A MAJOR £100,00 conservation project to secure the future of historic Sandal Castle gets under way this week.
The George Hyde legacy, which is managed by English Heritage, has allocated more than £93,000 for the castle.
It will be spent on work including installing steps down each of the two moats, upgrading the paths and new signage.
There will also be urgent work to the Great Hall, costing more than £15,000 and funded by not-for-profit company WREN. The work on the Great Hall and on the steps will begin this week once test patches of mortar work have been approved by English Heritage.
Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for heritage, said: “We want to address immediate conservation issues with the Great Hall and inner and outer moats. The condition of the castle has deteriorated in recent years through a combination of natural erosion, misuse by a small number of visitors, and deliberate vandalism.
“We are keen to arrest this deterioration, and to promote the tourist and interpretative potential of the site to local, regional and national audiences.
“I am confident that this exciting project will result in significant improvements to one of the district’s finest historical sites. Having steps into each of the moats will open up the site and make it much more accessible to visitors.”
Sandal Castle was first built in the 12th century by the De Warenne family during the reign of Henry I. From the 14th century the castle passed into royal ownership and is best known for its involvement in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, when Richard Duke of York was mortally injured and later died. The castle was then left mainly unoccupied and was left to decay until it was once again used as a stronghold during the Civil War.