Hardy’s Monument sits on top of Black Down in Dorset on the south coast of England, and from here there are spectacular views across the county, and to the Isle of Portland on the coast. Indeed the hill is so high that the monument can be seen from miles away as you travel across this historic county, and from the top on a clear day you can see as far as the Isle Of Wight which is more than 50 miles away.
Dorset is famous for the author Thomas Hardy, and some people assume that the monument is dedicated to him, but this is not the case. The monument is actually dedicated to Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, who was a commander of Lord Horatio Nelson’s fleet at the Battle Of Trafalgar in 1805, and who was with Nelson when he died on board HMS Victory having won the battle but during the conflict was mortally wounded by a French sniper.
Nelson is reported to have died in Hardy’s arms, his last words including the request “Kiss Me Hardy” and a request to look after his wife, Lady Hamilton.
The family of Admiral Hardy owned the Portesham Estate which included Black Down and the monument was erected in 1844 in his memory. The monument is shaped like a spyglass, the type used at the time, and not like a chimney. It stands 72 feet high and is eight sided, the sides representing the points of the compass.
The monument has been undergoing restoration and has been closed to the public since 2009, but even though you can’t climb to the top, the view is still spectacular. It is currently owned and operated by The National Trust to ensure it’s preservation.
Hardy’s monument is a short drive off the main road from Dorchester to Bridport, and it’s well worth taking a detour to see the monument, as well as to continue down through the quaint village of Portesham, past the Chesil Beach and along the coast.
This area of Dorset is known as the Jurassic Coast and is a conservation area, famous for the number of fossils that have been found here. It’s a very picturesque part of England, and within a handful of miles you will find:
The Isle Of Portland is a rocky island that is linked to the mainland by a shingle causeway. Portland is famous for it’s lighthouse, Portland in Maine being named after it. The harbour in Portland and neighbouring Weymouth was the site of the sailing events during the 2012 Olympic games.
The Chesil Beach is a unique bank of shingle that stretches for 18 miles west from Portland, and in places it is as much as 50 feet high and over 600 feet wide. Behind the beach is the Fleet Lagoon, an area of wetland that is home to many types of wading birds.
The Abbotsbury Swannery is located at the village of Abbotsbury on the Fleet Lagoon, and has some impressive sub-tropical gardens as well as hundreds of swans. The gardens were created in 1765 and now cover a 20 acre site.
Hardy’s Monument Address:
Black Down, Portesham, DT2 9HY
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