It’s a feast of fun at Fort Nelson

Archie and Stan Godden have a go at Fort Nelson's assault course.

Archie and Stan Godden have a go at Fort Nelson's assault course.

Martin Montague at his home in Swanmore   Picture: Sarah Standing (170555-6583)

‘I’m not ashamed of where I grew up’

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For children that need to let off some steam after a cooped-up Christmas (and parents that need to work off all those mince pies), there’s a military obstacle course at the Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson.

Until Sunday, January 6, the fort on Portsdown Hill will be home to a costumed sergeant major who will be putting families through their paces with obstacle-course training and gun-drill practice between 10.30am and 4pm daily.

The Royal Armouries’ education team devised the have-a-go gun drill activity earlier this year to teach young people about the Victorian Fort’s history and the troops who lived and worked there.

The muzzle-loading gun drill is also suitable for adults and teaches visitors the different aspects of a gun drill, both during a practice loading session and then working against the clock.

Participants begin by cleaning the gun piece, using a process known as worming and sponging.

They then ‘ram’ the charge and the shot to make it ready to fire, before simulating firing the cannon.

The fort is home to one of the world’s finest collections of artillery and cannon, from across the ages and all corners of the globe.

Museum entry and parking are free, but a £3 charge applies for the obstacle course and gun drill practice.

Also taking place during the Christmas school holidays are daily guided tours of the fort, bringing to life some of the facts and stories behind the building and the National Collection of Artillery (£3).

Plus, there are self-guided walks of differing lengths available in a brief guide and map format. These help visitors explore areas inside and outside the fort (which has recently undergone a £3.5m refurbishment) and cost £1 per guide

For further details, call 01329 233 73 or see royalarmouries.org

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