THE Hardy Monument – the Dorset landmark which celebrates the naval Hardy, not the writer – will reopen to visitors on Wednesday 17th April after its winter closure.
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 monument has been in the care of the National Trust since 1938. Sir Thomas Hardy is famous for holding Admiral Nelson in his arms as the naval hero died with the words, “Kiss me Hardy.”
On a clear day, when you have climbed the steep steps to the top, you 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 from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.