Stonehenge project under fire

TOUR guides who bring thousands of visitors to Stonehenge every year have blasted the £27million improvement project currently under way.

They predict it will mean some tours will bypass the stones in favour of visiting elsewhere.

The new development will see tourists arriving at the visitor centre, 2km away, and either taking a ten-minute shuttle to the stones or walking there.

English Heritage says visitors will enjoy a “much quieter and greener experience”

and are recommending tour operators plan a “dwell time” of at least two hours for groups to “fully appreciate and enjoy the enhanced experience”.

But tour guides say they only allow for an hour at the site, and extending this would prevent them from offering tours that take in visits to three or four places, such as Windsor, Bath and Salisbury, on the same day.

Don Cross, managing director of Wessexplore, said: “Tourists from all over the world often have limited time on their expensive programmes and wish to see as much as possible in their visit.

“This system with ‘landtrains’ will physically not be able to deliver this kind of service.”

Other concerns include the lack of shelter by the stones and the “escape back to the coach” option no longer being available if the weather is bad.

Chief executive of VisitWiltshire, David Andrews, said that while visitor numbers may drop in the short term, there was a “fantastic opportunity” for Wiltshire and Salisbury to encourage people to stay in the county for longer.

He said: “At present, coach tours stay for as little as a couple of minutes at Stonehenge but with the much bigger and richer experience being offered by English Heritage, there’s a much greater chance that people will visit Wiltshire and Salisbury and stay. Stonehenge is iconic enough that coach operators have to include it and they will have to change their programme.”

Comments (7)

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9:31am Thu 10 Jan 13

Capricorn 1 says...

If the new arrangement deters visitors who haven't got a decent amount of time to devote to seeing a World Heritage site and just want to do a whistle stop tour, is it such a bad thing that they would be put off?

The current set up is an insult to the integrity of the site.
If the new arrangement deters visitors who haven't got a decent amount of time to devote to seeing a World Heritage site and just want to do a whistle stop tour, is it such a bad thing that they would be put off? The current set up is an insult to the integrity of the site. Capricorn 1
  • Score: 0

9:58am Thu 10 Jan 13

the optimist says...

Oh Dear, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing?

Tour guides are very busy people with very little time to waste. If they stop coming to Stonehenge, then Stonehenge could lose money. The other obvious outcome of the new centre is coaches slowing on the A303 to view as they pass going on to other more friendly destinations.
What is this going to do to the traffic?

I do agree that the current site is an insult to the site.
Oh Dear, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing? Tour guides are very busy people with very little time to waste. If they stop coming to Stonehenge, then Stonehenge could lose money. The other obvious outcome of the new centre is coaches slowing on the A303 to view as they pass going on to other more friendly destinations. What is this going to do to the traffic? I do agree that the current site is an insult to the site. the optimist
  • Score: 0

8:35pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Orangecrush says...

Stonehenge in world terms is far better known than Salisbury, Bath or Windsor. English Heritage know this and it's likely to be stonehenge that gets the longer visitor stay and one or more of the others will loose out.

Simply put there is not a way to move all the junk (car park, visitor toilets, and shop) away from the henge so it doesn't detract from it without creating a longer visitor stay time. The new schemes not perfect by any means but that's life what is!
Stonehenge in world terms is far better known than Salisbury, Bath or Windsor. English Heritage know this and it's likely to be stonehenge that gets the longer visitor stay and one or more of the others will loose out. Simply put there is not a way to move all the junk (car park, visitor toilets, and shop) away from the henge so it doesn't detract from it without creating a longer visitor stay time. The new schemes not perfect by any means but that's life what is! Orangecrush
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Thu 10 Jan 13

karlmarx says...

You couldn't make it up could you?

Yes, it needs redeveloping so, let's ask the people who go there often what's needed.

What do we get? A committee designed, not fit for purpose carbuncle.
You couldn't make it up could you? Yes, it needs redeveloping so, let's ask the people who go there often what's needed. What do we get? A committee designed, not fit for purpose carbuncle. karlmarx
  • Score: 0

6:27am Fri 11 Jan 13

UKD003 says...

It wasn't broken, fine the way it was, so why break it? 10 years from now, they'll form a comitte and bring it back to the way it was
It wasn't broken, fine the way it was, so why break it? 10 years from now, they'll form a comitte and bring it back to the way it was UKD003
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Fri 11 Jan 13

1mark12 says...

£27million improvement ? this whole area needs improvement not just stonehenge surely, that sort of money could have been spent on the old coop or maybe the old focus buing put to good use that way people would have to come int amesbury and not just go to see a pile of old stones.
£27million improvement ? this whole area needs improvement not just stonehenge surely, that sort of money could have been spent on the old coop or maybe the old focus buing put to good use that way people would have to come int amesbury and not just go to see a pile of old stones. 1mark12
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Wed 16 Jan 13

Capricorn 1 says...

£27 million on a new Co-Op?

Wow!

That would make for an interesting, though probably not a World Heritage, site.
£27 million on a new Co-Op? Wow! That would make for an interesting, though probably not a World Heritage, site. Capricorn 1
  • Score: 0

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