Feeling brave? Why not spend a night in one of the most paranormally active areas of Kent. For prices and further information please click here.

Have any workshop or garden tools you no longer need? Our cafe staff would be pleased to accept donations, or we may collect larger items. Thank you!

A project that began more than three decades ago to restore Fort Amherst is now one step closer to being completed. Click here for more information.

About Fort Amherst

Trust

 

Profile of the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust.

The Fort Amherst Heritage Trust (FAHT) was formed in April 1998, as a charitable company limited by Guarantee (charity number 1102399, company number 4362306).

The Trust was the successor of the Fort Amherst & Lines Trust which was itself established as a charitable Trust in 1981. In April 2010 FAHT merged with Medway Historical Ordnance a separate Charity which had been established to preserve and maintain the Fort’s nationally important collection of historical ordnance. The amalgamation reduced costs and promoted efficiency and a stronger organisation in support of both Trusts objectives and aims.

FAHT inherited from FALT its principal objectives which are;

“Acquiring, restoring, maintaining, safeguarding and preserving the historical fortifications known as Fort Amherst and the Lines in the City of Rochester-Upon Medway and the Borough of Gillingham in the county of Kent and making the same available for research and for the educational and recreational viewing and use by the public.”

As a result of local government reorganisation the whole of Fort Amherst now lies within the boundaries of the Medway Unitary Authority which was established in 1997.

FAHT owns the freehold of almost the entire site of 20 acres with the exception of a narrow strip of land which is leased from Medway Council to allow for boundary management.

The site is a scheduled ancient monument having been designated in 1959 (1003364 known as Brompton Lines).

The Trust has seven current Trustees who each serve for a three-year period on rotation, when they must be reappointed at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The FAHT operates on a committee based structure with a number of Limited Company Boards and sub committees who report to the main Trust Executive for strategic overview and accountability. In addition each Trustee has areas of delegated responsibility which they carry out and are required to present a written report to each Trust meeting, outlining their activities.

The Trust has an elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, appointed on a yearly basis at the AGM.

There are a small number of part time staff employed in the Fort`s café and visitor centre. The Trust also employ a part time Volunteer Supervisor and retain the services of a part time consultant on a self-employed basis to undertake the Marketing and PR function for the Trust.

For all other operations the FAHT is dependant on volunteers. There is a body of around 45 volunteers who perform a wide variety of functions in order to maintain and operate the Fort as a public amenity.

The volunteers are drawn from a wide spectrum of society of all ages and both genders.

There are also particular groups within the volunteer body such as a mental health service user groups and socially disadvantaged groups such as the disabled, unemployed and young offenders. The Trust has developed a culture of social responsibility and integration with the community in which it is located.

The majority of the Fort Amherst site is open to the public on a free to enter basis throughout the year. There are charges made for tours of the Tunnel Complex and specialist events and functions which operate throughout the year. The Fort forms part of a larger area of land known as the Great Lines Heritage Park, which includes the rest of the Chatham Lines Fortifications and the former field of fire for the Fort known as the Great Lines. These areas of land are owned by Medway Council, the Ministry of Defence and the Lower Lines Trust.

Trustee Profiles

 

Trustees as of June 2016.

Les Snowdon (Chairman), former senior bank employee. Manages the Fort’s Office and administration. Responsible for overseeing Events & Weddings, financial governance and human resources. Principle areas of focus are building a sustainable business and improving customer experience, therefore, ensuring the Fort’s continued restoration and development as a public amenity.

Steve Quinton (Vice Chairman), Project manager for a construction and civil engineering company. Brings expertise in construction management, health & safety and project management. Principle interests, historical structures, underground research. Managing restoration projects on the Fort and overseeing the building and repair of gun carriages.

Glenn Robinson, self employed businessman, principle interests are maintaining the fabric of Fort Amherst with responsibility for licences in respect of explosives and fire arms (Ordnance Collection) and promoting the site as a centre of re-enactor excellence and living history.

