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The work will be carried out by Pinnacle commencing after Easter and will continue throughout the summer. This will involve erecting a scaffold over the whole of the East face of the Abbey to give access for the contractor to carry out the work. The work they will be doing includes specialist cleaning of all the masonry to remove bird guano and other atmospheric grime, re-pointing of masonry joints, pinning of cracked stones, re-bedding of some masonry units, and replacement of decayed moulded and decorative stones. Whilst the scaffold is in place, we will do some minor repairs to the glazing to the main East End window and clean the glass externally. We will also do more detailed conservation repairs to the East facing window to St Wilfrid’s Chapel.
At the same time, we will make repair to the broken flags outside the North East end of the Abbey, which suffered damage during the recent roof works.
As some of the damage to the stonework is due to pigeon guano, we have looked to incorporate some bird deterrent measures into the scheme. We believe that the most effective way would be to use birds of prey. However, with the works taking place we have not been able to bring into use this year the falcon nests we have prepared in the Eastern pinnacles as part of the recent roof works. Instead, we are arranging to bring falcons to the Abbey and fly them on a weekly basis to keep the pigeons away until we can open up our nests for the 2023 nesting season. The long term goal is to attract our own breeding pair.
The PCC is extremely grateful for the assistance in funding for this project from Hexham Abbey Restoration Trust, SUEZ Community Trust, Headley Trust and Northumbria Historic Churches Trust.
Chair of Property Committee