Into the space age at The Needles New Battery

Black Arrow ready for testing

The Needles New Battery is a small site, further up the headland from the Old Battery. Its two underground rooms tell the fascinating story of British space rockets which were secretly tested here between the 1950s and 70s.

 

Australian launch

After testing at the New Battery, the rockets were taken to Woomera in Australia for launching. In the underground rooms of the New Battery, which were the nerve centre of this highly secret operation, there are models of the rockets Black Knight and Black Arrow, and the satellite Prospero. 
 

To the headland and beyond

The New Battery is at the start of the Needles headland. There are many spectacular cliff-top paths across West High Down to the Tennyson Monument and beyond. Before starting out, wander round to the Needles viewpoint to see the site of the former rocket gantries. There is also an excellent view back to the Needles rocks.
 

A refreshment stop

Inside the New Battery there is a refreshment kiosk selling hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks and ice-creams. Portable toilet facilities are also available during the main season.
 

Admission

There's no admission charge to the Needles New Battery, it is open 7 days a week, from 11am to 4pm. Access to the rooms is down a short flight of steps.
 

Getting there

From the Needles Old Battery there is a choice of two steep paths both with good views across to Alum Bay and the mainland. By the Old Battery entrance there is a flight of wide steps, alternatively follow the road up and around to the top.
 
The Needles Breezer Bus stops outside the New Battery. From here it is an easy walk down to the Old Battery.