As our projects are launched we love to share information about them with you. Our blog gives you further insights into each of our projects and a behind the scenes look at how we work. Our twitter page is also a place we enjoy to contribute to and share in the creative world of heritage interpretation. For our latest conversations, releases and thoughts please join us there.
Did the Alcatraz Island cell house audio tour live up to expectations? Yes!
When it comes to audio guides of international significance the cellhouse tour at Alcatraz has to be one of the most talked about. For years it has been on my bucket list and last month I finally got to visit the island where Al Capone and many of the USA’s most hardened criminals were held between 1924 and 1963.
Alcatraz Island is a popular destination for tourists and I made sure I booked tickets well in advance; getting them on the day is nigh on impossible. We opted for the 09.10 trip on the 1.5 mile boat ride across the choppy waters, but still the crowds were big. However, with only the early bird seafarers ahead of us the island had not swelled significantly in population and we were … Read More »
An audio archive project to capture the views of local people
We were commissioned by TellTale to deliver an audio project on behalf of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape project – a partnership of twenty organisations, led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. It works at a landscape scale, conserving and enhancing the wildlife and built heritage of the relatively unknown Churnet Valley.
Our remit was to interview staff and volunteers explaining how they had been involved in the 20+ programmes of work throughout the life of the project, and what the area meant to them and how they saw it changing in the future.
We undertook 15 one-to-one interviews and attended a number of events to capture the thoughts of many more people. The recordings form a valuable archive and legacy to the project that will prove invaluable for researchers in the coming years and decades.
We then edited … Read More »
Do non-interpreters overlook the art, skill and time required to create good content? Creative Director Dan Boys argues that it may come down to growing confidence and shrinking budgets.
Over the last few years I have noticed something of a trend: more and more clients want to provide and curate their own digital content.
I don’t have an issue with this per-se; there are plenty of talented people out there who can write fantastic interpretive text and work wonders with a camera. Sometimes I am struck by the quality.
We’ve recently finished a project in the Forest of Dean. The client supplied a series of over twenty animated gifs for inclusion in the Hidden Heritage of the Dean app. The images seamlessly fade from historical photos (some 120 years old) to perfect modern day reproductions. These accurate match-ups took months to produce. Firstly … Read More »
A location-aware (web and native) app platform showcasing multimedia places of interest and walking trails.
Display places and trails in list view and as individual pins on the interactive map. Sort by distance and filter by category. Place pages containing text, images, audio and video display when triggered (automatically via GPS or manually by tapping the screen). Trails provide users with route maps and walking directions.
Apps are tailored to your branding, so the question is…do you opt for our web app, native app or both?
Showcase and trigger multimedia PLACES AND TRAILS linked to ANY location, on ANY device with a web browser. Link it seamlessly to your own website. More…
Native Apps are installed via the App Store or Google Play onto (and limited to) iOS and Android devices. Our native apps can be enhanced with plugins that make the most of the device’s … Read More »
Our summary of the interpretation at the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Bosworth Heritage Centre.
Today we finally got round to visiting the King Richard III visitor centre in Leicester. It’s really well done. For me as an interpreter I loved how ‘tricky’ words in the ‘Dig Diary’ gallery had been highlighted and a description was neatly given to the side. The skeleton which describes Richard’s injuries is nicely presented too. However, the ‘pièce de résistance’ comes at the end of the visit. Being able to look into his shallow and hastily dug grave paints a thousand words in your mind, especially as you’ve been able to learn the story beforehand.
Our ticket included entry to Bosworth Heritage Centre too. It was here that the last significant battlefield of the Wars of the Roses between the Lancastrians and Yorksists took place.
This … Read More »
An easy to use Audio Tour Guide solution that provides personal, interactive audio (and video) interpretation for visitors.
In addition to sporting a traditional keypad the audio content can also be triggered by three different types of proximity tags that are placed around a museum, gallery, tourist attraction, heritage site etc. Audio can be synchronised with video and the audio tour guide has a unique anti-theft alarm function.
