Defend England’s castles

By | Category: Travel news

repairs at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Image © English Heritage

This is the plea from English Heritage.  It looks after 66 castles across England – more than any other organisation in England – and this year will spend approximately £1.9 million on wall repairs including removing deep-rooted harmful weeds like ivy and valerian.

English Heritage says that its castles are facing a new threat – invasive weeds, penetrating damp and severe weather. It says that its experts need to remove plants that are growing deep into the ancient masonry. Once removed, highly-skilled stonemasons would have to re-bed loose masonry and use bespoke lime mortars to repoint any joints that have been wrenched apart by strong roots. In some cases, they will have to replace badly eroded stones to strengthen weakened walls.

To help pay with the cost of doing this, it has come up with a novel suggestion – at least novel in terms of heritage. As part of its #LoveCastles summer season, the charity is running a crowd-funding appeal in support of its castles and calling on the public to help protect these stone landmarks for future generations to enjoy.

English Heritage is aiming to raise £50,000 via its castles crowd-funding appeal. To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/defend-our-castles.

Primarily the “reward” for donating is that you are doing something to reserve our heritage but there are other “rewards” too. Small amounts will mean you earn some postcards or prints of castles. Donate £2,500 and you can fire a WWI anti-aircraft gun from the walls of Dover Castle, one of which has been claimed already. There are two alternatives to the Dover Castle “reward.” One is to fire a WWII anti-aircraft gun from the walls of Pendennis Castle and the other is to have a private tour  for you and u to five guests at any of the 66 castles.

But should English Heritage be reduced to having to crowdfund this appeal? As a charity rather than an arm of government it cannot just turn around to a minister and present a case for more cash. By opting for this approach it will test the public’s attitude to raising money in this way. If it works I think you can expect to see more appeals like this in the future.

 

 

 

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