Sandys Parish is yet another piece of Bermuda that is immersed in historical significance and home to military heritage site, Scaur Hill Fort and Park. Heading west over Somerset Bridge you are presented with windy limestone walls and woodland area that conceal the view of the fort, making it nearly invisible by land or ocean. The grand reveal awaits you when you reach the hilltop of the park. Here are 5 facts you should know about this hidden fortress before visiting!
1. In 1868, work on Fort Scaur began by The Royal Engineers of the British Army, with the purpose to protect the Royal Naval Dockyard from enemy invasion. In the event that foreign military managed to successfully navigate Bermuda’s challenging reef system, there would be a defensive dry moat from the edge of Ely’s Harbour all the way across to the coastline of the Great Sound. This expansive area would have been defended by gunmen, supported by the artillery placement of two 64 Pounder Rifled Muzzle-Loader (RML) guns on Moncrieff disappearing mounts. These guns had a firing range of up to 4,000 yards and could swivel 360-degrees before disappearing back below into the earth. A replica of one now remains. Fort Scaur saw its completion in the 1880’s, and while it impressively established its rule in the west end region, it was never needed to defend enemy combat.
2. Fort Scaur provides the blueprints for a more modern and innovative approach to traditional military construction. It utilizes the Prussian System designed by German engineers in the nineteenth century which gives forts greater protection by arranging defensive elements in a polygonal shape.
3. Among the many fortifications found dotted across the island, Fort Scaur, was one of the first to be opened to the general public to enjoy back in 1957. Panoramic views of the Great Sound, on site amenities, picnic benches and underground passageways to explore make it an ideal location for a family day out with the little ones. The fort is open daily with no admission fees between 10 AM and 4:30 PM. The grounds of the property can be accessed until the evening, and we highly recommend stopping by for an unforgettable sunset overlooking Ely’s Harbour.
4. At the entrance of the fort, visitors will have the pleasure of witnessing an early Bermuda weather stone, which is modest in its engineering design yet very effective at reading the weather in any present moment. Adjacent to the stone you will find an amusing sign depicting its simple science.
5. Accompanying the fort, is 22 acres of walking trails and parkland to explore. The further you venture into the woodland area, the more abundant flora and fauna you will find such as mature Bermuda Cedar trees, chirping Kiskadees, and Jamaican Anole lizards. Some paths even connect to the Bermuda Railway Trail, which is the perfect walking route for any avid nature lover looking to immerse themselves into the serene ‘countryside’ of Sandys Parish.