● Keypad function (with play, pause, fast forward, fast rewind)
● Built in speaker, 3.5mm stereo earphone output
● Supports MP3 audio files
● 99 different languages available, 4096 audio files supported by each language.
● Object name display
● High capacity lithium-ion battery, continuous operating time is more than 12 hours.
● Maximum volume output can be locked
● Audio can be triggered by passive tag (within 0～5cm), infrared ray within (0～10m) and/or RFID signal (0～100m)
● The last three points triggered can be selected and replayed
● Play restrict and play times statistics functions
● Auto playing background music when trigger playing ended
● With vibrate and buzzer prompt function
● Anti-theft alarm function
● Video SYNC function, visitors will hear the synchronous audio when video is playing (our custom HDMI media player is required)
Charge/sync units are available (from a double slot charger to banks of 12).
Contact us for further details.
Showcase and trigger multimedia PLACES AND TRAILS linked to ANY location, on ANY device with a web browser.
Our Places and Trails web app is a website. It displays on any device with a web browser: desktops, smartphones tablets etc and will therefore seamlessly link with your own website.
Web apps have limited access to a device’s native features, but our innovative technology uses your location to display and trigger content relative to the user. Like-for-like our web app option is cheaper than our native apps, plus users can ‘favourite’ places and trails. Strong 3G/4G mobile coverage is preferred for optimum performance.
It’s still not officially live yet but you can still have a go at placesandtrails.com
Would you like us to add Place content near you for testing? Contact us.
Early adopter? We want you!
Would you be interested in creating a location-based tour for … Read More »
An audio trail builds a story, guiding visitors from one point of interest to the next. It may contain oral reminiscences, sound effects, music and/or characterisation; but every single one contains a bit of our soul.
Whilst working for the Peak District National Park Authority Dan became aware of a wonderful collection of oral history recordings. They had been saved on CD and left in the back of a cupboard. It seemed such a shame to deprive the wider world of so many wonderful stories and so he set to work pulling clips from the recordings to create the first downloadable audio guides in the UK. Shortly after Dan set up Audio Trails in 2006.
We’ve interviewed hundreds of people since that time. Soundbites from those recordings (and other archives collecting dust!) have been sympathetically used to create immersive and engaging audio trails and podcasts for a wide variety of clients.
For … Read More »
How do you convey a sense of geologic time to the public? One option is to focus on the major events in the evolution our planet and its residents, and hang them on a washing line.
Most nonscientists are familiar with at least some of the major evolutionary events of our plant’s history. Virtually everyone knows about dinosaurs and that they lived a long time ago. But when did they live relative to the history of this planet?
Why not deploy a length of washing line, on which every inch (25.4mm) represents 20 million years and attached paper markers for all the significant events.
The origins of earth
Your washing line will need to be 18 feet, 11.5 inches (577.9cm) long. The first mark to be encountered on the rope denotes the origin of the earth; the oldest known rocks on the planet, from northwestern … Read More »
How do you learn about the world’s first railway town that has now been absorbed by the 1960s new town of Milton Keynes? Why, download the MK Trails app of course!
“Imagine a geometric pattern of raw, red brick, made up of long straight streets of terraced houses criss-crossing each other…the whole plumped down in the middle of gently undulating green fields and cornlands…and you have a rough bird’s eye view of my home town, Wolverton”
Greta Barker, Buckinghamshire Born
A town of modest red brick terraces, Wolverton is nevertheless unique as the world’s first ‘railway town’. It was built by the London and Birmingham Railway Company in the 1830s to house its workshops and workers.
Welcome To…Milton Keynes
Working with Milton Keynes Living Archive and Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council, Audio Trails have developed a smartphone app based upon their Welcome To…Native app software. The MK Trails: Wolverton app guides visitors and locals around some … Read More »
Low cost softwood interpretation panels from Audio Trails.
