Hurst Castle, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is a coastal artillery fortress built by Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544, the defences of which were extended and updated in the 1860s and 1870s. Active military use came to an end only after the Second World War. The castle retains evidence of its original use and subsequent adaptation. Its dramatic location, chosen because of its strategic importance, renders the castle subject to hostile environmental conditions.
Hurst castle is situated at the end of a mile long shingle spit at the western entrance to the Solent. This location was of strategic importance for the defence of Portsmouth and Southampton and was of considerable significance as a navigational aid. The castle is essentially tripartite: a compact Tudor fortress in the centre, with Victorian wings added to its east and west sides. Access to the castle is through a gateway in the west wing.
Lying at the heart of the castle is the artillery fortress constructed in the 1540s by Henry VIII. This consists of a 12-sided tower or keep standing within a narrow courtyard defined by an outer curtain with three projecting semi-circular bastions. Between the bastions the curtain has salient angles, echoing the polygonal plan of the central tower.
In 2012, Alastair Coey Architects were appointed to the condition survey framework of Conservation consultants for the South East Region of England by English Heritage. Alastair Coey Architects have held an ongoing role within the framework, providing elemental and condition surveys as part of the K2 asset management database system currently operated by English Heritage.