Exit Lanildut in the direction of Porspoder and take the first road on the left, towards the harbour. Park on the large earth platform at the end of the road and follow the coastal path.
The battery is 200m away.
Lanildut's harbour experienced heavy traffic when Aber-Ildut's granite quarries supplied Europe with quality stones and when local barges successfully traded cabotage from Atlantic's ports to those of English Channel and North Sea. Granite blocks, but also wheat, wine, sails and other linen fabrics were commonly transported.
In times of war against England, all these goods were easy catches for an enemy with many intrepid ships. From then on, defending the harbour of Lanildut became essential.
It was under Louis XV, during the War of the Austrian Succession, that a battery was installed at the entrance to the harbour.
The installations consisted of two successive platforms. The first one had two cannons. The second had just one. In the background, three small buildings had been built : a sentry box, a guard house and a powder armoury. A signal mast completed the assembly to communicate with the ships.
Abandoned only at the end of the 19th century, these small elements of coastal defence, more or less in ruins, lay under an abundant layer of soil and vegetation.
The guard house
A project to restore this rare military testimony was launched in 2002 by the municipality in agreement with several local associations. First of all, it was necessary to safeguard these ruins, which were constantly degraded by the passage of walkers. Only the larger of the two platforms deserved to be preserved. The ruins of the buildings were cleared and secured by volunteers from the association Aber-Ildut Loisirs et Culture and those from Ouvriers de Paix.
But how can we restore the defensive character of this ensemble without showing at least one cannon? None of those from wrecks of old ships could be suitable : they were too small because the coastal batteries had larger and heavier units than the on-board models.
It was necessary to make one of them from scratch : melt a brand new gun and make its mount ! A crazy project....
Thanks to funding from the Brittany Region and the Finistere's Council, after extensive research into documentation from the "Service Historique de la Marine", the first step was to manufacture the mount. This was given to students from 4th and 3d in the Adapted General and Vocational Education Section of Kerhallet College in Brest, under the supervision of their carpentry teacher. And as in the past, it was the oak wood from Cranou forest, south of Brest, that was chosen. With its fittings, made by a craftsman, the mount, completed in 2005, weighs nearly 900 kg.
To design a replica of an XVIIIth century cannon, it was Navy historian Jean-Yves Besselièvre who carried out the archival research. And thanks to a subscription, the nearly 1.5 ton gun was sunk in 2007 and transported on the freshly painted mount awaiting it in Lanildut.
The inauguration took place on 29 September 2007.
Today, walkers armed with their smartphones take pictures of themselves in front of these defensive remains and near the imposing replica of our former coastal artillery. They have no idea that this site is unique and that its enhancement is the result of an enormous educational effort that has certainly benefited students, but is also particularly intended for them.
READ MORE :
A very detailed documentation written in french by Jean-Yves Besselièvre and put online by the "Cercle d'Histoire Locale de Lanildut" can be found on the Internet :
La batterie de l'Aber
La restauration de la batterie de l'Aber Ildut
La batterie de l'Aber Ildut ( XVIIIe-XIXe)
Le canon de la batterie de l'Aber
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