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Portsmouth Harbour and The Solent Video

Transcript Of Narration
Portsmouth harbour is located on the west side of Portsmouth and with a narrow harbour entrance of only 200 yards provides a safe and defendable harbour for shipping. The first to recognise the importance of Portsmouth’s potential as a port for shipping was Marcus Aurelius Carausius who in approximately 285AD commissioned Portchester Castle to be built at the top of the harbour to repel attacks harrying trade with Rome.

In 1495 King Henry VII built the world’s first dry dock in Portsmouth. During subsequent years the Royal Navy grew and so too did Portsmouth’s dockyard. With the increase in size of the dockyard and the fleet Portsmouth became vulnerable to attack and hence fortifications were built these included the Round Tower, Square Tower and Southsea Castle. Regular wars with the French in the 18th century meant the dockyard flourished.

Portsmouth Harbour is a lively waterway with Gosport on one side and Portsmouth on the other. At the top of the harbour is Portchester castle and Portsdown hill. The harbour not only caters for the Royal Navy but also has a thriving commercial ferry port with ferries serving many places including Spain and France.

On the Gosport side of the harbour Hasler Marina is home to many smaller pleasure craft of varying types and sizes.

As you leave Portsmouth Harbours mouth you emerge into the Solent which is a busy shipping water way. On a clear day you can see across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. You may also notice four forts within the solent these are Horse Sands Fort, No Mans Land Fort, St Helens Fort and Spitbank Fort. All were designed in the 1860’s to protect Portsmouth against a suspected invasion but were in fact never needed. More on the forts a bit later.

The royal naval base located within Portsmouth Harbour is nearly 300 acres in size with three miles of waterfront. Portsmouth Harbour sees around 35 continental ferry movements per day as well as all the naval and pleasure crafts. Portsmouth is home to 60% of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. This leads us on to Portsmouth’s Naval Base and historic dockyard.