Work has begun to create a visitor access to Chester Farm in preparation for a future project to turn the site into an education centre.
Northamptonshire County Council says it is working to turn this important archaeological and historical site near Irchester into a place that people can visit to learn about and engage with heritage, as well as enjoying the green space.
There is evidence of human activity on the site for over 2,000 years, including buried evidence of an Iron Age farm, a Roman walled town and a medieval village known as Chester–by–the-Water.
The council says it is planning to open the 34-hectare site to the public and for school and other educational visits, using information boards and computer-generation visuals to show how the site would have looked in the past.
As part of the council’s plans, an interpretation point, archaeological resource centre and classrooms will be developed within some of the historic farm buildings at Chester Farm.
On behalf of the county council, Northamptonshire Highways is now working with the Highways Agency to improve an access slip road off the A45, which will be used by visitors to access the conference and office facilities also being created in some of the old farm buildings.
County council deputy leader Cllr Heather Smith said: “This is an important milestone in our work to transform Chester Farm, as it marks the first important work to open up the area to the public.
“The highways improvements involve putting in a deceleration lane from the A45, improving the junction and enhancing Lime Avenue, the road that leads to the farm buildings which will ultimately be used by visitors.
“Once this work is complete, the conservation work to the buildings will get under way and the main construction work at the site will start in 2016 and take around two years.”
More information about the project is available at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/chesterfarm.