MORE people will be able to access and learn about a surviving relic from Portland's military past thanks to a £250,000 grant to improve it.

Dorset Council has announced it has secured funding to improve and preserve the heritage site of High Angle Battery, known locally as the 'ghost tunnels'.

The grant of just under £250,000 was awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Built in the 1890s to help defend the isle of Portland against invasion, the locally important site of High Angle Battery fell into a state of disrepair.

Last year, its outdated interpretation panels, graffiti and heritage damage led to the site being placed on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register.

The project, which was made possible by money raised from National Lottery players, will focus on improving the site’s heritage, biodiversity, and access. 

The decision has been made after consultations between the council, key partners, volunteers and the local community, outlining the improvements they’d like to see to shape the project.

The consultations also highlighted local interest for more activities and events at the site and for the popular 'ghost tunnels' to be fully opened.

Once the work has been completed, the battery will become a valuable local asset where events, tours and school visits will be carried out.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “We are thrilled to receive this award from the Heritage Fund and are excited to be working in partnership with the local community on a shared ambition and vision for High Angle Battery."

Cllr Bryan went on to say that the site ‘will become an integral part of Portland’ and bring with it social, economic, historic and environmental benefits to the local area and communities.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England, London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support this important project to preserve Portland’s High Angle Battery for future generations. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, even more people will be able to access and learn about the history of the site.

“Heritage has a huge role to play in instilling pride in communities, and this project to save this much-loved landmark is a fantastic example of this,” he added.

The council have also announced that a friends of group will be set up to help with the long-term care of the site, which will be managed in partnership by Dorset Council and Portland Town Council.