The new look Braunton Countryside Centre is becoming a real community hub for the village.
The centre at Caen Street car park has been transformed following a £150,000 makeover that was unveiled at a grand reception and Braunton Parish Council chairman Derrick Spear unveiled a plaque.
Improvements to the centre include the enclosure of the porch with timber and glass, a new roof, solar panels, an air source heat pump system and new flooring.
The result is a building that will now offer a year around venue that celebrates the rich natural environment on Braunton’s doorstep from the Braunton Burrows biosphere to the salt marshes, Great Field and the coast.
Activities on offer include guided walks of Braunton Burrows every Friday in Summer and a series of interesting talks on local wildlife, heritage and ecology every Wednesday in August, September and October, with some of the region’s top experts.
Chairman of the Countryside Centre trustees, Ken Rutherford, paid tribute to the wealth of expertise volunteers bring to the educational centre – including respected botanists and ecologists and experts on bats, reptiles, seals and geology.
Since the facelift, the Countryside Centre has seen a dramatic increase in visitors and fielded enquiries from the local community about using it as a venue for events from exhibitions to craft markets.
He said: “Since the work was completed we have had a great response from the public. We now have a fantastic year-round resource that shows off the rich natural history of the Braunton area.
“We are very grateful to the sponsors who have raised the funds to transform the centre into a real community hub.
“The centre has now become a focal point for the village centre and the frontage is host to charity stalls, craft markets and music events.
“We now host a multi events programme including art exhibitions, a talks series and a Christmas craft market in November.
“We would particularly encourage anyone with social media skills who can assist in updating and maintaining our website and Facebook. The trust would also welcome additional trustees.”