Drop Redoubt copyright Paul Wells

Western Heights

One of the most important and impressive fortifications in Britain, the Western Heights are a series of strong points linked by miles of ditches on the western hilltop above Dover. They were originally begun during the American War of Independence, were strengthened during the Napoleonic Wars and updated and strengthened again in the mid-19th century.

Dover Western Heights Open Day

Drop Redoubt is one of the two forts on Western Heights, and is linked to the other, the Citadel, by 'the lines' It is a large and impressive fortress.

The Grand Shaft is a unique 19th Century triple staircase built to provide a short cut for troops from the Western Heights to the town. It has three staircases of Purbeck limestone which wind clockwise down a central shaft.


The Western Heights Preservation Society holds an annual open weekend giving the public a rare opportunity to see the Drop Redoubt and the Grand Shaft. Displays, stalls and groups of Napoleonic re-enactors carry out drills and skirmishes to bring the past to life.