Stonehenge upgrade to finally begin

8 07 2012

Work to improve the environment of Stonehenge gets under way next week – after decades of wrangling and many millions spent on schemes and consultations that came to nothing

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in autumn 2013

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in autumn 2013

“It’s the official start,” said Renée Fok of English Heritage, which manages   the World Heritage Site. “Things are finally getting done.”

The mysterious monument in Wiltshire is one of the most famous tourist sites   in the world. Each year it receives more than a million visitors, half of   them from overseas. But while the stones themselves continue to amaze,   Stonehenge’s setting and facilities have come in for withering criticism.   Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the National Trust, has called the site a   “national disgrace”.

The principal problem is that Stonehenge is beset by traffic and roads – the   always-busy A303, and the A344 that branches from it and passes close to the   stone circle. The car parks become overcrowded in summer and the visitor   centre is dated. Under the new scheme, which will cost £27 million, English   Heritage promises “a landscape transformed”.

The keystone of the project is the closure of the A344, part of which will be   grassed over. The existing buildings and car parks will be removed and a new   “energy-efficient” visitor centre built, with a shop, café, “education   space” and galleries. An adjacent coach and car park will be built 1½ miles   west of the stones at Airman’s Corner.

A shuttle service will take visitors to the stones, and people will have the   option of walking all or part of the way.

The scheme has received cautious approval. Nigel Swift, the chairman of   Heritage Action, which is dedicated to the conservation of Britain’s   prehistoric sites, expressed “sheer relief and gratitude that a nightmare   that has lasted for many decades is over”.

Frank Somers of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids, who regard the site as a   temple, said he was “broadly happy that some improvements are finally   scheduled to happen”.

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in   autumn 2013. The area of the existing buildings will be returned to grass by   the summer of the following year. Stonehenge will remain open during the   building work. For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge.

Aricle by By  – Telegraph

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compan’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “All good for wiltshire tourism”
Merlins @ Stonehenge Stone Circle


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One response

8 07 2012
ritaroberts

Such a fantastice acheivement after so much wrangling. Well done,now all can relax while visiting the stones.

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