Wellington Monument project update
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Standing high on the Blackdown Hills, the Wellington Monument, at 174ft (53m), is the tallest three-sided obelisk in Britain. Building started in 1817 to celebrate the Duke of Wellington's victories which culminated in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Monument has repeatedly needed major repairs, and we are now exploring solutions for its serious structural defects, its ongoing conservation and how to improve the site for visitors.
Research and surveys
We have been undertaking historical research which has revealed previously unknown information, including the fact that you should be able to view both the Bristol Channel and the English Channel from the Monument.
We are also reviewing all technical data from surveys which have taken place over the last 10 years and using national experts to help analyse the extent of the damage. This will help us to show where more work is needed and also to use the data to help guide our options for repair.
New calculations are being done on how much the monument moves and sensors, recording movement, are going to be installed. A three dimensional scan will be carried out which will allow us to identify where there are cracks and which stones are loose, and to monitor any new cracks. We will monitor new stone loss on a monthly basis which will again help us to understand the size of the problem.
Improving the site for visitors
Work was undertaken last year to improve the site for visitors including improving the car park surface, installation of benches and the cutting back of trees to open up the views as you reach the Monument for the first time from the car park - it is a truly stunning view and shows the enormity of this mighty structure. We have also just had the original iron door repaired and later this year, we plan to remove more trees to improve the views further and are installing new signage.
Why not discover more about the Monument and enjoy our downloadable walk - Monument Meander. This is a moderate walk, of around 1 mile which takes you along the beach-lined avenue and out into the wildlife rich meadow surrounding the Monument.
The Trust is keen to let the people of Wellington and surrounding villages get more involved with the work. An open day was held in September (2013) which proved really popular with local people who were able to go up the tower and talk to members of the project team. We want to continue this involvement and over 2014 will be seeking the views of stakeholders on why the monument is special and important to them. This information is vital in helping us think about the future of the monument.