THE preservation of Wirral's Viking Heritage begins later this week with the launch of a £2million three-year project.

Friday morning's event follows the publication of a report detailing the borough's links with the Norse invaders. It also made five key recommendations so that local history can be fully developed for tourist and educational purposes.

Following a successful bid for development funding from the Mersey Waterfront and English Heritage. It was submitted by Friends of Hoylake and Meols Gardens and Open Spaces' steering group The Heritage Project, set up to oversee the study. Chairman, Wirral West MP Stephen Hesford hopes the launch will help put the borough's Norse links firmly on the map.

"I want to thank all those who have enabled us to put together this wonderful snap-shot of Wirral's fantastic cultural heritage," Mr Hesford said. "And whilst it is early days, I believe that what we have had the privilege of starting will grow into a nationally and internationally acknowledged attraction.

"What we have to do now is find partners to help us grow this development both in terms of funding and delivery."

Among the reports' recommendation are that a Heritage Centre is built in Meols with an iconic Viking sculpture erected on site. The second is for a Wirral Heritage Trail and Norse heritage centre at Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston.

The scheme will be launched at Melrose Hall in Melrose Avenue on Friday morning. If the project goes to plan it would take two or three years and could link in with other developments, such as the 2008 Liverpool Capital of Culture.