PLANS to restore a replica Roman villa have been given a huge boost.
Butser Ancient Farm, in Chalton, near Horndean, will shortly be receiving a £25,000 grant from East Hampshire District Council to fund restoration to bring the villa back to its former glory.
It is the first major revamp since the villa was completed for television documentary Rebuilding the Past, in 2003.
The work will include raising parts of the ceiling, redecorating the walls and levelling the compacted earth floor.
Throughout the restoration, builders will be teaching Butser staff and volunteers a range of traditional skills to ensure they can continue to maintain the site themselves, and conduct new and exciting workshops for members of the public.
The villa is based on original excavations of a Roman villa at Sparsholt, near Winchester, and every year more than 30,000 schoolchildren and 7,000 members of public visit the farm.
Once restored, the villa will also be fully accessible to disabled visitors.
Councillor Julie Butler said: ‘The farm and Roman villa are amazing resources that we are lucky to have in the district.
‘With so many school groups visiting the site each year, it is crucial for us to protect it.
‘The restoration project will ensure it can continue to be used for many years to come.
‘Furthermore, there is a great volunteer workforce of over 150 individuals, and the training being offered will greatly expand their knowledge base, enriching visitor experience for everyone.’
Maureen Page, one of the directors of Butser Ancient Farm, is delighted with the news. She said: ‘It’s amazing to have this grant because it will enable us to carry out work on the villa that we were struggling to find the money for.
‘Renovating the villa will pave the way for other exciting projects such as laying floor mosaics, creating fresco paintings on the walls, and designing a beautiful Roman garden.’
For more information, or to make a donation, go to butserancientfarm.co.uk.