The Hardy Monument is a 72-foot-high (22 m) monument on the summit of Black Down in Dorset, erected in 1844 by public subscription in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, a commander at the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Hardy lived in Portesham and his family owned the Portesham estate which stretched from the middle of Portesham to Black Down. The site for the monument was chosen because the Hardy family wanted a monument which could be used as a landmark for shipping. The monument has been shown on navigational charts since 1846 and is visible from a distance of 60 miles (97 km).Put Hardy's Monument at the forefront of your travel plans using our Dorchester attractions planner.
The monument is situated on Black Down, a hill overlooking the English Channel near Portesham in Dorset, England, on the road between Abbotsbury and Martinstown. It was restored in 1900 by his descendants and bought in 1938 by the National Trust for the sum of £15.
The monument was designed to look like a spyglass, as Admiral Hardy would have used on board ship. Its eight corners are aligned with the compass points. Viewed from the ground the corner to the right of the lightning conductor points due south. The bench mark on the northwest face denotes the altitude of Black Down at 780 feet (240 m).
From the top of the monument at a height of 850 feet (260 m) above sea level it is possible on a clear day to see the coast from Start Point, Devon to St. Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight, both of which are 56 miles (90 km) distant. To the north can be seen Pen Hill in the Mendip Hills which is 38 miles (61 km) away.
The monument was closed to the public in 2009 when major renovation work was required. This work was completed in January 2012. To date, the monument is regularly opened during the peak season, where visitors can climb the 120 steps to the viewpoint at the top.
The heathland area around the monument was in 1984 designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, when the Nature Conservancy Council decided that the geology of the area was very rare.
Adjacent to the monument is a stone seat erected in memory of Lt Col William Digby Oswald who was killed on the Somme in 1916.
Hardy's Monument Reviews
A superb high point behind the coast. National Trust owned but still very cheap if not a member. Phenominal views from the top all along the coast, with Potland/Weymouth below you. The tower is only..... more »
This is a great place to visit just for the view. It is worth the drive up from the coast road. In the Spring there are carpets of bluebells. On a rough day you will get blown about as it gets very... more »
A great place run by the national trust, it costs £2.50 p/p if your not a member and you can climb the steep winding 150+ step spiral staircase to experience some amazing 360 degree views across the south west. Definitely worth a visit if your passing the area.
A great spot to take in the view and learn some local history. This site is a National Trust one and there is a small fee for non members to climb to the top of the tower and take in the view. Worth every penny if you ask me! There are no facilities here like a loo or cafe that you may often find elsewhere but don’t let that put you off.
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