AN EXCITING project to restore the White Horse at Osmington to its original glory is in full swing thanks to a community effort and a renewal of funding.

Teams of volunteers have been working to remove the 140 tonnes of stone scalpings that were spread on the monument 20 years ago by the Challenge Anneka TV programme.

Up to 150 Dorset Army Cadets spent their summer camp shovelling scalpings into builders’ bags on the steep hillside, while a Sea King helicopter from The Royal Navy helped with collection.

Earlier this month, renewed funding by Natural England for the £20,000 project has enabled Dorchester contractors Gregorys Fen-cing and Landscaping to complete the preparatory work.

Geoff Codd, chairman of the Osmington Society, said: “Everything’s going very well, our target for completion is the middle of next year. The aim of the current stage of the project is to remove the remainder of the 140 tonnes of scalpings.

“Earlier this summer, a huge amount of progress was made.

“Local contractors Gregorys have bagged up the remaining scalpings to be removed in two separate lifts by Veritair helicopters.

“We then intend to prepare for the restoration of the outline of the figure, which has changed over time due to prevailing winds and weeds.”

Mr Codd, who has been co-ordinating the project for more than a year, said it was a blow when the initial funding promised by Natural England was withdrawn but that recently the organisation said it could restore some of the funding originally promised.

He added: “We’ve gathered quite a lot of support, as well as the outstanding help by the Army, Navy and community, local businesses have also been doing their bit.

“Warmwell Quarries donated the bulk of the builder bags we’ve been using. Thomas Hardye School sixth form have offered to come and spend a day. It’s a community effort.”

Retired Chris Bird, a keen photographer from Osming-ton, was inspired to get involved in the digging after taking photos of the Dorset cadets in action.

To get involved visit the Friends of Osmington White Horse page online at