Wildlife presenter Chris Packham helped enthusiasts spring into action when he met them at the new Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre.
Chris was joined by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Rod Cooper and Heritage Lottery Fund committee member, Hilary Bracegirdle, in unveiling a commemorative plaque at the £1 million centre and thanked all those involved in helping to make the new centre a reality.
Visitors had the opportunity to meet Chris and explore the centre, its interactive displays and wildlife garden and speak with the centre’s dedicated volunteers.
Chris also leading a short guided walk from the centre and launched the third annual Hengistbury Head Photo Competition for amateurs of all ages, will runs until 15 August.
The new centre opened in December and has already attracted more than 30,000 visitors. It was constructed around an existing thatched barn adjacent to the Iron Age Double Dykes. Part of the work involved an eco-build extension to the existing barn cottage which boasts a range of eco-friendly features including a green roof, solar panels and straw bale walls.
Attractions include an exhibition area for archaeology, ecology and geology celebrating 12,000 years of Bournemouth’s prehistory from the Stone Age through to the present day and interactive displays including video presentations, microscope, aquaria and wildlife web cams located on heron and little egret nests, the lagoon and marshes, bird boxes, bird feeders and a small mammal burrow.
There is also an outdoor learning areas and wildlife garden.
The centre is a community run project involving more than 50 trained volunteer Heritage Wardens and 10 apprentices. The centre’s was funded by £432,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £300,000 from developer contributions with the remaining £300,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund via Canford Environmental Ltd.
For more information: go to www.visithengistburyhead.co.uk