History set to come back to life at Reigate Fort

Reigate Fort is set to come alive again in June with two days of “living history.”

For the 10th Essex Living History Group will be setting up camp there on Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8, for the Reigate Fort Garrison Days.

The fort was built in 1898 and was one of 13 which ran along the North Downs to Essex.

It was built to protect London from an attack by the French, which never came. Constructed as a mobilisation centre, it held cutting tools for clearing trees and digging tools for entrenching.

The fort was used in World War One for ammunition storage. It has been looked after by the National Trust since 1932, and was restored in 2000.

Its ramparts are open daily, but access into the fort’s buildings is restricted. The site offers fine views of Reigate, the Weald and the South Downs, with nearby Colley Hill a favourite for dog walkers. Last year, a two-year archaeological study of Reigate Fort was announced by Surrey County Council’s Archaeological Unit (SCAU) as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project delving into its past. The project was the first of its kind, presenting opportunities for people with a keen interest in military history and archaeology to join in.

The June Garrison Days are being mounted by the National Trust, and will include displays of marching and military practice of yesteryear, as well as gunfire and explosions.

They will run from 10am to 4pm both days.

Catering will be available from 9am to 5pm in the Wray Lane car park, Reigate, where picnic tables and toilets will also be available.

People are advised to wear suitable clothing for the weather and to park at Wray Lane car park, which is free, off Junction 8 of the M25, from where it is a short walk to the fort.

Booking is not required with entry, priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, payable direct to the National Trust at the gate.

The event is not suitable for dogs, other than Assistance Dogs.

Reigate Fort is accessible by wheelchair from Wray Lane car park.

For more details, visit the website at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/reigate-hill-and-gatton-park/things-to-see-and-do/events/ Alternatively, call National Trust Reigate, North Downs East, on 01342 843225, or email: reigate@nationaltrust.org.uk

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