spacious once converted into accommodation.  


Of the other two, one is situated in the beach car park, and appears to be unused with no public access. The second tower is owned by English Heritage and is a museum, but there appear to be no official opening times. The EH website currently advises phoning to make an appointment to view, which makes me wonder if many people do actually go to the trouble of visiting.






We viewed the exteriors only, whilst on a trip to Dymchurch beach. The towers are easy to locate, you can't really miss them, especially the one in the car park. As you can see from our pictures, the two Ferraris parked in the car park were getting way more attention than the towers, I suspect the martellos are largely ignored by the general public these days. It is a shame that not much is being done to restore and use these important remains of our coastal defences.


Dymchurch as a resort has a lovely sandy beach with all the facilities you would expect for a tourist area. It also has a station stop for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, which runs out to Dungeness beach and is a good day out. (see 'Other places of Interest' for more details)



More info:  English Heritage Dymchurch Martello

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