New project to improve access to Penshaw Monument

A family walking at Penshaw Monument

Often referred to as ‘the first sign of home’ by locals, Penshaw Monument is a familiar landmark towering above the skyline across Tyne and Wear.

The Grade I listed monument- a half-sized replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens- celebrates its 175th birthday this year.

Thanks to funding from Highways England, work has begun to repair the steps leading up to the monument and provide new on-site information boards, bringing the stories and legends of the Monument alive.

£200,000 of partnership funding has been granted from Highways England Environment Designated Fund, which supports projects that preserve the landscape for the benefit of communities.

Severe weathering to the main pathway has limited access to the monument, and eroded the surrounding grassland, an important habitat for nature.

The funding from Highways England will be used to mprove access to the monument for the 60,000 people who visit every year and reduce erosion on Penshaw hill, helping the surrounding habitat to thrive.

" We’re delighted to be partnering with the National Trust to protect and restore the monument which is an iconic heritage feature known and enjoyed by road users travelling on the A1 and A19. This work will allow visitors to safely access the monument while improving the environment around this historic site. "
- Jim Hunter, Highways England’s principal cultural heritage advisor

The new steps will be a sandstone riser topped with a limestone step that compliments the monument stonework, and will be built in a similar style and position as the previous timber steps.

We're also carrying out conservation work to the monument itself, including minor stone repair and repointing of the base of the monument and undertaking ground surveys to understand more about the underlying features of Penshaw hill. 

This information will be used to improve signage and information at the site, revealing more about the fascinating history of this special place. 

Work is expected to be completed by late spring 2020. Penshaw monument will remain fully accessible while the new steps are being installed, with temporary diversions in place while sections of the steps are being replaced.