Children sitting on gun at Hurst Castle

News and Events

LATEST News UPDATE – 2nd March 2022

Saturday 26 February 2022 marks one year since the collapse in the east wing at Hurst Castle, after the sea exposed and undercut its foundations.

English Heritage has now completed the stabilisation of this damaged section. With teams working tirelessly over the last year and 22,000 tonnes of shingle and rock armour transported along the spit to protect the east wing, the charity – alongside the Culture Recovery Fund – have committed approximately £3m on works to stabilise the breach and protect Hurst Castle, bringing in a team of specialists including those with skills in marine engineering and coastal defence construction.

In forthcoming weeks, a permanent revetment sea defence engineered to provide protection for the next 50 years will be completed. Following this, English Heritage has commissioned a feasibility study of extensive geotechnical investigations around the castle and on the spit itself. This will look into understanding the forces at work on this exposed shingle causeway; and the geology under the castle and is essential in informing the best course of action with regards to the future repair of the breach. The study will take at least 6 months to complete. During this time, the east and west wings as well as the beach will remain closed for the public’s safety.

Whilst English Heritage is pleased to be able to proceed with this next stage, we must stress that there can be no quick fix to the complex issues facing the castle.  This is an ever-changing environment and despite our efforts, Hurst Castle’s east wing and west wing – where we have also detected movement – are still at risk from a myriad of threats including sea level rise and climate change.

However, from 1 April 2022, the Tudor keep at Hurst Castle – the most historic part of the castle – will again open to the public for the season. A regular ferry service will run from Keyhaven to the castle and refreshments will be available from outside the castle entrance.

We are also pleased to announce that Hurst Castle has been named to the 2022 World Monuments Watch, a selection of 25 heritage sites of worldwide significance whose preservation is urgent and vital to the communities surrounding them. These sites powerfully demonstrate pressing global challenges of climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis, underscoring the need for greater action to support heritage places and the people who care for them. You can view the full list of 2022 Watch sites here.

Bird spotting notes

Many more winter waders and wildfowl are with us now.

Brent Geese – around 400 counted across the patch in medium-sized groups
Shelduck – 48 counted on the marsh
Wigeon – approx. 200 on the marsh in 2 main groups
Teal – over 100 on the marsh
Red-breasted Merganser – 1 ad male feeding off North Point
Great-crested Grebe – 3 feeding off North Point
Little Egret – a total of 9 counted across the patch
Oystercatcher – 25 counted in small groups, spread across the area
Grey Plover – 16 counted spread along the estuary
Black-tailed Godwit – the main flock of around 125 in Keyhaven River estuary
Dunlin – a total of around 700; the main flock of approx. 500 at Hurst with approx. another 200 in Keyhaven River estuary.
Redshank – 43 counted in total, spread around the patch
Great Black-backed Gull – 1 in Keyhaven Harbour
Kingfisher – 1 seen in Keyhaven Harbour

Other sightings:

An adult Gannet and Guillemot found washed up on shore at Hurst.
A Common Seal was fishing off the East shore at Hurst

Kind regards
Peter

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Hampshire, SO41 0TP
Tel: 01590 642500
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