The project to repair Wellington Monument is taking an “exciting step forward” as work on site is about to begin, the National Trust has said.
During October the team will begin erecting the scaffolding which will be in place for the duration of the 18-month construction project.
The scaffolding, which has been specially designed for the monument by Apex, will be freestanding to ensure the structure is protected.
The plans include a viewing platform at 8m (26ft) high for visitors to experience the view towards the Quantock Hills.
A National Trust spokesperson said: “Over the winter work will begin with measuring and preparing the stonework.
“Repair work will get going in spring when warmer temperatures allow lime work to take place, and visitors will be able to get closer to the project on a scaffolding tour.”
Helen Sharp, project manager for the National Trust, added: “It is exciting to see the project reach this milestone.
“We are pleased to have the specialist teams on-site and could not have reached this point without the dedication of the local community.”
The repair work is being conducted by specialist contractor Sally Strachey Historic Conservation.
Managing director Jake Motley said: “It is a great privilege to have this opportunity to work on such a unique and prestigious monument designed to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo.
“It is a very interesting project in part due to the height of the monument at 53m (174ft), but also because of the special nature of the monument’s location in the Blackdown Hills.”
Rebecca Pow MP, whose early support, the National Trust said, was critical in securing funding to kickstart the project, said: “It is exciting to see work about to start on this tremendous project; something that would be hard to believe decades ago.
“Getting this far has been a superb team effort by the whole community and of course the National Trust and everyone should be commended.
“This is much more than a monument and the restoration will not just benefit the local area but the nation as a whole.”
The project to repair the monument will cost £3.45m.
The National Trust spokesperson added: “Funding [has been] received from many major donors, the chancellor and money granted through LIBOR funds, Historic England, Highways England and Viridor Credits.
“It is also with thanks to the community who have also been very generous with their donations that we have raised a total of £2.8m.”
The National Trust is still fundraising towards the remaining £650,000.