WORK to replace and restore stonework at one of Herefordshire's most historic houses is underway.

Specialist National Trust stonemasons are at Berrington Hall, near Leominster, to conserve some of the elevations of the courtyard buildings.

The stonemasons, based at the charity's Hardwick Hall, in Derbyshire, are removing shaling faces of stone which have been degrading over many years.

Each stone shaling face will be restored and any loose stone removed before the remaining face of the block is 'dressed' to a level surface. The masons are using Callow stone, from the nearby Westonhill quarry, to carry out this work, as the National Trust said it will weather-in most effectively.

Berrington Hall was one of the few masterpieces of the famous architect Henry Holland to survive intact. His austere red sandstone Palladian mansion of 1773-83 sits within the final sweeping landscape of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown.

The trust said the mansion's architecture is compactly and intricately planned.

Three detached courtyard buildings were originally service wings and would have housed the kitchen, laundries and servants' hall and are now home to the tea-room, café, facilities and offices.

Work to restore the stonework is expected to take around 10 weeks.

Project manager Helen Royall said: "Thanks to funds raised by National Trust supporters, we are able to go ahead with this project to improve the visual appearance of the courtyard buildings and to ensure the safety of the stone faces.

"We're delighted to have sourced the stone from a local quarry and to be using our very own stonemasons for this work, which is vital in helping to care for this special place for generations to come."