THE FIRST images of volunteers working to bring an iconic Dorset landmark back to its magnificent state, in preparation for a special anniversary, have been revealed.

The world famous Cerne Abbas Giant, standing at 180 feet tall, will have every centimetre of its outline re-chalked by hand over the next two weeks.

This is being done in preparation for next year’s celebrations, when it will mark 100 years of National Trust ownership of the Cerne Abbas Giant.

Since its last refresh in 2008, the weather has taken its toll leaving the Giant discoloured with weeds gradually taking hold, blurring its previously sharp outline.

17 tonnes of chalk sourced from a nearby quarry will be tightly packed in to the figure to ensure it remains visible for miles around. 

Natalie Holt, Countryside Manager for the National Trust, says: “It needs re-doing every ten years or so because he does get discoloured and weathered and covered in weeds.

“When we’re happy we’ve done a really good job of packing the chalk, we will leave him alone – and tamper with him as little as possible – to preserve him for another decade.

The origin of the ancient figure remains shrouded in mystery, with ideas ranging from a depiction of ancient gods to aiding fertility. 

Mike Clark from the Cerne Historical Society said: “There are many different theories surrounding the giant’s identity and origin.

“Some claim he is an ancient symbol, perhaps a likeness of the Greco-Roman God Hercules, though the earliest recorded mention of the Giant only dates from 1694.

“Others suggest he was created to mock Oliver Cromwell. These are the most favoured theories but all of them have their drawbacks.

“Local folklore has also long held him to be an aid to fertility.”