A PROJECT to build a new eco-friendly visitor centre at Hengistbury Head is on track for a summer finish.

Construction is currently taking place at the thatched barn adjacent to the Iron Age double dykes.

Part of the work involves extending the existing barn cottage to create a new visitor centre.

This will have a natural turf roof, solar panels and straw bale walls and will provide members of the public with the opportunity to see some of the archaeological collections unearthed at Hengistbury Head over the past 100 years.

It will include an exhibition area, a dedicated space for learning and community use, outdoor learning areas and wildlife garden, a retail outlet, similar to a National Trust shop, and toilet facilities.

The centre will cost around £1million, with £432,000 coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £300,000 from developer contributions and £300,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund view Canford Environmental Ltd.

Cllr Rod Cooper, cabinet member for tourism, said: “The eco-friendly element to this building is vitally important to ensure that it not only blends in with the beautiful natural surroundings but that it is also energy efficient and has minimum impact on the environment.

“This is a really exciting project for the area and I am delighted to see the new centre taking shape.

“More than one million people visit Hengistbury Head every year and the centre will provide a unique and dedicated visitor centre where people can come and learn about the area’s rich heritage, including the wildlife, geology and archaeology that can be found here.”