Derbyshire-based Junction Arts needed two low-cost interpretation panels for a community arts project in Brimington, near Chesterfield. None of the usual suppliers were able to supply anything within budget, but Audio Trails came to the rescue!
The two A2 softwood panels have fit snuggly into their new home. Printing, frame construction and install came in comfortably under the £1000 budget.
“I am very impressed with the finished product. 2 weeks from quote to install is amazing. A councillor’s nightmare is that something will not be done in the time that you have told your constituents it will be done. In your case you were a week earlier which took the pressure off me. Well done.
I will most certainly recommend you to my colleagues and anyone else I come across.”
Tricia Gilby, County Councillor for Brimington, Hollingwood and … Read More »
The Highland Folk Museum, Britain’s first open air museum, has many fascinating stories to tell.
As visitors explore the 30 buildings they get a flavour of how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up until the 1960s.
Now visitors can also join Alan Crawford and listen to his story ‘In the Land of the Glittering Wood Moss’ and go on a magical journey into the past to discover why Scottish ancient woodland is so special.
Each chapter of the story is played automatically to visitors mobile devices as they move through the 1 mile site.
How is it done?
The story is delivered using Audio Trails’ GPS Tour Guide app software for iOS and Android, which focusses purely on the delivery of audio. Accordingly, visitors don’t even need to take their device out of their pocket or bag to use it!
With no screen distractions, visitors can breathe in the … Read More »
Developing app software, as you can imagine, is not a simple task. More importantly it can be difficult for clients – often on their first foray into the app development process – to visualise an app’s User Experience before it is built.
Accordingly, we’ve found that meaningful testing will only take place once clients have their own app to play with; even if it will potentially look and feel like an app already launched on our Welcome To app platforms.
Invest in stories
The process begins with a review of corporate objectives and end-user personas to create a vision. From this we develop a list of everything that the app could potentially do to meet those needs. As people think in narratives, we build this list of ‘stories’ using the INVEST mnemonic, i.e. each one is:
– Independent – actionable and ‘completable’ on its … Read More »
A multi-sensory trail for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.
Old Tree Nursery is a plant and garden nursery set in a beautiful rural setting in Pendeford near Wolverhampton. They offer training and employment opportunities for young people and adults with learning disabilities and mental ill-health.
Nature Feely Boxes
Audio Trails were commissioned to install engaging and educational signage through their small woodland. Following discussions with those who were going to use the trail, our solution was to custom design and build interactive ‘nature feely boxes’ for a Gruffalo-inspired trail. Each box has a lift up flap to reveal a small themed interpretation panel, with links to online content. Another flap contains feely items related to that theme. The boxes are located on softwood posts and interspersed between woodland chainsaw-carved sculptures throughout the woodland.
“The job was originally sourced by our Director but Dan … Read More »
A location-aware (iOS & Android) app taking you to the sites that inspired the creative talents of revered artists such as JW Turner and Sir Walter Scott.
The Heart of Teesdale (HoT) Landscape Partnership is a Heritage Lottery funded (HLF) project based in Barnard Castle in Teesdale and hosted by Durham County Council.
Audio Trails was commissioned to develop an app that showcases:
– the cultural heritage of local artists, such as Turner and Cotman, and writers, such as Walter Scott
– modern artistic heritage through HoT’s Teesdale Viewmarkers project -12 modern viewmarkers placed in the landscape, and the rich (sometimes gruesome) history of Barnard Castle.
The app also contains:
– Maps and directions for 11 walking trails of varying distance and themes, with GPS tracking
– Fascinating information about historic and cultural places of interest that make Teesdale unique
– A focus on music and dialect and the importance of place … Read More »
The Gower Peninsula in Swansea is a land of history, beauty and amazing variety.
The ‘This is Gower’ app has featured on BBC’s Countryfile and Radio Wales. Scroll down to watch/listen.
There are now several resources available to help you explore Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and learn about its natural and built heritage, its archaeology and lesser-known industrial history, together with past traditions and practices.