Dave Moorman, Director of Spec Savers in Medway. Dave brings expertise to the Trust in retail management, human resource management and governance. Principle interests are local and military history, maintaining the independence of FAHT, whilst also seeking greater co-operation with other similar bodies.

Edmund Gulvin, Self Employed Tree Surgeon. Principle interests are the maintenance of the Forts grounds and acts as the Designated Premises Supervisor, holding the Fort’s licences in respect of operating as a public licensed premises. Responsible for delivery of the Halloween business.

Martin Rogers (Treasurer), Former Royal Engineer and construction industry manager. Responsible for Fort finances and operation of Café. Principle areas of interests are the development of the Great Lines Heritage Park and project management of capital restoration projects.

Keith Gulvin, part time university lecturer and consultant. Principle interests are research and publication of the history of Fort Amherst and associated works, management of heritage and archive collections. Fundraiser for capital projects. Only remaining founder member of the original Fort Amherst Trust.

Mission, Vision and Aims

The Mission

The mission of Fort Amherst Heritage Trust is to restore and protect Fort Amherst and develop it as a premier heritage and leisure attraction.

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Origins of Fort Amherst

In 1667 the Dutch raided the River Medway and attacked Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.  During the devastating attack, thirteen ships were destroyed and two were taken including the flagship of the fleet, the ‘Royal Charles’.  At that point in time there were no defences protecting the Dockyard against a land based attack; and the raid by the Dutch led to a review of the defences protecting this important site.  As well as improved defence of the River Medway, the review included proposals to protect the landward side of the Dockyard which would also serve to disrupt an invasion party heading towards London.  This is where the story of Fort Amherst and Chatham Lines begins.

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Modern History

During WWII the tunnels were utilised by the Anti-Invasion Planning Unit and Civil Defence, who used a section as their headquarters.  This is where Civil Defence was co-ordinated for the North Kent area in the event of bombing as well as support and assistance to the general public after such an incident.  A section of the tunnels has been reconstructed into the Civil Defence HQ as it was in 1939.

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Volunteering

Fort Amherst is staffed principally by volunteers and there are many opportunities to use your skills in a number of different areas. 

The Fort has over 20 acres of land; half of this has been restored and maintained.  Maintaining this land is a continuous job that requires a dedicated team of volunteers with an interest in working outside clearing vegetation, restoring brickwork, general maintenance, and generally keeping the site as tidy as possible. As well as this we have 10 acres of unrestored land which needs to be cared for with a longer term plan to fully restore it in the future. 

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Volunteer FAQs

What age do I have to be?

•    In general there is no minimum or maximum age provided you are making a useful contribution and that the activities you are undertaking are suitable for your age and there is no legal minimum age requirement for the task i.e. driving.
•    If you are under 18 your parent or legal guardian must give permission for you to volunteer and you must be supervised by an adult and not left alone.  As we cannot guarantee to always provide supervision this may mean that younger people are unable to volunteer without the company of their parent or guardian.

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Human Resources

There are many opportunities here at Fort Amherst for volunteers to help us with the ongoing work required to keep this important historic site open to the public, free of charge, throughout the year. In addition we have a small number of paid roles within our events and catering teams. Details of any vacancies at the Fort will be advertised here.  

PAID STAFF VACANCIES: We currently have no paid staff vacancies - but keep checking back as they will be posted here as and when they are available. 

VOLUNTEERING VACANCIES: We currently have volunteering vacancies - please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. 

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Fort Amherst Heritage Trust and Medway Council submit bid to Heritage Lottery Fund for Command of the Heights project at Chatham fort

For the article with photos (including design images) click here.

A project that began more than three decades ago to restore one of Medway’s oldest military sites, is one step closer to being completed. Work to restore Fort Amherst in Chatham and open it to the public began in the 1980s and the countdown has begun to see if a final bid for £1.8m will be accepted.

