THOUSANDS of tons of shingle are being used to protect one of Hampshire's most historic buildings following its partial collapse.

New aerial photographs reveal the full extent of the damage that occurred when part of Hurst Castle topped into the Solent in February.

The incident destroyed part of the outer wall of the east wing, exposing the castle's interior and leaving the foreshore covered in masonry.

English Heritage has embarked in a project that aims to stabilise the wing as well as trying to prevent any further damage to the site, which is often battered by ferocious storms.

A spokesperson said more than 4,000 tons of shingle had already been delivered to the site.

They added: "A delivery of boulders is due to arrive by barge in preparation for our work to strengthen the castle’s sea defences so we can protect the damaged section of the castle and make it safe.

“We are continuing to ask the public not to approach the eastern section of the castle, particularly given the heavy machinery which is operating on site.

"Protecting a remote and exposed place like Hurst Castle in the face of the immense forces of wind and tide is an extremely complex task.

"English Heritage is committed to Hurst Castle but there can be no quick fix, and these works will take many months to complete.”

The original castle was built by Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544. In the 1860s two huge wings were added as part of a massive project to fortify the Solent area.

Major repairs were carried out to foundations of the west wing in 2019.

English Heritage was just days away from embarking on a similar project to safeguard the other wing when part of it collapsed on February 26.

In a statement issued at the time the charity said it had invested £2.25m in a series of conservation projects at the castle in recent years.

The statement added: "English Heritage is devastated by the damage to Hurst Castle and we take what has happened very seriously indeed.

"Our chief executive has already visited the castle and our chairman is also due to visit soon.

"English Heritage has reported it to the Charity Commission and is undertaking a detailed review to look at what lessons can be learned."