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Chedworth Roman Villa to receive 3m transformation

Chedworth Roman Villa
Chedworth Roman Villa receives over 50,000 visitors a year

An historic site in Gloucestershire is to be transformed after receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

£700,000 has been awarded to Chedworth Roman Villa as part of a £3m scheme to conserve and improve the property.

The villa is one of the most significant domestic Roman Sites in the UK due in part to an internationally important collection of 4th Century mosaics.

"We're absolutely delighted that HLF have decided to back this project," said Janet Gough, the National Trust's general manager for Gloucestershire.

"This investment will really bring a sense of excitement to the Villa giving our visitors the chance to see what life was like in late Roman Britain.

This project will ensure that Chedworth Roman Villa will provide the facilities that current visitors expect of a 21st century visitor attraction.
Nerys Watts

"In the next few months we will begin working with university students to uncover the mosaics and visitors are very welcome to come along and see the excavation and conservation work and take part in special workshops which we will publicise very soon."

Many of the key remains are not accessible and, with over 50,000 visitors received a year, facilities for the public are in need of improvement.

This scheme will create a new conservation shelter over the remains of the villa, allowing the visitors to walk above the mosaics on suspended walkways.

This will mean that the public will be able to see them properly for the first time and be there to watch as previously unseen areas are uncovered.

A new learning centre will also be built, allowing Chedworth to improve and develop its education and community work.

Nerys Watts, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: "This project will ensure that Chedworth Roman Villa will provide the facilities that current visitors expect of a 21st century visitor attraction, whilst ensuring that the site is properly conserved and preserved for future generations.

"This, combined with the new education centre, will mean that many more people will be able to learn about and enjoy one of the most important Roman sites in Britain."

The contents of the Villa Museum have been photographed for an online database.

Alongside the preservation works, information across the site will also be improved and made more interactive.

Domestic life in late Roman-Britain will be recreated with figures projected onto walls and simulated sounds and smells of Roman pursuits including dining and bathing.

As part of a separate project the trust also has plans to improve the visitor reception area and introduce a café at the villa.

Some small-scale excavation work will take place in the summer but the main work will begin after the visitor season, in November 2010.

It will continue throughout the 2011 season, but there are no plans to close Chedworth.

Instead, visitors will be encouraged to come along and see what is happening with temporary exhibitions and guided tours explaining the work in progress.

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