Roseisle WW2 defences

Along the Moray coast, in the forest of Roseisle, lie the remains of coastal defences from World War Two.

In the summer of 1940, the threat of German invasion was very real. The British defence plan outlined a need to protect areas of the coast where the enemy could land.

One such area was Moray. This led to the construction of a series of defence structures that ran between Cullen Bay and Burghead Bay, through today's Roseisle and Lossie Forests.

Along the beach at Burghead Bay, where Roseisle Forest now stands, a line of concrete anti-tank blocks and pillboxes were constructed.

Due to coastal erosion and the movement of the sand, some of these defences have been lost or moved. For example, a few pillboxes have tipped over due to the movement of the sand.

Nearby Lossie offers a more complete representation of what the defences would have looked like during World War Two. Even there, however, it is difficult to picture what it was like.

Lossie forest coast smallest

Aerial photographs, taken by the Royal Air Force in 1941, show a dramatically different looking landscape.  Various observation posts ran along the coastline, some to keep watch on the beaches and others to keep watch for aircraft.

The barbed wire that lined the beaches is now long gone. Lengths of man-made earth banks and dug-out ditches created more obstacles for the Germans to cross. Today these are difficult to detect, as ditches were filled back in with earth and the banks levelled.