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Tudor Keep at Hurst Castle to reopen to the public

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HURST Castle is set to reopen to the public amid major restoration work to repair the east and west wings after one collapsed into the sea.

The Tudor keep of the coastal fortress will open tomorrow (Saturday), but the Victorian east and west wings remain closed while English Heritage’s conservation and repair project is ongoing.

This followed the collapse of a huge section of the east wing in late February, just days before a project was due to start to underpin its foundations by English Heritage.

The east wing of the castle collapsed in late February (picture: Zack Maynard/408 Photography)
The east wing of the castle collapsed in late February (picture: Zack Maynard/408 Photography)

The organisation was subsequently accused by critics of being too slow to act on urgent warnings that the structure was at risk.

Upgrade work began following the delivery of 5,000 tonnes of rock boulders and 6,000 tons of shingle, and will involve the construction of a revetment in the sea.

Head of investment and involvement at English Heritage, Alex Sydney, said: "We are delighted that the team will now be able to welcome visitors back to the castle’s Tudor keep in time for the spring bank holiday weekend, as we start work on new defences to protect the castle.

"Given our project on site is likely to be ongoing for several months, we wanted to find a way to welcome visitors again this summer, particularly as it may not be possible to reopen the wider site for some time.

"We are extremely grateful to our local partners Hurst Marine – which runs the site on our behalf – for all their efforts to make this happen."

In 2017, English Heritage invested £1m in a major project to repair and conserve the castle’s roof, and two years later undertook an extensive £750,000 programme of works to stabilise the foundations of the west wing of the castle and reinforce its sea defences.

The charity underpinned the west wing’s foundations, replaced damaged groynes and barriers, and replenished the beach with 7,500 tonnes of shingle.

The Tudor keep is the most historic part of the castle – which is famous for being used to detain King Charles I before his execution in 1649.

Coffee, homemade cakes and other refreshments available from beside the castle entrance.

For more information on visiting the castle, see www.hurstcastle.co.uk

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