Wessex Astronomical Society


New Astronomical Observatory

With the cooperation of the Country Park, the Wessex Astronomical Society began planning the astronomical observatory at Durlston in mid 2007. Sufficient funding was raised through a grant from Awards-For-All of the National Lottery, through donations from the members of the Society and by a payment from Dorset County Council. Planning consent was granted at the end of June 2008 and work on the site started immediately

Aspects of Design of the Observatory

This section describes those aspects of the design that may be most useful to others who may be undertaking a similar project.

Initial Considerations From an early stage the general size and appearance of the observatory was determined on the one hand by the expected amount of funding that could be raised and on the other by the location i.e. close to the Visitor Centre of the Country Park and in an area with numerous designations - AONB, SSSI, Special Area of Conservation, National Nature Reserve and within the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The best form of structure from the astronomy point of view would be a dome and the limited availability of domes available commercially quickly led us to choose the Pulsar Observatories 2.6m fibreglass dome. Pulsar will supply this as a complete observatory, with a 2.6m diameter wall section, but this would give inadequate space for a work area. The chosen structure was therefore a recangular building of about 3m x 4m with the dome mounted into the roof.

Special Design Aspects

Resultant design choices

Durlston Country Park, Rangers - 01929 424443 or
Durlston Country Park, Rangers (on the day of an event) - 01929 427965
Alan Jefferis - 01929 422961 or