The essence of the National Trust’s brief was to protect the burial ground, to care for and conserve the surrounding landscape and to increase the public’s enjoyment of the site and its understanding of the Anglo-Saxon England.
The development received a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has proved enormously popular with the public; numbers far exceeded the National Trust’s projections, and the building has coped with the extra use and hosted many successful hospitality events.
The new buildings have been designed to touch the ground lightly, and are constructed as much as possible from locally sourced timber, itself of low embodied energy. The building is designed for minimum energy consumption. Generous levels of insulation are used, made from recycled newspaper in a ‘breathing’ wall construction, allowing water vapour to migrate through, ensuring a more pleasant environment internally. In addition, because the insulation is blown into the cavity wet, voids and air infiltration within this layer are avoided, reducing heat loss through the fabric. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in an existing underground tank beneath the activity yard and used for flushing the WCs.