Solutions sought for grubby horse
Westbury residents are facing a long wait before their cherished landmark can be restored to its former glory. The famous White Horse has become covered with lichens, causing it to lose its gleaming appearance. The plight of the monument was recognised by English Heritage in July last year and work began to restore the discoloured surface.
Several previous restoration projects had been carried out, including laying reinforced concrete over the image in the hope of providing a resistant surface to the elements. Eight years later, the monument had to be steam-cleaned by English Heritage to remove biological deposits.
The organisation is now keen to find a longer-term solution which means residents may have to put up with the horse's bedraggled appearance for some time yet. Technical investigations have been carried out on the site to establish the cause of the deterioration.
Three different paint samples were tested on the horse and are being monitored to measure the rate of deposit. English Heritage said these trials now have to be repeated to ensure the right approach is adopted to achieve a white surface which will stand the test of time.
An English Heritage spokesperson said: "The trials are going to take place again over the coming winter. We need to go through two full winters to make sure we have the right results and we are looking positively at next spring to make a decision."
The organisation said it does not have the money to restore the monument annually. Pending the success of the trials, the surface will be cleaned and treated subject to funding.
The Mayor of Westbury, Cllr Michael Hawkins, said it was vital the monument was restored as soon as possible. "The White Horse is very important to the town," he said. "It is the main association of the town and one of the key things people think of when they think of Westbury. The horse in its current state lets the town down badly. It needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later."
This Is Bath.
Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2005ce
Edited 25th August 2005ce