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DJW installs in Jurassic visitor centre

AV specialist DJ Willrich (DJW) is helping visitors get closer to nature at one of the UK south coast’s most historic hotspots.

The Beaulieu, Hampshire-based firm has just completed the AV installation at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre, which is educating people of all ages about the historic headland following its re-opening on 1 February.

Among the features it has installed are monitors to stream live footage and audio of wildlife across the nature reserve, filmed in real time on hidden cameras and study stations and a weather station. All was achieved using equipment such as touch screen monitors, telephone handsets, interactive PCs, and directional speakers.

Hengistbury Head, in Bournemouth, incorporates prehistoric earth works and evidence of human occupation dating back to 10,500BC and has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is home to many plants, birds and insects, some rare and critically endangered and is declared a Local Nature Reserve as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

DJW was appointed by Bournemouth Borough Council to install the AV within the £1m, eco friendly centre and among the items were touch screen monitors, study stations and coned speakers.

Project lead Mike Hope said the biggest challenge was fitting the plethora of AV hardware into the relatively small space of the converted barn: “The size of the building did make various elements of the AV installation a challenge, for example it was difficult to stop sound from speakers spilling out into other areas of the barn. To tackle this problem we installed directional speakers in the ceiling to project the audio over a very specific area only.

“Close liaison and clever planning with the project designers, Querceus, also ensured we fitted in the 14 monitors without problem.”

The visitor centre, which has a grass roof and walls insulated with straw, features displays, study zones, videos, podcasts, trails, talks, walks and booklets.

It also features wildlife webcams, which stream live footage and audio from various points across the headland onto monitors installed by DJW. The footage can be recorded for playback on digital video players, so images from active times of the year can be shown when the animals are less active.

Outside the visitor centre, within two courtyards, a 3D model of the headland is displayed and an outdoor LCD screen shows updateable information and details relevant to visiting school groups and activities.

Mark Holloway, Countryside Operations Manager for Bournemouth Parks, who oversaw the project, said: “DJW did an excellent job and overcame many challenges in their path. The service support after installation and willingness to make changes has exceeded our expectations.”