The Grand Shaft (Grade II) entrance is at the foot of the cliffs. It was built between 1804 and 1807 as a short-cut for soldiers stationed in the barracks and forts of the Western Heights. It consists of a unique triple spiral staircase through the chalk cliff. Each staircase has 140 steps within the cliff and another 59 into the former Grand Shaft Barracks’ yard. Notices placed at the top of each staircase changed slightly over the years. One version is: ‘1 For Officers and their ladies, 2 For Sergeants and their wives, 3 For Soldiers and their women’. The original purpose, however, was for speed rather than class distinction. In the event of the invasion threatened by Napoleon Bonaparte, troops could be quickly assembled at sea level.