Work has officially begun on the construction of a new exhibition and visitor building at the iconic Stonehenge site.
The £27-million project - which is financed almost entirely by Heritage Lottery Fund money, commercial income and philanthropic donations including significant gifts from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Linbury Trust and the Wolfson Foundation - will be constructed 1.5 miles west of the stone circle.
At the site, Heritage Minister John Penrose, said he was "absolutely delighted that work is finally underway to preserve this internationally recognisable prehistoric World Heritage Site, and to improve the visitor experience for those who come to marvel at it too."
As part of the project, the section of the A344, which currently runs past the monument, will be grassed over, reuniting the stone circle with its ancient processional way and the surrounding landscape.
The remaining part will be closed to public vehicles, and will become the route of a new visitor shuttle service to the stones.
Visitors will approach over chalk downland from the west – either via a 10-minute journey on the visitor shuttle, or on foot – instead of approaching the stone circle from the east on a busy road.
English Heritage Chief Executive Dr Simon Thurley said: "A new dawn at Stonehenge is truly upon us. After nearly 30 years English Heritage finally has a scheme that will transform the setting of the stones and our visitor's experience of them."
"The restoration of the landscape together with a major new exhibition on site will finally give our greatest and most famous monument the treatment it deserves."
It has been a busy week for Britain’s most iconic monument as four-time Olympic gold champion, Michael Johnson, held aloft the Olympic torch at the site on 12 July as the torch continued to make its way around some of the nation’s most historic treasures.
This Saturday the torch will pass Queen Victoria’s seaside home, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, while on Wednesday 18 July, the torch will climb to the top of the medieval Great Tower at Dover Castle.
If you would like to comment on this story, please email email@example.com and we will publish your thoughts and opinions.
Stonehenge gets funding ... finally
After “decades of dithering” the future of Stonehenge’s landscape may have been secured after the government announced financial support for the creation of a new visitors' centre and improvement of the surrounding roads.