WORK to create a brand new £1million Hengistbury Head visitor centre is almost complete and it will be welcoming visitors from December 14.
Construction work has taken place over the last year at the thatched barn adjacent to the Iron Age Double Dykes.
Once open, the new centre will offer an exhibition area for archaeology, ecology and geology, a dedicated space for learning and community use, outdoor learning areas, wildlife garden, toilets, a shop and work space for centre staff, volunteers and other community groups.
The work has included an eco-build extension to the existing barn cottage which has a range of environmentally-friendly features, including a green roof, solar panels and straw bale walls.
The new centre will give the public the opportunity to see and handle some of the archaeological collections unearthed at Hengistbury Head over the past 100 years. Residents will also be able to get involved as heritage volunteers in the running of the centre and nature reserve.
Stuart Clarke, conservation and countryside manager at Bournemouth council, said: “This is a really exciting project for Hengistbury Head and we look forward to welcoming visitors to explore the new centre which promises to be a fantastic resource for the area.
“Hengistbury Head attracts more than one million visitors every year and for the first time, we will have a unique and dedicated visitor centre where members of the public will be able to come and learn about the area’s rich heritage, including the wildlife, geology and archaeology that can be found here.”
The centre will be open from December 14 until January 5, 2014 before closing for the fit-out to be completed. It will then open fully on February 1, 2014.