“ A fort built in the Solent as part of the Palmerston Forts. Its purpose was to protect Portsmouth. „
INTRODUCTION I have been a regular visitor to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight for many years, I find these locations to be two of Britain's gems not only do the offer something for all tourists but they also have some very unique things that add to Britain's history. I have never really being a fan of history, but while on a trip to Portsmouth I noticed four forts which are located in the solent. Usually I would not have bothered but I was so inspired by a visit to the Spit bank fort, that I took it upon myself to find out about all of the other forts. Here I am reviewing the No Man's Land fort, as it is a fort that is packed full of history dating back to the last two centuries and it still manages to add to the forts history today. HISTORY No man's land is one of four forts in the port solent, that can be seen from Portsmouth, Gosport and the Isle of Wight. These forts have been nicknamed the 'Palmerston's Follies and were built to protect Portsmouth's naval base from French invasion. All four forts No man's land fort, Spit bank fort, St Helens fort and Horse sand fort were built between 1865 and 1880. These took so long to build that the French invasion ceased before their completion, so they didn't really serve the purpose they were built for although the Navel MOD did use them until 1956. Each of the four forts were put up for sale in the early sixties and are now all owned by different people and only the Spit Bank fort is open for public viewing at the moment. No Man's Land Fort was opened to the public in the form of a luxury hotel, until recently when it ceased trading. You can go and have a look if you are interested in buying it for approximately four million pounds but you need a helicopter to do so. All of these forts including No Man's Land are currently Grade II listed properties, they currently have planning permission to make them habitable but you can't do much as these are all awaiting the English Heritage Ancient Monument status, which will just add to their history. No Man's Land Fort and is situated 2.2 kilometers away from the isle of Wight, so it is closer to the Isle but can be visibly seen from Portsmouth. It was originally built for four hundred and sixty two thousand pounds all of those years ago, but is currently on sale for an excess of four million pounds. NO MANS LAND No Man's Land Fort is the biggest for all four and is almost an acre at 200 feet in diameter and its internal space being 55.000 square feet, allows plenty of space for the twenty two luxury bedrooms and once home to over four hundred men and fifty seventy ton artillery guns. This fort is almost identical to its sister fort Horse sand fort, in its appearance from the outside but is it considerably bigger. This massive concrete fort consists of a basement and two other floors which are all circular, the top floor is finished with a massive glass topped roof so you can take in the sky at night. Upon the top deck you have a light house with observatory, two helipads, a bungalow house and a tennis court. All of this can be seen at anytime with a good pair of binoculars, but unfortunately there is no way to see the lavish décor of this lavish hotel. The only way to access this fort is by Helicopter at the moment, once it could be accessed by boat as it also has a boat launch and winch, the winch would lift the boats up the side of the fort to a door located on the second floor. But as this has not been used since the hotels closure it is no longer safe to use. The MOD sold No Man's Land fort to a property tycoon from Birmingham who has developed it in to a luxury home and hotel consisting of 22 bed rooms, 2 helipads, tennis courts, swimming pool, games room, gym and roof gardens. He also has set in place planning permission for a forty berth boat marina that can surround the fort. The property tycoon charged twenty five thousand pounds a day for the use of the entire fort or four hundred pounds a night to stay at the hotel. The lavish hotel did not last that long, in 2004 the hotel was closed down by the environmental health department as legionnaires was found in it water, this forced its closer and has been left untouched since. The Property Tycoon Harmesh Pooni held on to this fort until his property development business went bust and liquidators took the fort from him, they have been trying to sell it ever since. The price is four million pounds but this seems to fluctuate and decrease all of the time, because lets face it how on earth can they put a price on this superb piece of history. More recently in 2008 while I was watching the BBC news, I had to laugh as the property tycoon Pooni had barricaded himself into the fort, claiming he still owned it and his liquidators got him charged by the police as he was trespassing and refusing to let anyone land on the fort by either chopper or boat. Currently this is still up for sale, so if you want a lavish home and hotel and you have some pocket change of four million pound, then you can take your helicopter over to No Man's Land for a viewing. OTHER INFORMATION Before this fort was a hotel and sill owned by the Navel base, this fort was featured in the popular TV series Dr who, this was the Dr who series that was made in the late nineties and not the Dr who that is screened today. The episode was called Dr who the sea devils and it aired our screens is October 1971, the episode did not show any of the forts interior but the exterior was featured a lot. MY OPINION This is the only fort that I have not managed to step foot on, but It is the one that fascinates me the most. I am not sure if this is because of its sheer size or the fact that it contains all of those luxury rooms, a pool and tennis courts. If I ever won the lottery I would buy this and turn it into a casino, while living in the bungalow on the top deck. I would provide transport for all of the visitors and let them stay at cheaper rates than the four hundred pound a night that the previous owner charged. Anyway I am dreaming here, but I can keep on wishing. No man's land is in a prime location as it can be viewed from the mainland, the Isle of Wight and from both directions of the port solent, so I can only imagine what views I would get if I was actually on the fort. Out of all four forts this one not only looks like the biggest, but is also looks very secluded and private which is very appealing to me. Some people say this looks like a huge tin can that is going rusty from the out side, I personally love that it looks very old and this is where you can appreciated the fact that it is over 150 years old. If you live in the vicinity of this amazing fort, grab you binoculars on a clear day and you can catch a glimpse at the top deck with a clear view of the light house, tennis court and the bungalow.