Chalk horse landmark in Dorset 'ruined by Challenge Anneka' restored

Ruth Doherty

Osmington White Horse landmark in Dorset 'ruined by Challenge Anneka' restored
Osmington White Horse landmark in Dorset 'ruined by Challenge Anneka' restored

The Osmington White Horse before its recent restoration. Photo: Rex

An old royal chalk horse landmark has been restored to its former glory in a project that took over two years.

The Osmington White Horse overlooks Weymouth in Dorset and, some say, was accidentally ruined by Anneka Rice and her team when they were tasked to restore it for her 80s hit show, Challenge Anneka.

The team had believed they were doing the right thing by laying gravel stones on the 260ft figure but, over time, they slipped and obscured the outline of the horse, according to the Daily Mail.

The figure of King George III on horseback was originally carved out of a chalk hillside at Osmington in 1808 as a thank you to him for putting Weymouth on the holiday map.

And now, over the space of two to three years, local volunteers and organisations, including Dorset County Council, the Osmington Society, and English Heritage, worked together to restore it in time for when the 2012 Olympic sailing events are held in the area.

Royal Engineers and Army Cadets also helped to remove the Portland stone chippings that had been used, revealing the original chalk underneath, according to Weymouth People.

Ordnance Survey research scientist John Hogan told how the organisation helped identify the original outline of the figure, using GPS equipment and analysing earthworks barely visible to the naked eye.

The chalk horse was today inspected by King George's great, great, great, great, great granddaughter, Princess Anne, who arrived at the landmark by helicopter.

While the princess was in Dorset, she also enjoyed a tour of Duriston Castle, which has recently undergone a £5.5 million restoration.


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