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Update from Cllr Katharine Keats-Rohan

Work started on the restoration and conservation of the Castle Wall (remains of the College of St Nicholas) last August, with the first visible sign being the erection of scaffolding over the remains. This was the start of the first of two stages, the project design stage. The stonework has been cleared of much of the covering vegetation, mainly ivy, but also a fig tree, so that laser scans of the stonework could be carried out.

Ecological surveys were also conducted, to avoid harm to nest sites or bat habitats. Because of the poor condition of the stonework and the danger of falling stone, the area has been fenced off. The project manager, conservation architect Giles Pritchard, has now submitted a design for the second and final stage of the work. Once approved by Historic England, the restoration and conservation work will begin, towards the end of July.

Much of the work will require lime pointing and rendering of the stone, a specialised job that can only be done in warm weather. We shall be placing information boards on the fencing and there will be opportunities to go into the site for talks and demonstration by the constructors during the works. Guided walks to the Castle are available throughout the summer and bookable at the Wallingford Museum or online.

Giles Pritchard will be giving a talk on the work to TWHAS in St Mary’s Church, 8pm on 14th September, free to TWHAS members or £4.00 to visitors