Stonehenge gets £27m facelift to end ‘national embarrassment’

Related Articles

Related Articles

Stonehenge : Wiki Commons

Work is beginning to transform the area around Stonehenge from a “national embarrassment” into a tranquil setting for one of the world’s great prehistoric monuments.

Powered by article titled “Stonehenge gets £27m facelift to end ‘national embarrassment'” was written by Steven Morris, for on Wednesday 11th July 2012 11.00 UTC

Work is beginning to transform the area around Stonehenge from a “national embarrassment” into a tranquil setting for one of the world’s great prehistoric monuments.

Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

English Heritage said that the £27m project to build a new visitor centre out of sight of the stone circle to replace the shabby collection of buildings beside the monument and to close a nearby A road was under way.

Contractor VINCI Construction UK has taken possession of the site at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles west of the stones, to start work on the new exhibition and visitor building. In September, the Highways Agency will begin preliminary work that will lead to the closure of the A344 at Stonehenge.

Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, said: “A new dawn at Stonehenge is truly upon us. Though the stones themselves have never failed to awe visitors, their setting has been a national embarrassment and disgrace.

“After nearly 30 years English Heritage finally has a scheme that will transform the setting of the stones and our visitors’ experience of them.

“The restoration of the landscape together with a major new exhibition on site will finally give our greatest and most famous monument the treatment it deserves.”

The heritage and tourism minister, John Penrose, said: “People have been talking about the project for nearly 30 years and so I’m absolutely delighted that work is finally under way to preserve this internationally recognisable prehistoric world heritage site, and to improve the visitor experience for those who come to marvel at it too.”

The project, developed with the support of the National Trust, Wiltshire council, the Highways Agency, and Natural England, will transform the setting of Stonehenge. The section of the A344 that runs past the monument – almost touching the heel stone – will be closed and grassed over, reuniting the stone circle with the surrounding landscape. A remaining part of the road will be closed to public vehicles, and will become the route of a new visitor shuttle service to the stones.

The existing outdated facilities, car park, fences and clutter near the monument will be removed. Visitors will be welcomed at new facilities located at Airman’s Corner and, instead of approaching the stone circle from the east on a busy road, they will approach over chalk downland from the west, either via a 10-minute journey on the visitor shuttle, or on foot.

A visit to the stones should, for the first time, be enhanced by a large exhibition curated by English Heritage experts that will tell the story of the complex site and its relationship with the wider landscape. It will feature important objects excavated near the site on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. The visitor building also features education rooms and improved amenities with full disabled access.

Throughout the construction, visitors will continue to be able to visit Stonehenge.

The project will not satisfy everybody. The A303 will continue to rumble just south of the site. A plan to build a tunnel so that traffic was not visible or audible to visitors to Stonehenge was rejected by the government because of the high costs.

Apart from a £2.6m Department for Culture, Media and Sport grant spent before government funding was withdrawn in June 2010, the money for the project comes from a combination of grants (including £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund), gifts from charitable trusts and individuals, and English Heritage profits from its commercial activities at the stones. English Heritage said it needs to raise only £500,000 more. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Study Suggests the Mystery of The Lost Colony of Roanoke Solved

The Roanoke Colony refers to two colonisation attempts by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a permanent English settlement in North America.

Drones Map High Plateaus Basin in Moroccan Atlas to Understand Human Evolution

Researchers from the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) have been using drones to create high-resolution aerial images and topographies to compile maps of the High Plateaus Basin in Moroccan Atlas.

The Kerguelen Oceanic Plateau Sheds Light on the Formation of Continents

How did the continents form? Although to a certain extent this remains an open question, the oceanic plateau of the Kerguelen Islands may well provide part of the answer, according to a French-Australian team led by the Géosciences Environnement Toulouse laboratory.

Ancient Societies Hold Lessons for Modern Cities

Today's modern cities, from Denver to Dubai, could learn a thing or two from the ancient Pueblo communities that once stretched across the southwestern United States. For starters, the more people live together, the better the living standards.

Volubilis – The Ancient Berber City

Volubilis is an archaeological site and ancient Berber city that many archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania.

Pella – Birthplace of Alexander The Great

Pella is an archaeological site and the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon.

New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group

Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

High-tech CT reveals ancient evolutionary adaptation of extinct crocodylomorphs

The tree of life is rich in examples of species that changed from living in water to a land-based existence.

Fish fossils become buried treasure

Rare metals crucial to green industries turn out to have a surprising origin. Ancient global climate change and certain kinds of undersea geology drove fish populations to specific locations.

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark

Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.

Popular stories