The Command of the Heights project includes plans for an amphitheatre with seating for up to 250 people in the Sunken Courtyard which sits within the Spur Battery, the final part of the fort to be restored. It is a joint project between Fort Amherst Heritage Trust and Medway Council and aims to reconnect the town with its military roots and uncover secrets from the past.

Fort trustee Martin Rogers and the Command of the Heights project officer for Medway Council, Nicola Moy, have been working together on the bid. Mr Rogers said: “A lot of preparation has gone into the preparation of the next stage of the bid. Fingers crossed, I’m hopeful. I think it is important more of this area is opened to the public and to reveal more of the history of Medway’s military roots.”

The plans also include the restoration of the historic entrance to the fort via Barrier Road behind the Brook Theatre, and the demolition of Riverside One building next to Chatham bus station to recreate the outline of the Barrier Ditch. There will also be a play area near the bus station, as well as improved access from Brompton and the Great Lines Heritage Park via the RSME Bicentenary Bridge to Fort Amherst and the centre of Chatham.

As well as the building works, there will also be improvements to signs around the fort, a new range of family activities, volunteering opportunities and projects with the local colleges and universities. The first stage of the bid, creating the detailed designs and proposals for the development, cost £237,000 and is now complete.

Over the last year, volunteers have dedicated £200,000 worth of hours to help with the project, from clearing the site to carrying out archaeological digs. The second bid, for just under £1.8m, which will allow the work to go ahead was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund on November 28.

A decision is due in March and if the bid is successful, work will begin in late next year or early 2018 and is expected to finish in summer 2020.

Visitor Information

Opening Times: The parkland grounds of Fort Amherst are open free of charge 7 days a week (upper part of site with pedestrian access only between Brompton and the Great Lines Heritage Park) from dawn to dusk. The lower area is open from 9am until 4pm daily. Please check our events diary or call for possible tunnel/site/café closures before visiting to avoid disappointment. 

Tunnel Tours: During the Summer our Tunnel Tours take place twice daily at 11am and 2pm. During the Winter our Tunnel Tours take place at 11am only. Our Summer hours commence from the 3rd of April 2017.

Please check our 'Tunnel Tours' section or call for possible additional tunnel closures before visiting to avoid disappointment.

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Car Parking

Car Parking at Fort Amherst (except during certain events)

Available Monday - Friday on a full or part time basis

Fort Amherst is offering the opportunity for members of the public to purchase car parking at the Fort either on a monthly or a daily basis. A monthly pass for parking Monday - Friday is charged at £40.00 per month, payable in advance by direct debit.  For those who would like parking at the Fort for part of the week only, we offer a monthly pass for 1 day per week for £10.00 or 2 days per week at £20.00 etc. In addition there is a one off administration charge of £10.00 to cover the cost of issuing your pass.

Daily paid parking is still available on a first come first served basis. However, please be advised that a space is not guaranteed and that the charge is £2.50 per day.

If you are interested in taking a car parking place at the Fort, please contact the office by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ADVANCE NOTICE - CHANGES TO PARKING AT FORT AMHERST

Please note that from Tuesday 18th October to Friday 18th November inclusive, the upper car park (Parade Ground) will be closed due to our Halloween Horrors events followed a period of filming. We will not be permitting any daily paid parking during those days - all permit holding parking is unaffected but everyone will have to park in the lower car park only so please park considerately and as close to the car next to you as possible.

This advance notice is issued to give daily parkers time to make alternative arrangements for parking during this period.

Normal service will resume on Saturday 19th November 2016

 

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  1. Volunteer Charter

Subcategories

  • Vacancies

    There are many opportunities here at Fort Amherst for volunteers to help us with the ongoing work required to keep this important historic site open to the public, free of charge, throughout the year. In addition we have a small number of paid roles within our events and catering teams. Details of any vacancies at the Fort will be advertised here.   

    VOLUNTEERING VACANCIES: We currently have several volunteering vacancies - please see those available below.

    PAID STAFF VACANCIES: We currently have no paid staff vacancies – please check back as they will be posted here when available.