A SWINDON-based charity will be giving a 60 metre-tall chalk figure that has long provoked giggles a makeover.

The world famous Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset will be re-chalked by hand by dozens of volunteers over the next two weeks. It is owned by the National Trust, headquartered in Swindon.

Since its last refresh in 2008, the weather has taken its toll and weeds have encroached on the naked Giant, blurring its previously sharp outline.

Swindon Advertiser:

Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

Tonnes of chalk sourced from a nearby quarry will be tightly packed in by hand to the existing 460 metre (1,509ft) figure to ensure it remains visible for miles around.

The Giant was given to the National Trust to look after in July 1920 by the Pitt-Rivers family, and the Trust is planning a year of celebrations next year to mark the centenary.

Natalie Holt, countryside manager for the National Trust, said: "Re-chalking the Giant is challenging in many ways, not only due to its size but because of the sheer steepness of the slope he's on.

"It needs re-doing every 10 years or so because he does get discoloured and weathered and covered in weeds.

"The first job is to dig out all the old chalk before hammering in 17 tonnes of new chalk.

"The Giant is vulnerable to erosion from rainwater which can collect in its chalk outline and run down the hill at speed.

Swindon Advertiser:

Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

"Therefore, it's important for us to ensure that the chalk is packed as tightly as possible.

"When we're happy we've done a really good job of packing the chalk, we will leave him alone - and tamper with him as little as possible - to preserve him for another decade."

The origin of the ancient figure - which stands naked and brandishes a 40 metre (120ft) long club - remains shrouded in mystery, with ideas ranging from a depiction of ancient gods to aiding fertility.