A DORSET monument is set to reopen after a break for the winter.

The Hardy Monument at Black Down above Portesham is to reopen to visitors for the season on Wednesday, April 17, the National Trust says.

The Portland stone ‘spyglass’ monument stands on the highest point of Black Down, 241 meters above sea level, with uninterrupted views out over the English Channel. It stands on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the acidic pebbly soils that cap it are home to rare heathland plants and animals.

Built in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, the National Trust has been caring for the monument since 1938. Sir Thomas Hardy is famous for holding Admiral Nelson in his arms as he died saying the words, 'Kiss me Hardy'.

On a clear day, when visitors have climbed the steep steps to the top, they can see across five counties.

The area in which the monument stands is criss-crossed with walks which follow ancient tracks into Dorset’s prehistoric past.

The monument is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

More information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardy-monument