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Castle Drogo in Dartmoor undergoes repair work to become water-tight

The project to make Castle Drogo water-tight is gaining momentum. Credit: ITV News

A £13 million 5-year project to make Castle Drogo water-tight has reached its half-way point.

Scaffolding is starting to come down on the stately home near Drewsteignton on the edge of Dartmoor but it will soon be going back up again as the next phase gets underway on the North Wing.

The National Trust aims to make the building water-tight for the first time since it was finished in the 1930s.

It is an enormous project and involves removing the roof, dismantling walls, replacing windows and re-pointing more than 40 miles of joints.

Castle Drogo is under-going a £13 million refurbishment. Credit: ITV News

"Basically Drogo was completed in 1930 and has leaked pretty much from then until now. And there has been lots of attempts to repair it and stop water coming in, but this is the first time we have tried to repair is so holistically to make sure we do deal with roof the walls and the windows."

– Tim Cambourne, Senior Project Manager, National Trust
Among the repairs are 60,000 metres of joints which need re-pointing. Credit: ITV News

Castle Drogo was built between 1911 and 1930. It was designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens.

He used asphalt on the flat roof, but it was still a new product and was prone to cracking. As a result, Drogo has never been watertight.

The National Trust is replacing the roof, which involves removing hundreds of tonnes of granite blocks and putting them back again.

It is also replacing thousands of metres of cement pointing and refurbishing more than 900 windows.

913
windows being replaced
60,000m
of joints being re-pointed
2355
granite blocks being taken off the castle and then put back
Perched on top of a hill, Castle Drogo is particularly susceptible to the weather. Credit: ITV News

The castle is particularly susceptible to Dartmoor’s weather conditions.

“It is normally a howling gale or driving rain or both. It is a very exposed location, it really does get hit by the weather. “

– Tim Cambourne, National Trust