A sense of awe’

THE first designs for a new �1.5 million interpretation centre on Exmouth Seafront have been unveiled.

THE first designs for a new �1.5 million 'interpretation' centre on Exmouth Seafront have been unveiled.

The centre would house state-of-the-art technology and give visitors an insight into the Jurassic Coast and the Exe Estuary, writes David Beasley.

Two weeks ago, a funding bid was made to the Government's Sea Change programme and, if successful, a centre could open within two years - with the coach park near the Mamhead Slipway a possible location.

The centre would be a 'Gateway' for a much larger project mooted for the Imperial Recreation Ground.

Inside there would be two 'audio visual' displays giving accounts of the global extinction and evolution of sea life over millions of years, by projections on to a 'fog screen' of dry ice.

The first presentation would begin with the Earth's biggest mass extinction at the end of the Permian period.

Most Read

The second display would chart the Exe Estuary, its geomorphology, landscape, mudflats and sea defences.

During this cycle, the various inter-tidal habitats will be explored and the species that live there highlighted.

The final element would be a large LCD screen and camera joystick control, to watch live and recorded images of Exe Estuary birds.

The driving force behind the project is the Exmouth Visitor Trust comprising of Chairman David Conway, former mayor Ron Mudge, Exmouth Community College Principal Tony Alexander, ecologist Rod Lawrence and Rotarian Frank Hart-Venn.

Mr Hart-Venn said: "(We are)...supporting the... proposals for an iconic project of which the community will be proud and people of all ages, and from all walks of life, will wish to attend.

"This could very well start at the proposed Mamhead restaurant-style facility, signposting the wealth of natural heritage to be found along the Exe estuary and Jurassic Coast.

"It should be a Gateway to the observation and interpretation of the history and life to be found here..."

Project Manager Tracey Guiry said they wanted visitors to feel 'a sense of awe' at the geological history of the area: "We want to convey the huge, almost overwhelming, time periods since the area's geology was laid down, and the insignificance of human history in comparison.

"We want visitors to feel privileged to live in or be visiting the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, a place of universal value to humanity, and to stimulate their desire to explore the area further."

The artists' impressions form part of the funding bid which will be decided by September.