This is Gower app
‘This is Gower’ is a location-aware guide to the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With over 80 places to explore, the app (available on iOS and Android) promotes popular locations such as Worms Head and Arthur’s Stone alongside other less well-known spots that appeal to both visitors and locals alike.
This is Gower also features 15 easy-to-follow trails varying in length and theme for users to explore – from a quick jaunt to visit … Read More »
Apple’s iPod is the cornerstone of portable digital music as we know it today. So how did it inspire music lovers, and heritage interpreters?
“With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go.” said former Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he introduced the iPod on October 23, 2001. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.”
It took 3 years before the iPod really gained traction, and like many of Apple’s products, it wasn’t the first of its kind. MP3 players had been around for a few years previous, but the iPod could hold more music and was complemented by iTunes. This software made transferring music much easier than anything before it.
When phones were for calls
Back in 2004 mobile phones … Read More »
Last week we had an audience with Prince Andrew The Duke of York, KG at Pitch@Palace 6.0 to demo our new product for 2017.
Along with 16 other entrepreneurs we pitched the concept of a web-based version of our GPS-triggered native apps to an audience of CEOs, Investors and Mentors at The AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), Sheffield.
Entrepreneurs from Biotech and Medical Technology to Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality all had 3 minutes to win the hearts of the judges.
“The standard and passion of Businesses today was outstanding. We will support you with next steps.”
The Duke of York
Our pitch was to get introductions to key decision makers who run tourist attractions and heritage sites. Our new cross-browser web app uses HTML5 geolocation to trigger places of interest and trails, just like our native (iOS and Android) app software currently offers.
The website will come online in … Read More »
As Mac user for many years I had never really entertained the idea of switching from iPhone to Android as my main device, but on a bit of a whim I found myself changing sides.
You won’t be surprised to hear that I love tech and in the past I liked having the latest iPhone as the new functionality it held within offered exciting new possibilities. I have had my iPhone5s for some time now and the reason for this is that the technology inside it is more than adequate for my needs. When my contract ran out I had no intention of upgrading to an newer iPhone, although a larger screen size did appeal. I also vowed I would buy my next phone outright rather than be a slave to the contract.
In recent months we’ve made some really nice … Read More »
The Forest of Dean’s heritage is no longer a fading memory.
Through the power of amazing imagery, the Hidden Heritage of the Dean iOS and Android app reveals the area’s rich industrial past that was in danger of being lost forever.
In 2015 Audio Trails was commissioned by a group of passionate local historians with a life-long love of the area’s gritty past to develop an app. Bob Smith was one of those Foresters,
“As an eight year old I used to wonder around the Forest looking for signs of its mining and rail past. I felt strongly for the last 20 years that our real heritage was being obliterated, hidden and lost in pursuit of the Forest being turned into an adventure park.”
With the help of an interactive 1920s Ordnance Survey map, the GPS-triggered app guides visitors along the Forest of Dean’s ‘Family cycle trail’ – the former Severn and … Read More »
Pokemon Go is not the first AR game app where the public seek to collect hidden characters.
A few years back we developed ‘Mission:Butterfly‘ for Caerphilly Borough County Council. The app uses a combination of ordinary technologies built into smartphones, including location tracking and cameras, to encourage people to explore a nature reserve, seeking collectible characters that they try to nab.
Sounds familiar? This game has many functional comparisons with Pokemon Go, but it goes to show it usually needs something rather momentus to push a concept mainstream. Augmented Reality has been found for some time now and we will no doubt see lots of variants of Pokemon Go in the coming months/years.
You may have read the positive (encouraging people to get out and explore their own and other communities) and negative (people being robbed, stabbed and shot!) news stories about Pokeman … Read More »
An audio trail celebrating community activism.
From a crime-riddled no-go area to desirable estate. That has been the transformation of Perry Common over the last 25 years – all captured in the Perry Common and Me audio trail.
