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Visit to Drake’s Island (Buildings Section)

Sat. 8 June 2024 at 1:45 pm


This island in Plymouth Sound is a Scheduled Monument with Grade II Listed buildings. Originally called St Nicholas or St Michael Island, from the mid C19 it was known as Drake’s Island. It is mostly occupied by military monuments because of its strategic position. In 1539, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, ownership was transferred from the Priors of Plympton to the Duchy of Cornwall until sold privately in 1996. Military use began in 1549 and by 1590 it had 23 guns and was as a major link in the coastal defences at the time of the Spanish Armada. After its vital role in the siege of Plymouth in the Civil War, it remained part of the coastal defence system until 1958. Earliest remains are the base of a C16 artillery tower and the seawall from the C17. C18 remains include a gatehouse, a courtyard and a curtain wall. There are extensive C19 remains including gun batteries and emplacements, extensive tunnels and stairways, an ammunition hoist, and a battery office.

13:45 Plymouth Barbican on the Drake’s Island ferry landing stage before the gangway to the ferry. Departure 14:00.

Parking: Closest car parks are Elphinstone Car Park, Elphinstone Road, PL1 2NU and Lambhay Car Park, 77 Lambhay Hill, PL1 2NR.

Ferry: Short ride to Drake’s Island. Cancellation very unlikely but contact Plymouth Boat Trips on 01752 253153 if concerned.

Conditions: Rough under foot, steps and tunnels. Please wear sensible footwear and take waterproof clothing. No disability access to or around the island. Toilets are available on the island.

Cost of the event: £23 including return ferry and guided tour

Tour will last about 2 hours. Numbers are limited to 40.

Leader: Judi Hardiman

Places at many of the Buildings Section events are limited due to the nature of the properties visited. Members of the Section have priority and have been sent details and booking forms. If you are not a member but would like to attend, please contact the Events Secretary – details under ‘Organiser’ below.


Sat. 8 June 2024
1:45 pm
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Buildings Section (Lydia Burge)