NEW installations are set to reveal Christchurch’s 'important history' and 'fascinating cultural heritage'.

The new signs and art installations are being introduced to Friars Cliff and Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

Their aim is to inform residents and visitors of the area’s history and wildlife.

At the start of the Second World War, a site was established at Steamer Point off Seaway Avenue to conduct secret, nationally essential research into military radar.

In 1943, the site was taken over by the Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) to conduct research into military communication systems.

From the 1960s onwards, this work included development of systems including Britain’s Skynet, the world’s first geostationary satellite system for secure military communications.

Three circular concrete bases remain in place on the cliff today - previously providing the foundations for a large, 40-foot-wide aerial dish and two smaller dishes – and these will be identified with three new steel signs.

Paul De Jonghe, vice-chair of the Friars Cliff Residents Association, said: “Steamer Point has a fascinating cultural heritage, and around the area military research work was conducted of national and international importance.

"Many people will be unaware of this, and we hope the new signs will help people appreciate the significance of the work they did.”

The wider project will also look to engage visitors in the natural, environmental qualities of Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

A host of new wayfinding markers will be situated throughout the reserve, guiding visitors on an educational woodland walk stretching from Friars Cliff to Highcliffe Castle.

Six new wooden wildlife sculptures, accompanied by informational plaques and brass rubbings, will also raise awareness for the vast species of unique animals and birds which inhabit the nature reserve.

Councillor Andy Martin, portfolio holder for customer, communications and culture at BCP Council, said: “We are fortunate to live in a culturally rich area of great historical significance, and we should look to celebrate this wherever possible.

“I hope these new installations will help to draw visitors to the fantastic locations of Friars Cliff and Steamer Point Nature Reserve, and engage people, including younger demographics, in the important history of our region.”