English Heritage’s plans are the culmination of months of working closely with a range of stakeholders and engaging with local residents.
The scheme fulfils a long standing ambition to improve the facilities on offer to the many hundreds of thousands who visit each year and to restore a sense of dignity to the setting of one of the world’s most loved ancient monuments. It includes:
- a new environmentally sensitive visitor centre 1.5miles away at Airman’s Corner with high quality exhibition and education facilities;
- a low-key visitor transit system that will transport visitors from the visitor centre to a drop-off point close to the Stones;
- removal of the current car park and facilities at the Stones. The area will be returned to grass, leaving only a minimal operations/security base and emergency toilets;
- closure of the A344. Motorised vehicles will be restricted on the A344 from Byway 12 to Airman’s Corner (with exemptions). The section from Stonehenge Bottom to Byway 12 will be stopped up and reverted to grass;
- an upgrade of the Airman’s Corner road junction to a roundabout. The Highways Agency will also make improvements at Longbarrow Crossroads to mitigate the effects of the A344 closure.
When completed, the new visitor centre will make it possible for the first time to present the fascinating story of Stonehenge on site. The archaeological gallery will feature important objects on loan from local museums and outside will be three Neolithic houses, recreated using extremely rare evidence of domestic buildings from prehistoric England recently unearthed near Stonehenge.