Brean Down through history

Brean Down fort, Somerset

A walk on Brean Down will take you on a journey from Neolithic man to the peninsula's vital role defending the South West during the Second World War.

Hidden Brean

The earliest signs of life on Brean Down date back to 10,000 BC. Evidence of extinct creatures such as mammoths and woolly rhinos has been uncovered here.
People have been living, farming and fighting on the down since the Stone Age. Signs of the early settlers are still visible today.
Ancient field systems and the archaeological remains of a Roman temple lie near the steps on Brean’s south side.
There used to be an Iron Age hill-fort on the east side, near Harry Cox's house. You can still see its banks and ditches.

The Palmerston Fort

Brean Down's fort was built to defend the country against a possible Napoleonic invasion. The fort is now a ruin, but you can still wander around the buildings and imagine what life must have been like living and working on the down.

Defending the nation

There are examples of Brean’s military past all over the down. Gun platforms are just one example of the important part Brean Down has played in defending the Bristol Channel over the years.
In the Second World War, bomber planes practised flying around Brean and the Somerset coast. There is a large concrete arrow on the top of the down. It used to be painted white.It was used to direct planes to their practice ranges. 
During the war, soldiers trained on the six Lewis Guns, light machine guns.They practised by shooting at targets in the bay at Weston-Super-Mare.The machine gun emplacements can still be seen today.