The centre is located in the beautiful Chiltern Hills at Dunstable Downs and provides a unique experience and facilities for those visiting the Chiltern Hills landscape. Commissioned by Bedfordshire County Council in partnership with The National Trust, the centre replaced an undistinguished kiosk snack bar with basic visitor facilities.
The building incorporates a number of green technologies including a wood chip boiler and rain water recycling which helps to reduce the reliance on mains suppliers and a ‘wind catcher’ captures air from the hill naturally and delivers it to the building through a 90 m underground concrete ‘earth duct.’ The system is energy efficient because fresh air is drawn into the building naturally and during the winter because the temperature of the earth 2 metres below the surface is relatively constant the incoming air is naturally pre-warmed. Similarly during the summer the warmer air is naturally cooled down as it moves through the earth pipe.
This wing-shaped roof allows it to withstand extremely heavy wind loads and also reflects two of the main leisure activities of the area-kite and glider flying.
Further information can be found here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstable-downs-chilterns-gateway-and-whipsnade-estate/things-to-see-and-do/
The centre is open all year round from 9:30 to 16:00
Green Growth Generation themes: Energy and Climate, Preserving our planet