A MAJOR £1.2million centre at Walton’s historic Naze has opened its doors for the first time.

The state-of-the-art Naze visitor centre is finally up and running and open to the public.

Plans were first launched by Essex Wildlife Trust more than two years ago to create a base with information and facilities for visitors to the picturesque clifftop.

Now completed, it includes information and displays on the wildlife, fossils, geology and coastline.

It is hoped the centre will create a tourism boom for Walton and bring extra visitors up to the Naze.

Essex Wildlife Trust secured grant funding for the £1.2million centre with the majority coming from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Lisa Smart, Essex Wildlife Trust’s Operations Manager, said: “We are very excited to be opening the Naze Centre.

“It will be open all year and provide a focal point for the Naze, championing its rich history, natural history and more.

“Our team, which will be running events and educational activities, is looking forward to providing a warm welcome.”

Four staff members will be based at the centre, including two education rangers.

An official opening will be held in September.

Tendring Council coastal protection boss Nick Turner said: “This has been a very successful and well-managed project and now that the building is open to the public I am sure that it will be very well-used.

“It will become an important facility and attraction along the Tendring coastline and a vital addition to what we have on offer at Walton.”

The wildlife trust has organised a series of upcoming events at the Naze including guided walks, competitions and fossil hunts. For details visit essexwt.org.uk/whats-on?