Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre
I had a chance to preview the new exhibition centre at Stonehenge as part of Open Doors. It is sited one and a half miles away from the stones at Airman's Corner, and visitors will be conveyed from the centre in a land train pulled by a landrover along an ancient trackway (or walk along it, if they prefer). It was still very much a building site when I viewed it but should all be ready for the opening date of December 18th. At this point the A344, which leads to the current car park and entrance to the stones, will be grassed over, and the ancient landscape restored.
The tour was led by the construction manager who was enthusiastic about the whole project, and morale appeared to be high among all the crew (from Vinci Constructions). The land is owned by the National Trust and the stones are managed by English Heritage, who have spent around £16 million on the project (the total cost is thought to be over £50 million). The building is designed to merge with the environment visually and has been built in such a way that it will leave no mark on the landscape if it is demolished - which, surprisingly to me, could be in as little as twenty-five years time, the projected life of the centre.
The area shown in the blip is described as a "360-degree virtual, immersive experience [that] will let visitors 'stand in the stones' before they enter a gallery featuring various displays and nearly 300 prehistoric artefacts." The stones will be holographically projected from high-tech technology attached to the ceiling and will be accurate to a quarter of a millimetre.
The previous lack of virtually any information at all apart from an audio guide was most noticeable when I visited Stonehenge earlier in the year, plus the fact that the entrance was on the other side of the A344 and the stones had to be accessed by a tunnel under the road. Even the toilets and café were on the wrong side of the turnstiles and the whole enterprise seemed to be geared to getting coach parties in and out as quickly as possible, so I hope the new system will be a considerable improvement.
The tour lasted over one and a half hours but there was time afterwards for me to visit Stonehenge itself and have a walk around.
On the way home, I pulled over by the Kennet and Avon at Bollands Hill Bridge in Seend, and got the best pictures of the day, but have chosen a picture taken at the SE&VC as that was the focal point of the day.
Consecutive Blip #002
Bollands Hill Sunset
A Preview Of Stonehenge Visitor Centre, 27 September 2013 (Flickr set)
Stonehenge Project 2013 (English Heritage page)
Lenses: Pentax 17-70mm, Sigma 70-300mm
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Richie Havens - I Started A Joke (1970)
A BeeGees cover from his album Stonehenge
One year ago: Smokey, 1758 hr