Hardy Monument

The Hardy Monument is a 72-foot (22 m) high monument erected by public subscription in 1844 in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, a commander at the Battle of Trafalgar (not to be confused with the author Thomas Hardy, who also has local connections). Admiral Hardy lived in Portesham and his family owned the Portesham estate which stretched from the middle of Portesham to Blackdown. 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 100 kilometres.

The monument is situated on Blackdown Hill overlooking the English Channel near Portesham in Dorset, England. It was restored in 1900 by his descendants and bought by the National Trust for the sum of £15.00 in 1938.

The monument was designed to look like a spyglass, as Admiral Hardy would have used on board ship, NOT, as many people think, a factory chimney. Each of its eight corners is a point of the compass. Viewed from the car park the corner to the right of the lightening conductor points due south. The bench mark on the northwest face denotes the height of Blackdown at 780 feet.

From the top of the monument at a height of 850 feet above sea level it is possible to see on a clear day: Start Point in Devon, St. Catherines Point on the Isle of Wight both of which are 90 kilometres distant and to the North can be seen Penn Hill in the Mendip Hills which is 65 kilometres away.

The monument has been closed to the public since 2009 when it was decided that major renovation work was required. This work was completed in January 2012 and the monument remains closed.

The area round the monument is a site of special scientific interest and was designated such in 1984, when the Nature Conservancy Council decided that the geology of the area was very rare.

Geologically, Blackdown is the western tip of the Bagshot gravel beds. The gravel beds extend to the East as far as London.

The ground around the monument is pitted with various holes and craters. Many of these are Dolines or Swallow Holes. These are formed when rain falls on the highly acidic topsoil. The water increases in acidity as it percolates through the topsoil then dissolves the underlying chalk. Eventually there is nothing but topsoil above the caverns so formed and the familiar shape of a Doline is created when the topsoil collapses into the cavern beneath. Dolines are usually shaped like a teardrop cut in half vertically and laid down horizontally. Within 1000 Metres of the monument there are three Dolines which were formed by the chalk being dissolved in a vertical fissure in its structure. These Dolines are vertically sided and are shaped like wells. The two which opened up in 1956 are some 100 metres deep. The one which opened in 2006 is not quite vertical and its depth is unknown.

Famous quotes containing the words hardy and/or monument:

    Let me enjoy the earth no less
    Because the all-enacting Might
    That fashioned forth its loveliness
    Had other aims than my delight.
    —Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

    It is remarkable that the dead lie everywhere under stones.... Why should the monument be so much more enduring than the fame which it is designed to perpetuate,—a stone to a bone? “Here lies,”M”Here lies”;Mwhy do they not sometimes write, There rises? Is it a monument to the body only that is intended?
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)