66. Visit Purdown Percy

Free to do
Can do in my area
No planning needed
All year round
Great for little'uns with parents (under 6)

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Visit the home of the legendary super-gun Purdown Percy and discover discover the myths of this WW2 Anti-Aircraft gun

Back to the future
Purdown Percy by Jason Merrick

Why do it?

Purdown Percy was the stuff of legend during WWII. The people of Bristol could here him fire from miles around, and believed that he was a huge super-gun that could blast enemy aircraft out of the skies.

This anti-aircraft gun definitely helped to defend the city from enemy bombers at a time when people thought things would never get any better, but how much do we really know about Purdown Percy - what can you find out?

It’s good to remember that even when things look really bleak there are always people working to make them better – could you be one of them?

How to do this in Bristol

The WW2 Anti-Aircraft gun emplacements can be found in Purdown, an area in Lockleaze. The site can be found in the shadow of the massive Purdown Telecoms Tower that was built over the Purdown barracks.

The site originally housed four gun pits which each contained a 3.7-inch QF gun. These were joined in 1943 by two further rectangular pits to the east and a 40mm Bofors gun used to fire incendiary shells.

Purdown was one of eight permanent gun batteries used to defend Bristol from enemy aircraft. These guns were so loud that they could be heard from as far away as Fishponds and Kingswood. This created a local legend that the hill was home to just one super-gun called Purdown Percy.

What is the truth about Purdown Percy?

Here is a link to photographs of the site

What you will need

  • Strong walking boots.

  • Tough clothing.

  • A packed lunch and drinking water.

  • A camera/ smartphone or sketchpad to record what you can see.

Safety tips

It would be a good idea to let someone at home know where and when you are going, and when you plan to be back.

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