The new Stonehenge Visitor Centre opens this week, in time for the Winter Solstice, and steel columns used in the structure help to link the heritage of the site with the present day.

A total of 211 steel columns support the roof of the structure, which is an undulating canopy that reflects the rolling landscape of Salisbury Plain, the Wiltshire location of Stonehenge itself.

The vertical steel beams evoke the image of Stonehenge’s iconic stone uprights, while supporting the ceiling just as the stones support the ancient lintels of the monument.

But they also serve a very practical purpose, not only allowing the single canopy to cover over two large pods containing the information centre and cafe, but also meaning that no cross-beams interrupt the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The new structure is just one element in returning the monument itself to a state that should safeguard it for many years to come, which has also seen the A344 rerouted to pass further from the stone circle.

Previous facilities will be decommissioned early in the new year, with the old car park and disused section of the A344 seeded with fresh grass to eliminate their remaining visual impact on the landscape.