Volunteering opportunities at Kent’s historic forts

There are volunteering opportunities at a number of Kent’s historic forts. These can be interestingly varied. Depending upon the sites concerned they may, for example, involve helping to expose buried structures, clearing or controlling vegetation over or around them, assisting with restoration, historic refurnishing and fitting out as well as carrying out historical research and acting as a guide for visitors. There can even be opportunities for re-enactment. You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to join in as coaching is given. Being part of a fort project and of a group of like-minded people can be a worthwhile and satisfying experience while, at the same time, contributing positively to our defence heritage.

Want to know more? Here are the contact points for some Kentish fort projects:

New Tavern Fort, the Tudor Gravesend Blockhouse and the Cold War bunker, all at Gravesend
(Thames Defence Heritage)

Sandra Soder

01474 363998


Drop Redoubt and Western Heights Defences, Dover

(Western Heights Preservation Society)

Jay Curtis

07736 844070


Fort Amherst and Lines, Chatham and Slough Fort, Allhallows

(Fort Amherst and Lines Trust + new community group in course of formation for Slough Fort)

Keith Gulvin


Fort Borstal, Borstal and Fort Luton, Chatham

(Kent History Forum)

Karyn Higgins


Some projects work all-year round and others for part of the year. Newly-advised volunteering opportunities will be added as soon as they are received by the Historic Defences Committee.

The Defence of Swale Project

The Defence of Swale Project

The Defence of Swale project is a London Array funded and Kent County Council administered heritage project. The project is designed to map and catalogue 20th century military and civil defence assets of Swale to provide an overview of Swale’s defence heritage.

The project aims to provide an improved understanding of the District’s 20th century defence heritage, identification of key assets and opportunities for volunteers to engage in discovering the District’s past. Volunteer roles will include field based observation, survey and detailed recording of Swale’s defence heritage on Kent County Council’s Heritage Environment Record. This research and survey will result in a resource that should prove useful for future planning, management and conservation decisions and interpretation in the District, local research and use by local schools in their curriculum activities.

For further information, please contact KCC Community Archaeologist, Richard Taylor at richard.taylor@kent.gov.uk

An Overview of the 20th Century Military and Civil Defences of Swale


Victor TC Smith(With contributions from Alan Anstee)

This overview is intended to give a general and local context for the assistance of those participating in the Defence of Swale project. From their investigations a detailed study can emerge. The project is coordinated by Kent County Council and funded by the London Array offshore wind farm, with the support of English Heritage.

Download the full article

Swale District 20th century military and civil defences – historical overview