IT was the largest battle ever fought between the kingdoms of England and Scotland, but as the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden approaches, the historic site is manned by the world's smallest tourist office – a red phone box.

The old BT telephone booth in Branxton, Northumberland – on the edge of the former battlefield, and just few miles from the Border – was snapped up for a £1 by the local Battlefields Trust charity, which also obtained lottery funding last year to refurbish it ahead of the quincentenary of the clash on September 9 this year.

Clive Hallam-Baker, who looks after the eccentric tourist office, said: "British Telecom was offering old phone boxes to local communities for a pound, so for a bit of a joke we thought, 'we'll have it' and turned it into the tourist office.

"We've done it up, though – we repainted it and we've put up a map showing the routes that both armies took to the battlefield. There are leaflets as well that people can take away and read, and we've produced a book and a DVD about it as well. The battlefield trail around Flodden has also been improved for visitors.

"This is going to be a big year for us – as I speak I can look outside and see that there are people at the phone box having their pictures taken."

Hallam-Baker, who has lived in Branxton for 28 years, said the site was a relatively unknown tourist attraction when he and the Battlefields Trust helped set up Remembering Flodden 10 years ago.

He said: "When we took it on, the number of people visiting Flodden every year was in the hundreds.

"A couple of years ago it was up to around 15,000 and going by the numbers of visitors so far I'm fully expecting it to be well up – around 30,000-40,000."

The Battlefields Trust has also commissioned a "well-known actor" with a "distinctive voice" to record a short history of the battle which visitors will be able to listen to by pressing a button in the phone booth – but the person's identity remains top secret.

In comparison to the 700th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Bannockburn in June next year, the anniversary of the Scots' thwarted invasion into English territory is unlikely to be marked with much fanfare.

The conflict ended disasterously with the death of Scots King James IV on the battlefield – the last monarch in the British Isles to suffer such a fate.

Rosemary Goring, literary editor of The Herald and Sunday Herald, visited the site during research for her novel, After Flodden, which is due to be published on Thursday.

She said: "The size of the visitor centre in Branxton village may seem out of proportion for a battle site of such significance, but in some ways it suits the mood of the place. The phone box booth is a piquant way to attract attention to a battle that many English people have never heard of, and many Scots would prefer to forget.

"Those from the Battlefields Trust who have created it, and who have set up the battlefield trail around the site, deserve a great deal of credit for making sure Flodden is recognised and remembered.

"It may be done on a diminutive scale, but personally I prefer that to making a meal of a tragedy, when the bare facts are enough to remind visitors of the carnage and horror this place witnessed."