In the 1920s Witton Lodge Farm became a housing estate on the outskirts of Birmingham. Residents from the cities back-to-back slums were moved to this idyllic spot. The new houses were built from an innovative design of steel and concrete that would prove to be their downfall half a century later.
Once these infamous Boot Houses began to fail in the 1980s, residents were told their houses would be demolished, yet they were given no assurances about where they would live. The community was about to be torn apart. The residents took action and took the lead in protecting their future. It was hard work, but their … Read More »
The Ashdown Forest Explorer iOS app is the essential guide to exploring the home of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Ashdown Forest is the largest public access space in the South East of England, attracting at least 1.5 million visitors a year. On account of its heathland and populations of many rare species, it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It also lies at the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is ‘home’ to one of the world’s most famous fictional creatures, Winnie-the-Pooh.
Despite this, visitors often find it difficult to orientate themselves when they arrive at any of the 44 car parks located across the Forest’s 10 square miles.
The Ashdown Forest Explorer iOS app locates you in the Forest and offers ten walking trails to help you explore all corners of the Forest. Why not follow in the footsteps of Pooh, visit the Airman’s Grave or … Read More »
The second in a series of walks following London’s underground. This time it is the Central Line.
In February I walked the line of the Victoria Undergound Line, overground. I’m doing it again, but this time the Central Line will be the inspiration.
So why am I not walking the full line? Firstly, it is 46 miles long in its entirety and reading between the lines, the east and western sections were a bit of a slog for Mark Mason who wrote ‘Walking the Lines’ my inspiration for these walks. Secondly, the reason I am in London is because I have a meeting in Stratford. In fact I have two, so it seems a sensible place to begin, and then head west. Having re-read the Central Line chapter in Walking the Lines, Mason hasn’t included as many fun facts for this line so I’ve … Read More »
Although I only live a 10 minute drive from the start of the High Peak Trail, I have never travelled its full length. In fact I realised there are some sections that I had never visited. It’s also longer than I thought too!
The High Peak Trail follows the route of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway that connected the Cromford and Peak Forest canals. It starts at High Peak Junction before heading steeply uphill – a rise of 300m over the first 7km.
This eastern end is a section I am very familiar with and it features in one of the trails on our free Discover Derbyshire & Peak District app – the Cromford Heritage Trail – it includes plenty of information about the railway and Sir Richard Arkwright – pioneer of the modern factory system. In fact, just a few … Read More »
In Bill Bryson’s latest book, the nation’s favourite travel writer spends quite some time giving his opinion on the museum world.
I’ve just finished reading Bill Bryson’s latest book The Road to Little Dribbling. Boy, he’s gotten grumpy! That’s not a criticism. It adds an edge to his witty quips and observations.
His sequel to Notes from a Small Island, the most successful travel book ever, sees Bryson re-explore his adopted homeland. Now, I’ve come a little too late to the table to offer a book review but I have been drawn to write about the museum visits he makes during the book, and his interpretation…of the interpretation.
Bryson, a former President of the CPRE, is a passionate fan of the British countryside and in my mind makes some valuable observations about museum visitors, and for one he represents one of the larger … Read More »
This 5 mile walk commences with a sedate journey along the Caldon Canal from Froghall before rising out of the valley through lush woodland. Breathe in wonderful views before concluding with a walk down what is claimed to be the oldest official railway in the world.
It’s a May weekend and I’m staying at Foxtwood Cottages in return for writing this trail for the Discover Derbyshire & Peak District app. It’s the second time this year we’ve come to such an arrangement with an accommodation provider.
Today Froghall Wharf is a quintessential idyllic rural location, but in every corner lies evidence of a once bustling hub of industry.
Imagine the scene here in the 19th century. Small trucks laden with limestone would have continuously arrived down the incline from Caldon Low Quarry, three miles to the east. Loads were shunted around the yard … Read More »
Cromford Mill, gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, was the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill. Today the site is undergoing another transformation, with innovation once again at its heart.
