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Hurst Castle named in list of 25 global monuments at significant risk

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HURST Castle has been named on a global watch list of 25 heritage sites facing significant challenge from threats such as climate change.

The structure, built in the 1540s by Henry VIII and later extended, has been the subject of £3m English Heritage protection scheme after erosion caused a significant section collapsed into sea last February.

The castle is among those identified by the World Monuments Fund, an international independent organisation that seeks to safeguard treasured sites, for urgent preservation work.

Hurst Castle has been damaged by coastal erosion
Hurst Castle has been damaged by coastal erosion

As reported in the A&T, English Heritage recently announced that the east wing has now been stabilised, with a new permanent revetment sea defence for the next 50 years set to be completed soon.

Its inclusion on the World Monuments Watch list was due to it demonstrating the global challenges of climate change.

Located at the end of the remote and exposed shingle spit, Hurst Castle is subjected to immense forces of wind and tide.

English Heritage estates director Rob Woodside said: “We’re grateful that Hurst Castle has been recognised on the World Monuments Watch as it is a great opportunity to highlight the challenge of managing heritage in the light of sea level rise and climate change.

“With changes in longshore drift and more frequent storms, Hurst Castle is amongst the most difficult heritage sites to protect in England, but the threat of rapid coastal erosion is also faced by heritage organisations around the world.

"We’re hoping, through our work, to share lessons learnt with those facing similar challenges.”

Jason Crane of Hurst Marine, which run the castle on behalf of English Heritage, added: “In the last five years, Hurst Castle has faced immense challenges due to its proximity to the sea and the increasing erosion of the beach.

“In my lifetime of involvement with Hurst Castle it has been the greatest threat the castle has had to face.

"The collapse which occurred in February 2021 was devastating, so it is a great news that the site is going to be included in the World Monuments Watch, putting a spotlight on the challenges the castle is facing and hopefully helping to preserve the heritage for future generations.”

The biennial World Monuments Watch list was founded in 1996 and includes heritage places nominated by individuals and community-based organisations across the globe.

To date, the World Monuments Fund said it has has contributed more than $110m toward projects at more than 300 watch sites, helping to leverage an additional $300m from other sources.

The full list of 2022 Watch sites can be seen online at www.wmf.org/2022watch

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