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Press Release - 'The Odeon' WWII Naval Range-Finding Tower - 09.08.2021

Reopening of the 'Odeon': A German WWII Naval Range-Finding Position

Friday 13 August 2021 from 10am to 4pm

Visit Alderney are excited to announce the official reopening of the 'Odeon', a German WWII Naval Range-Finding Position, to the public after a major enhancement of the iconic building on Friday 13 August.

The Alderney landmark, standing on top of the edge of Mannez Quarry, has been transformed over the last 6 months to create a new visitor attraction within the Longis Nature Reserve.

The massive concrete tower was built by forced labourers under the German occupying power in 1943. Originally, it was intended as a naval range-finding position to observe enemy ships and was to be part of a network with five other similar towers placed around the island. The rounded front section was for observation and the rear section for accommodation and target plotting.

There are 5 floors to explore with information boards. On a clear day, the observation levels, one of which will have a telescope, offers amazing views to France.

Interpretation includes a visual WWII timeline where visitors will be able to see what was happening in Alderney as well as around the world from 1939 - 1945. Eventually there will also be a movie room which will show a shortened version of Eyefilm's 'Alderney - The War Years' documentary.

Visit Alderney would like to thank historian Colin Partridge and our two very dedicated volunteers Andy Mileham and John Walker, without whom this project would not have happened. Sincere thanks also goes to SURE Community Foundation for their generous sponsorship contribution which covers the electricity costs over the next five years.

The Visit Alderney team, volunteers and some States Members will be at the site between 10am and 4pm on Friday 13 August to greet visitors. Due to the current Covid situation and layout of the building entry will be on a limited on the opening day to a one in one out basis and hand sanitiser will be available.

It must be noted that the private track up to the Odeon is now no longer accessible to vehicles - only walkers and cycles. With the anticipated increase in foot fall to the Odeon through the Longis Nature Reserve, up and down the track, careful thought has had to be given to the potential impact on wildlife in the area. The States of Alderney (as custodians of the Odeon building) has, with the landowners, agreed that to protect the Reserve and its wildlife, motor vehicles will no longer be able to use this private track and signs will be put in place to remind everyone of this.

From the 14th August the Odeon will be open every day to the public between 10am and 4pm (weather permitting). Please be aware that the Odeon is on a cliff edge, therefore extreme care must be taken and children must be supervised at all times. There are also steep steps in the building that may not be suitable for all visitors.

Caroline from Visit Alderney, says: "We are excited to be re-opening this iconic building to the public. The site has been made safe and has been enhanced with extensive interpretation. This project follows the amazing success of the opening of the Roman Fort last year. It also contributes to increase the offer and the attractiveness of the east end of the island."