Dartmouth Castle, which for 600 years has presided over the security of Dartmouth is one of the most picturesque fortresses in the whole of England. Originally begun in 1388 by the Mayor of Dartmouth, John Hawley it was enhanced a hundred years later by addition of the gun tower for use with heavy cannon. There are seven gunports in the sea facing walls of the square tower and four slits for muskets and three lower gunports housed in the round tower, Further defence mechanisms were located on the roof of Dartmouth Castle, including pivots for light guns, and the turret provided a good vantage point for sighting a possible invasion from either sea or land.
Protecting the wharfs, warehouses and traders ensured that Dartmouth was a safe port or haven for traders.
Looking to the far bank visitors can see that a heavy chain was also employed across the river to deter invading ships from sailing up the estuary. Not only were the ships trapped by the chain, they were then blasted by the cannon!
The castle and its associated churh of St Petrox saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. The castle was contunually updated including the Victorian 'Old Battery' with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and maze of passages.
Despite an invasion in 1646, Dartmouth Castle has survived in a remarkable state of preservation. Some major alterations and additions took place during the 16th and 17th centuries to improve the castle.
The castle is easy to reach and is only a few minutes walk toward the mouth of the river.
See more information at English Heritage