VISITORS to Durham Cathedral will soon be able to climb its tower once again following a three year conservation programme.

The central tower of the Norman cathedral is due to reopen to the public on June 1, when visitors will be able to climb the 325 steps to the top.

Scott Richardson, the cathedral's clerk of works, said: "I am thrilled the belfry project is nearing completion.

"Not only have the upper levels undergone significant renovation to ensure they are structurally sound for continued public use, but the skillset of the cathedral’s in-house masonry team has been dramatically expanded due to the demanding nature of the work.

"On a personal level it has been a pleasure to work on a project of this magnitude, overseeing a job which I am not likely to encounter again in my lifetime.

"I know once the public see the work, they will realise the closure was worth the wait."

The removal of the scaffolding is almost complete, though the hoist lift will remain in place to allow finishing touches to roofing work, and the construction of a new viewing platform.

Lee Boyes, Wood Group scaffolding supervisor said: "The scaffolding has in itself become a recognisable feature in the city because of how long the work has been ongoing.

"As we reach the final stages of dismantle in preparation for June 1st, it is dawning on me that I will soon be leaving Durham Cathedral behind and saying goodbye to a project which has been a career highlight for me."