Five Napoleonic practice redoubts in both Crowthorne Woods and Bramshill Forest


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016331

Date first listed: 18-Jan-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Five Napoleonic practice redoubts in both Crowthorne Woods and Bramshill Forest
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bracknell Forest (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Crowthorne

National Grid Reference: SU 85983 64883, SU 86096 64682, SU 86468 64429, SU 87157 64396, SU 87453 64448


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Easthamstead Plain, the heathland plateau between Bracknell and Crowthorne, in 1792 was the scene of large scale military manoeuvres which have left an unusual combination of physical traces, and which appear to be unique in England. The exercises were designed to allow the Army to test its new Handbook of Military Manoeuvres, whilst sending signals of strength to continental Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution. They boosted morale in an Army still shocked by its defeat at the hands of revolutionaries in the American War of Independence, and demonstrated the Crown's ability to maintain order in the event of any Republican unrest in Britain. The manoeuvres lasted from 23 July to 8 August 1792. They adopted the strategy of building infantry or artillery redoubts as part of defensive lines behind which infantry squares and cavalry could be deployed. In essence, this was the strategy later used successfully by Wellington, notably at Waterloo. At Easthamstead Plain, the Army practised attacking a defensive line including eight specially constructed earthwork redoubts. The surviving redoubts are the only documented examples in England of a full battlefield defensive system of the Napoleonic period, equivalent in significance to the slightly later Royal Military Canal in Kent which was built to oppose the anticipated French invasion. They are therefore all considered to be of national importance and worthy of protection.

The five redoubts included in this monument all survive well and are extremely good examples of their class. In addition, they are an important element of the modern landscape and provide reference points and educational amenities for visitors within the extensive open woodland of Crowthorne Woods and Bramshill Forest.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes five of a series of practice redoubts constructed in 1792 in a 2km long line running north west-east along the edge of a plateau formerly known as Easthamstead Plain. The redoubts include earthen banks and ditches which individually measure between 45m and 53m across and are all roughly square. The redoubts are enclosed by open ditches measuring up to 3m wide and are all roughly 1m deep, although many are now partly infilled with leaf litter. Immediately inside the ditches stand low earthen banks 1m high externally and between 0.5m and 1m high internally. Where entrances exist, they are formed by causeways situated in the north east corners of the ditches and the rampart is normally slightly lower at this point. These gaps and the tops of the ramparts would have been further protected by earth-filled powder barrels and stockades where necessary. Easthamstead Plain, which lies north of Sandhurst Military College, contains many other examples of military training dating from the past 200 years, some of which are the subject of separate schedulings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28178

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing