In 635 AD, Saint Aidan chose to found a monastery on Lindisfarne in Northumberland. Today, thousands of tourists and visitors flock to the Holy Island every year.
Now a new building project seeks to improve visitors’ experiences of the island. The conversion of the lookout tower and a new visitor building on the Rocket Field will provide information for visitors to Lindisfarne. The Lookout Tower is on ‘The Heugh’ above the Priory, to the south of Lindisfarne village, whilst the Rocket Field Visitors’ Building is en route between the village and Lindisfarne Castle.
The project is being carried out for Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust. Main contractor for the project is DP Builders and the architect is Icosis Architects. The structural consultant is David Narro Associates, whilst John Riley is the Project Manager. The project began in January 2012 and is due to finish in August 2012, with the overall contract value standing at £480,000.
The Lookout Tower is being altered to enable visitors to enjoy the spectacular views that the island has to offer. The tower was constructed in the 1940s for use by the coast guard, but it has stood empty for many years.
The project includes the removal of the existing upper floor and the introduction of a new glazed lantern with steel fins supporting the roof structure. The remaining stone structure will be sensitively repaired using lime mortar, whilst the original iron studded timber door is being refurbished and reinstalled. A new steel staircase has been installed to replace the old ladder access to the upper floor, whilst new orientation information is being installed on both levels.
From the glass room, visitors will be able to see as far as The Farne Islands, the Cheviot Hills and the Berwickshire coast.
Its extraordinary history and unique setting make Holy Island a very special place
Adrian Vass, Natural England
The Rocket Field visitor building is located on the main route to the castle and will provide a visitor information point for the island’s rich nature and wildlife. The Rocket Field provides an excellent habitat for a great variety of birds, and the building is therefore intended to focus views out over the field and bird activity via a large window. In addition, it is hoped that by detailing appropriate pockets within the stonework at high level some birds might be encouraged to nest within the walls of the building itself.
The building is being constructed using Denfind stone, which is similar in appearance to the existing field wall running alongside the road between the village and the castle. Internally, the walls are being clad using specialist panels by Grayconcrete, which is intended to match the colour and texture of the stone. Using a similar stone and a self-seeded green roof should allow the building to sit comfortably within its natural location, helping visitors to truly appreciate the stunning surroundings of Holy Island.