Stonehenge to get major makeover

2010-11-19 22:54

London - Stonehenge is getting a multimillion-pound grant that conservators say will help restore some dignity to a World Heritage site blighted by busy roads and cramped facilities.

English Heritage said on Friday that it now has about two-thirds of the money it needs to revamp the area around the prehistoric circle of stones, although the group acknowledged the improvements probably wouldn't come in time for the 2012 Olympic Games, when hordes of tourists are expected to descend on the site.

Built between 4 000 and 5 000 years ago, Stonehenge is one of the world's most recognisable sites. But the monument's vista is blighted by two busy roads, one of which runs right by it.

Stonehenge's visitor centre is also inadequate, with vehicle traffic spilling out onto the grassy area nearby during peak periods. There's only one outdoor refreshment kiosk to serve the nearly one million visitors who see the site every year.

A £25m plan to redo the site was derailed when the cash-strapped British government moved to curtail public spending earlier this year, but English Heritage continues to seek money from other sources.

Friday's £10m grant is being awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which uses money raised through the national lottery to refurbish museums, parks and archaeological areas.

English Heritage spokesperson Renee Fok says the cash, plus other money, puts the group two thirds of the way to its goal.

  • Peter - 2010-11-20 06:41

    Please don't turn Stone Henge into 'a money making machine'; keep it small and undeveloped. That way only people who are truly interested in historical and spiritual sites will visit it and they are far less likely to do damage to the area. (Modern development is not always a good idea.)

      Richard - 2010-11-20 09:41

      It's a catch 22 situation as they rely on the admission fees from the ordinary tourist. I also think that it is important for us to visit sites like this and have some sort of connection with our ancestors.

  • PsychicChannel - 2010-11-22 08:46

    Hi Richard. I understand where you come from. The authorities can rather increase the marketing of tour routes that incorporate various sites that would interest a certain type of tourist. Also, there cannot be that much upkeep of a bunch of rocks standing or resting upon one another; they have been there for thousands of years already.

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