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Spurn Discovery Centre arrives on site

Thursday 27th July 2017

A major milestone is reached in the development of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's new purpose-built visitor facility at Spurn as the main building structure arrives onsite.

We have invested a great deal of effort to ensure that both people and wildlife can benefit from greatly improved facilities

Whilst preparatory ground works for the innovative Spurn Discovery Centre have been underway on-site since May, the bulk of the construction has been undertaken off-site by principal contractor Houlton to minimise disruption at its final location. The modular units have been supplied by Actavo | Building Solutions UK Ltd.

The Spurn Discovery Centre has been purpose-designed to match both the unpredictable demands of Spurn's natural environment and the dual role it will play in safeguarding both Spurn's wildlife and the tens of thousands of visitors who travel there each year.

Build features include a flood-resilient lower floor encased by recycled concrete gabion baskets, a 'living' roof to attract native wildlife, and bird-friendly glazed panel walls offering breath-taking views of the estuary.

The new facility, funded by energy provider E.ON (through its Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm Community Fund) and supported by the Coastal Communities Fund as part of the Great British Coast, is located at the northernmost point of Spurn National Nature Reserve, in an area determined to be natural entry point for visitors and, importantly, outside the boundary of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), reducing the current visitor pressure on the fragile and heavily protected landscape.

Spurn National Nature Reserve, internationally renowned for bird migration, has been managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust since 1959.

Changes in its landscape in 2013 due to a major storm surge have created new and unprecedented challenges for the conservation charity as they seek to protect native wildlife and ensure the safety of visitors unfamiliar with the site’s unpredictable tidal areas that can isolate the reserve from the mainland.

Terry Smithson, Director of Operations for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said “Spurn is one of the most iconic and important locations for wildlife in the UK. Certainly its landscape and habitats are like nowhere else in Yorkshire and it’s a very rewarding yet unique management challenge for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

“We have invested a great deal of effort to ensure that both people and wildlife can benefit from greatly improved facilities, and we have engaged a committed and professional project team with a clear understanding of our aims for the facility and the important environmental considerations that underpin the planning and construction phases.”

The modular build will include café facilities and an education space for school groups, alongside wildlife viewing and visitor interpretation displays offering information on the variety of wildlife to be found in the reserve together with information about renewable energy and Spurn’s rich heritage.

Matthew Goff, Operations Director at Actavo | Building Solutions, commented "Having recently opened our new manufacturing in nearby Hull, creating over 30 new jobs, we are delighted to be providing Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with a truly bespoke modular solution in such a renowned nature reserve here at Spurn."

The centre is expected to open to the public from Spring 2018. Read more about the development.