History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The monument stands on the top of Black Down, with views across lovely Dorset countryside and out to sea. It was built in 1844 by Henry Goddard of Bridport to a design by Arthur Acland-Troyte, and restored in 1908. The monument is an octagonal tower of ashlar stone, reaching 70 feet high, with a spiral stair ascending inside the column to a parapet at the top.
Over the door is a plaque inscribed with these words,
"Erected by public subscription in the year 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy Bart. CCB Flag Captain to Lord Nelson on HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Restored 1900 and placed in charge of the National Trust for places of historic interest or natural beauty by the descendants of Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy on whose land it stands."
Visitors can ascend to the top of the monument, but the number of visitors allowed up at any one time is limited, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
The Hardy Monument is well signposted from Portesham and from Martinstown. The parking area has an early closing time (4:30pm when we visited), but if you come later than that you can still find places to pull off onto the verge and see the monument from the outside and enjoy the wonderful views.
When I visited I was greeted by a National Trust volunteer relaxing in an armchair on the sunny side of the monument. He told me some of the fascinating history of the site. When the site was selected the most obvious source for building stone was the quarry at the bottom of the hill. Yet that quarry had been closed for years because it was no longer economically viable. The sponsors reopened the quarry, extracted enough stone to build the monument, and promptly closed the quarry again. It has never been reopened since.
There are 122 steps inside the monument and a small viewing platform on top. The views are wonderful on a clear day, though to be honest the views are pretty fabulous from the base of the monument too!
About Hardy Monument
Address: Black Down, Portesham, Dorset, England, DT2 9HY
Attraction Type: Historic Building - Monument
Location: Off the B3157 Weymouth-Bridport road at Portesham. National Trust car park signposted 'Hardy Monument' is at grid reference SY612876.
Website: Hardy Monument
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
The Nine Stones - 1.7 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Kingston Russell Stone Circle - 2.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Winterbourne Poor Lot Barrows - 2.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Abbotsbury Abbey - 2.6 miles (Abbey)
Abbotsbury, St Nicholas Church - 2.6 miles (Historic Church)
Abbotsbury Swannery - 2.8 miles (Family Attraction)
St Catherine's Chapel - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
Maiden Castle - 3.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Hardy Monument:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')
Tourist Information Centre
Dorchester Library and Learning Centre
South Walks House, Charles Street
Tel: 01305 267 992