THE opening date of the restored Hay Castle has been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, but bosses are still optimistic about the project.

They say the final few days of the summer saw some real glimmers of light at castle in the border town.

Work has slowed as workers on the project complied with coronavirus guidance.

“For the past few months, we have been seriously delayed by the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, a spokesperson said.

“Our priority has been the safety of our construction team working on the site, and stringent safety precautions have been introduced to make sure that the virus cannot spread amongst our workforce.

“This has meant that productivity has been severely reduced, and our eventual opening date has been pushed back to spring 2021.

The work on the steps into town restarted in September, and the steel beams for the new roof of the east mansion have been craned into position.

Project bosses say these have been meticulously calibrated to match the specifications of the Grade I Listed building.

The shaft for the new lift has also been installed, which will provide access for all to many areas of the building.

Architect Jacob Spence said: “Nearly everything about installing a passenger lift in a 17th-century Grade I Listed building was going to be a challenge, from archaeology to the historic roofline.

“Following a number of studies, we chose to carefully site the lift where it would have the least impact on existing fabric, but afford the greatest user access to experience up-close this extraordinary assemblage of buildings.

“The lift shaft is being formed of a delicate steel skeleton, clad in reclaimed brick on two sides, and carefully tying to existing rubble stone walls with shoe details dry packed into existing joints.

“The lift carriage will rise past, and have views of, these interestingly wobbly walls, with historic repairs and features, including a floating fireplace, to link all floor levels of the castle house with the keep, topping out at an external viewing platform with views over town and the Wye Valley beyond.”