At first sight the Verne High Angle Battery looks all wrong. It is set back from the cliff edge low down in an old quarry, out of sight of the sea. How could they fire the guns through all that rock? The clue is in the name.
As the nearby Display Board explains: The guns were fire in a near vertical position (that is to say at a high angle) with the aim of piercing through the relatively thin top decks of the attacking ships. Being down in a quarry also meant that the guns were hidden from view of passing ships
It was built built in 1892, and housed six RML 9 inch 12 ton guns. The guns were directed by observers in position finding cells, two at Priory Corner on West Cliff and four on East Cliff. The roofless remains of the latter are still visible.
As with the One Hundred Ton Gun in Gibraltar, muzzle loading guns such as these had already been rendered obsolete by the invention of the significantly more powerful Smokeless Gun Powder by Sir Andrew Noble in 1884.
After a short life span of just six years, the guns were taken out of service in 1898. The battery was decommissioned in 1906 and abandoned in 1907. From 1918 the battery was used to store field guns from France, and during the Second World War it was used as an ammunition store.
The site is open at all times. Although the tunnels into the ammunition stores have gates across them, these are not usually locked and, with care and a torch, they can be explored.