Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:32 UK

Plan for Hengistbury Head barn visitor centre on show

The barn at Hengistbury Head
The new visitor centre in the converted barn would be run by voluteers

A nature reserve in Bournemouth is set to get a new visitor centre.

The borough council has been planning to create a visitor centre at Hengistbury Head for the past 10 years.

Proposals to convert the thatched barn at the site in Dorset to house displays about the archaeology and wildlife of the area will now go on display.

Residents can see and comment on the plans next to the Hiker cafe from 2 to 6 June. If approved for funding, the new centre would be completed in 2012.

Tropical sea

It will feature displays showing the nature reserve's plants and animals and their habitats.

The centre will also have archaeology exhibitions about Hengistbury Head, chronicling its history from 60 million years ago when it was beneath a tropical sea, through to the Stone Age when humans hunted and camped there, to the Iron Age when it was an important trading port.

Mark Holloway, senior community parks and countryside officer, said: "We plan to use display panels, videos and audio to show off the nature reserve at its best.

"There will be cameras to bring live pictures from nesting birds and activities for children and adults alike to get involved in the conservation of the reserve."

Bournemouth Borough Council said it hoped to secure most of the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and through other grants and donations and the centre would be run by volunteers.

A planning application will be submitted during the summer and a funding request will be put to the Heritage Lottery Fund in November.

If agreed by the fund, building work is expected to start in 2011 and be completed by the summer of 2012.



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