- Plymouth Sound
Location map|United Kingdom
caption=Map of the UK showing the location of Plymouth Sound at 50.343°N, 4.143°W (grid reference mmukscaled|SX4751|100|SX4751)coord|50.343|N|4.143|W|type:landmark|display=title
Plymouth Sound, or locally just The Sound, is a bay at
Its south west and south east corners are Penlee Point in
Cornwalland Wembury Pointon Devon, a distance of about 3 nautical miles (6 km). Its northern limit is Plymouth Hoegiving a north-south distance of nearly 3 nautical miles (6 km).
The Sound has three water entrances. The marine entrance is from the
English Channelto the south, with a deep-water channel to the west of the breakwater. There are two freshwater intlets: one, from the northwest, is from the River Tamarvia the Hamoazeand Devonport Dockyard, the largest naval dockyard in western Europe. The other, at northeast, is from the River Plymdisgorrging into its narrow estuary, Cattewaterharbour between Mount Battenand the Royal Citadel.
In addition to ships of the
Royal Navy, large commercial vessels, including ferries to Franceand Spainuse the Sound from Millbay Docks. Fishing vessels use it from Sutton Harbour beside the old town of Plymouth, called the Barbican. There are marinas at Sutton Harbour, Mount Wise in the Hamoaze and at Turnchapel.
In the centre of the Sound, midway between
Bovisand Bayand Cawsand Bay, is " Plymouth Breakwater", which creates a harbourprotecting anchored ships from the frequent south-western storms. The breakwater is around convert|1700|yd long, stands in around 11 metres / 36 feet of water and was built by John Rennie and Joseph Whidbeystarting in 1812. The breakwater has a 23 metre / 75 foot tall lighthouseon its western end and a 9 metre / 30 foot tall beacon with a spherical cage on top at the eastern end. It is said that the cage is a life saving device designed to keep wrecked sailors from drowning in the huge waves of a storm on the low-lying breakwater. Drake's Islandis 400 metres long and around 100 metre wide and situated at the north of the Sound. It was fortified to defend Drake's Channel, the only deep-water route to Devonport. The "Bridge" is a shallow reef that links Drake's Island and the Cornish mainland. At low water the depth of the Bridge can be less than one metre but at high water it can rise to 5 metres. In World War Ithis natural barrier was supplemented by other obstructions to prevent submarines and small ships attacking the naval base. Mount Batten, a former Royal Air Force flying boatand search and rescuebase, is located at the northeast corner of the Sound. T. E. Lawrencewas stationed here as Aircraftsman Shaw.
Over the years, the Sound has been defended by Drakes Island,
Picklecombe Fort, Cawsand Fort, the Breakwater Fort, Fort Bovisand, Staddon Fortand Stamford Fort.
harbourand reservoir were built at Bovisand before the fortexisted to supply men-o-waranchored in the Sound with fresh water. Joseph Whidbey supervised the building of the Breakwater from Bovisand Lodge, from which there is a view down the full length of the breakwater.
The Sound has been the site of a number of aircraft crashes and
Die Fraumetta Catharina von Flensburg", a 53 ton brigantine, sank near Drake's Island in December 1786.
Short Sunderlandflying boat crashed in March 1942 between the Breakwater Fort and the breakwater lighthouse killing five passengers.
* In February 1943, a Lancaster bomber hit the cable of a
barrage balloonand crashed without survivors on the return from a raid on the U-boatpens at Lorient.
P&Oship " Nepaul" sank on the Shagstone in December 1890.
* The "
Glen Strathallan" luxury steam yacht was scuttled near the Shagstone as a site for scuba diving. This ship's triple expansion steam enginenow resides in the Science Museum in London.
* [http://www.plymouthdata.info/Breakwater.htm Breakwater info]
Fort Bovisand, Kendal McDonald ISBN 0-9528637-1-5
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