World class dream is realised at Sill
A STUNNING multi-million pound visitor centre on Hadrian's Wall welcomed its first visitors for a behind the scenes tour this week.
The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre, built over two years at Once Brewed near Bardon Mill, at a cost of £14.8m, will not officially open its doors until July 29.
But on Wednesday, the Northumberland National Park Authority, which has orchestrated the scheme, invited theand other organisations for a sneak preview of a facility.
The authority's chairman Glen Sanderson spoke of his delight at the launch of the Sill, a project which was first mooted over a decade ago.
He said: "We are incredibly proud of everyone who has been involved with the project getting to this stage, and we are extremely grateful to local people for buying into the scheme and what we aim to achieve here."
Mr Sanderson said the local economy would benefit from the Sill, which was expected to attract 100,000 visitors per year, and provide almost 120 job opportunities.
Chief executive Tony Gates said: "We've always had a world class landscape here, and now we have a world class facility to show it off.
"It is an incredible vehicle for people to visit the countryside and explore our natural and cultural heritage."
Mr Gates said that the building would be far more than just a visitor centre. It would provide educational opportunities for school groups, with dedicated classrooms, and exhibition areas telling the story of life within local landscapes.
Office space would be provided for businesses to operate from the Sill, while the building's impressive green roof had been covered with grassland from different parts of Northern England.
Over 80 youth hostel beds will be provided in the Sill's accommodation block, while there will also be dining facilities and a shop.