|29 April 1999
No more fences at Stonehenge
Plans to restore the site around Stonehenge to how it may have been thousands of years ago have been recently announced. The Stonehenge Master Plan, a joint effort of England's culture and roads ministries, will remove nearby roads and improve the ancient monument's setting.
Fences, one of which was erected at the turn of the century and the other in the 1970s to prevent travelers from holding festivals at the stones, are to be removed as part of the new scheme launched by the British government.
The stone circle currently stands close to a road junction near Amesbury, Wiltshire, near the busy A344 and A303 trunk roads wich disrupt its scenic setting. Under the Master Plan, the A344 will be closed off and the A303 re-routed through a tunnel, said a spokeswoman for English Heritage.
But even as the ancient monument is restored to the way it may have looked thousands of years ago, it will also be ushered into the next millennium with its own logo and a state-of-the-art visitor center to be built nearby, which will boast a park and offer transportation to the circle of stones.
Once the roads have gone, we hope to return the surrounding landscape to chalk grassland and open up the area so people can walk across the site without fencing and without having to pay, said the English Heritage spokeswoman.
Work on the roads is expected to be finished by 2008 and the visitor centre is due to be completed in 2003, at a total cost of about £125 millions. Sir Jocelyn Stevens, Chairman of English Heritage, said the Master Plan would rescue the Stones and the 451 scheduled monuments that surround them from the impact of traffic and the current ugly and inadequate visitor facilities.
Sources: BBC News, Discovery Online
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