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UPDATE: Castle ruins get a new lease of life
HISTORIC Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth has risen from the ruins to escape the national heritage danger list.
The Grade I listed fort has been taken off English Heritage’s latest Heritage at Risk Register of buildings, scheduled monuments, places of worship, parks, gardens, battlefields and conservation areas.
Sandsfoot, which is a Scheduled Monument, was removed from the risk list after a major restoration project thanks to a £194,700 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.
Friends chairman David Carter said: “The work that’s enabled Sandsfoot to come off the register is something that we’re very pleased and proud about.
“The friends and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have been working on this since it started in 2009.
“Specifically it’s involved the parks and gardens department at the council, particularly Tara Gooding and Carl Dallinson.
“It’s only been made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
He added: “The friends have managed to hold a series of events to raise the profile and promote the castle.”
The castle is one of a pair completed by Henry VIII in 1539 to protect the Portland harbour anchorage – the other is Portland Castle.
The 16th century ruin was on English Heritage’s at risk register as it was built on soft clay and suffering erosion and instability.
It was out of bounds and fenced off for many years because it was unsafe The HLF grant was used to fund consolidation and repair works. The scheme included stabilising the walls, removing railings and building an internal viewing walkway.
Lighting and interpretation panels were also added. The gardens were also revamped and now have benches as well a cafe and ponds.
After the renovation it received a Weymouth Civic Society award and the gardens also hold a green flag award.
The friends group is to make a new, free audio guide available on its website at sandsfootcastle .org.uk within a fortnight.
Mr Carter said that he believed it was the first free audio guide in Weymouth and Portland.
He urged people to attend the friends’ annual meeting on Monday November 18 at St Nicholas Church in Buxton Road at 7pm.
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