Work has begun this month on constructing a major new Learning Centre at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.

The work to transform an old barn building into the modern new facilities has got underway.

The project is being partially funded by over £500,000 of lottery funding after the charity successfully secured a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant in 2012 to develop a new learning programme to help reconnect young people with nature. The project is due to be completed by June 2015.

“Our goal is to inspire schools and community groups to learn more about British wildlife, and help them to understand what they can do to protect it for future generations,” a spokeswoman told

“Given the historic foundations of the farm on which Secret World is sited, we realised that we also had an amazing opportunity to showcase the farming heritage of the Somerset Levels.”

“Our Grade II Listed barn – nicknamed ‘the goat house’ – provided the perfect site for the new multi-purpose Learning Centre.”

“The new development will preserve and protect the important historic features of the building, including areas of 19th-century brick flooring that have survived the years intact.”

“They will be sensitively combined with new learning facilities enabling us to accommodate schools on-site, host conferences and run volunteer training sessions, as well as providing much-needed space for our increasingly popular Open Weekend activities.”

“The Learning Centre will enable us to welcome school and community groups from across the southwest on-site, to discover wildlife – and our work to save it. We hope to engage 30 per cent of all the schools within a one-hour radius of the centre within five years.”