About the Centre

It all starts here...

Environmentally sound

This £1m Visitor Centre, was built with a grass roof and walls insulated with straw.
It was built on to an existing thatched barn, where a stunning wildlife garden has been added.

The solar panels on the building save about £1,000 a year on electricity, and other energy-saving features include a green roof to absorb rainfall and provide insulation and timber-framed walls insulated with straw bales

A rich past

A collection of archaeological items is being archived by Bournemouth and Oxford Universities, along with the Russell-Cotes Museum before it is transferred back to the centre.It also houses an education centre and space for community groups such as the Hengistbury Head Supporters Group, Hengistbury Residents' Association and Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group.

Important support

The Centre was funded with £300,000 from developer contributions, £432,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £300,000 from landfill tax.


Hengistbury Head is a complex site, with a lot to learn, so the Visitor Centre is the perfect place to answer all of your questions.

There are places that are windy, sheltered, wet, dry, muddy, sandy, stony, sunny, shady, flat, steep and salty. These diverse habitats create homes for over 500 plant species, 300 types of birds, a superb variety of insects, reptiles and small mammals.

The Centre has been awarded a number of special conservation designations, including:

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument
  • Local Nature Reserve
  • Special Area of Conservation
  • Special Protection Area
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Site of Nature Conservation Interest
  • Green Belt
  • Green Flag

The Visitor Centre also has a very interesting wildlife garden, which has at least some colour all the year around. There is a flower meadow, woodland section, a rockery of native iron stone, ancient wheats trial, colourful borders, a pond, bug hotels and more. The garden is looked after by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Working in Partnership

The Visitor Centre houses an education and community group space. We work in partnership with many different groups including universities, museums and local interest groups such as the Hengistbury Head Supporters Group, the Hengistbury Residents' Association and CHOG, the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group.

Did you know?

More than 300 species of bird live or visit here.

About a quarter of Britain's flowering plant species grow here.

Amost a third of the UK’s species of moths have been recorded here.

Contact Us


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