Browndown Ranges (north), Gosport, Hampshire

Author(s): Olaf Bayer, Fiona Small, Mark Bowden

As part of the Gosport Heritage Action Zone Historic England’s Archaeological Investigation Team undertook a detailed study of Browndown Ranges (north). The project’s principal aim was to better understand the extent and layout of a series of recently discovered First World War practice trenches. Analytical earthwork survey and aerial investigation and mapping took place between 2019 and 2022. Features recorded include a probable round barrow of presumed early Bronze Age date, an extensive area of First World War practice trenches, a Second World War Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, and a series of Second World War and later grenade ranges. The First World War trenches at Browndown Ranges (north) stand out as one of the best preserved and most complex examples in England. They represent at least two phases of trench digging and reflect two distinct activities: the practice excavation of trenches for troops to learn trench construction techniques, as well as to build individual fitness and group cohesion; and the provision of ‘text book’ training environments, mimicking sections of the Western Front, where troops learned to live and fight in trenches.

Report Number:
Research Report
Bronze Age Medieval Anti-Aircraft Battery First World War Practice Trench Second World War Barrow Trench


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