A night-time view of restored dockyard area at Gosport.

Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, Hampshire. General view of restored dockyard, now housing. © Historic England, James O Davies DP059866
Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, Hampshire. General view of restored dockyard, now housing. © Historic England, James O Davies DP059866

Gosport Heritage Action Zone

Gosport’s Heritage Action Zone is pooling the skills and resources of a number of partners to save the town's military heritage – from barracks to trenches and green spaces – using it as an anchor to support the town’s regeneration so that the local community will benefit.

Gosport is a town on the south coast of England, not far from Portsmouth. In the late-17th century Portsmouth began to grow rapidly – the Navy created a significant demand for beer, meat, bread and other goods. Tradesmen in Gosport supplied some of Portsmouth's needs and as a result, the town grew too.

Gosport is home to a number of naval buildings and places of historic interest. Whilst Gosport is still home to HMS Sultan and a Naval Armament Supply Facility as well as a Helicopter Repair base, many of the historic buildings are derelict and in need of a new use and lease of life.

Projects coming up

From feasibility studies to place making and public engagement – a number of separate projects will add up to make a big difference to Gosport’s future prosperity.

Survey of Browndown First World War practice trenches

The First World War practice trenches at Browndown are well-preserved. This survey project aims to raise awareness of these important remains, a source of information about the past, and engage the local community.

Read about Brune Park School's visit to the trenches

The survey being carried out by Historic England will define the extent of the surviving remains, providing a better understanding of their characteristics to inform the future management and presentation of the trenches.

The survey aims to:

  1. Understand the extent, layout and development of the trenches at Browndown
  2. Raise awareness of these well-preserved trenches as an educational resource
  3. Provide easy and timely access to the completed research, this may ultimately also include leaflets, signage and on-line resources
  4. Encourage children and young people to appreciate the heritage of Gosport and its place in the wider world
A group of secondary school pupils and their teacher look at a site plan with an archaeologist.
Pupils from Brune Park School met archaeologists surveying the Browndown practice trenches site for their research and to 'ask the archaeologist' about their role

‘Practice’ trenches

‘Practice’ trenches were dug to train troops before they were sent to the Western Front and some can still be found across England. At the beginning of the war with the huge influx of recruits into the army, the digging of practice trenches was a means of imparting a valuable military skill to the volunteer soldier, building up men’s fitness and fostering team spirit.

More about 'practice' trenches

Area assessment of Royal Clarence Yard

Another project aims to unlock business potential on the waterfront, particularly for marine related industries.

Royal Clarence Yard is where regeneration has been taking place for more than 20 years. It is home to a number of historic buildings dating back to the 17th century.

An assessment will help us to understand the site better and put a plan in place to help manage future development – and above all, helping to facilitate economic opportunities along this exceptional waterfront.

It is hoped that the area will benefit from new signage, information panels on the areas that are rich in history, and a lighting scheme to encourage evening/night time business opportunities.

When the project is complete, it's hoped the site will attract inward investment and help to boost tourism.

General view of restored dockyard
Royal Clarence Yard converted to housing © Historic England DP059865

Partners

The HAZ brings together established groups and partnership who share a passion for the potential of Gosport’s heritage. They include:

  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Defence Infrastructure Organisation
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Gosport Society

Get involved

There will be opportunities to get involved in the Gosport HAZ and to celebrate its naval heritage through events, publications and tours.

Keep up to date by following the project on Twitter @HE_SouthEast

Entrance block to barracks with lamp post in front
St Georges Barracks entrance block © Historic England DP075236
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