The Hurst Castle is located in southern England facing the Isle of Wight. It was constructed in the 15th century by King Henry III who initiated the English Reformation (the Church of England could no longer be under the authority of the Pope). The castle was a part of the defensive infrastructure that was built in southern England and was occasionally used as a prison. During the Napoleonic wars (1793–1815), the castle that was considered obsolete and was one of the weakest in England, went through a series of repairs and new artillery was installed. It was also used as a defensive fortress during the first and the second World Wars. The castle now belongs to the English Heritage.
In January 2021, an article mentioned that the castle is in need of repair works since it is highly affected by coastal erosion. A month later, a wall of the castle situated on the eastern front gave way after a storm impacted southern England. According to English Heritage, the foundations of the castle deteriorated and the storm triggered the wall failure. In particular, a 40-meter section crumbled after wave action exposed the wall's foundations. Fortunately, there were no people injured as the castle was closed at that time. "Faced with more frequent storms and rising sea levels, Hurst Castle is emblematic of the issues posed by climate change to our heritage" Rob Woodside, English Heritage Estates Director, stated.
Stabilization works had been implemented in the castle's west side in 2019. Old and deteriorated structural parts were removed while 7,500 tons of gravel and sand were deposited at the beach in front of the structure to reduce the wave impact on the castle.
Similar plans had been made for the east side before the failure struck. Officials stated that, despite being aware of the erosion issues, there were no signs of a potential failure like the one triggered. The site is currently closed as authorities evaluate the damage and plan the restoration works that have to be implemented.
According to Brice Stratford, an historian, English Heritage has neglected stability issues that the castle tackles. The problems caused by intense erosion have been observed for years. Moreover, a local who works at the castle mentioned that there is a potential hazard of the entire east wall collapsing if repair works are not implemented soon. However, English Heritage suggests that those intimations are rather extravagant and there is no "immediate risk" for the east section of the Hurst Castle.
Stunning footage captured by a drone from the castle can be found below.