As a member of Marketing Derbyshire & Peak District I was invited to a familiarisation day at Cromford Mills. This was an opportunity not to be missed.
This hugely historic site – the birthplace of the factory system and all that came with it – is a 15 minute journey from my door, yet I realised I still had much to learn about its history.
The aim of the event was to introduce Cromford Mill’s newly unveiled Gateway and ‘Arkwright Experience’. We were welcomed with tea, coffee and cake – big yummy cake direct from their cafe – and a presentation by Chief Executive Sarah Mcleod.
Then it was on … Read More »
Walk through the centuries at Rufford Abbey.
Rufford Abbey is the best-preserved remains of a Cistercian abbey west cloister range in England, dating mainly from around 1170. It was later incorporated into part of a 17th century mansion, set in the beautiful grounds of what is now Rufford Country Park.
Use the iOS and Android apps to explore some of Rufford’s hidden history as you walk around the modern day country park.
You can play our Tree Trail iSpy game and take a unique souvenir photo of your visit using one of our special photo frames. The app also contains a timeline picture gallery.
“I was initially a bit nervous about commissioning a phone app to help visitors explore the history of our site. I feared being confused by technobabble. To my relief, Dan didn’t overwhelm me with smartphone and developer jargon. He explained the development … Read More »
The reservoirs and surrounding landscape of the South Pennines provide a fantastic place for recreation and wildlife. These reservoirs also have a fascinating history that you can discover when you download the FREE South Pennines Reservoirs Trails app.
For 2016 the app has been given a visual overhaul and two new trails have been added.
Google Play review:
Excellent app, great to see support for these areas. I enjoy doing some of these walks around moorland reservoirs and this app is a fantastic addition to the experience and will also open up new area for me to explore. 5/5 top marks and thank you to the people with the vision to create this.
Earn and share badges each time you check-in to a new Place.
The app is based upon our Welcome to app software and includes an interactive GPS map, walking trails and … Read More »
It’s not every night you get to sleep in the shadows of the Natural History Museum’s most famous resident.
Late on Saturday afternoon, armed with sleeping bags and snacks, we joined a growing queue of onesie-wearing kids (and their guardians) at a side entrance to the Natural History Museum (NHM). We were here for Dinosnores, a special sleepover event at the museum.
If you’ve ever watched the Night at the Museum film series then your curiosity will have no doubt been piqued by exactly what happens at museums when everyone goes home. We were here to find out.
Our Team Leader lead us into Hintze Hall, the central hall where the fossil replica of Dippy the diplodocus currently stands guard over the main entrance. As one of the first ‘Red Raptors’ to arrive, we were given the option to select any one of … Read More »
Discover how the Pembrokeshire town of Milford Haven was created and has developed over the years with a new audio guide at the museum.
Having already produced two audio trails around the town on behalf of the Milford Haven Port Authority, Audio Trails were commissioned by the museum to record multi-lingual audio tours around the refurbished museum.
Milford Haven has been connected with a number of industries – fishing, Quaker whaling from 1790s, which led to the whale oil industry and more recently the modern oil industry. It has also played an important role during the two World Wars, when it was a convoy assembly point for mine-sweeping. The Museum collection reflects all of these aspects of the town’s history, but focuses particularly on the maritime history.
‘The Milford Haven Museum is embracing the 21st century with the new multi-lingual audio tour handsets they have to offer in 2016. Visitors will now be … Read More »
The Archaeological Way is an 11-mile multi-user trail between Pleasley Pit Country Park and Creswell Crags.
The new location-aware iOS and Android Archaeological Way app lets you explore the history of a changing limestone landscape. The underlying geology of Permian Magnesian Limestone has helped create the landscape you’ll discover. Grasslands, farmland and woodlands are crossed by small streams which carved gorges and vales, such as Creswell Crags and Pleasley Vale. Disused railway lines and old colliery sites are transformed into trails and country parks. Shirebrook Wood, Poulter and Pleasley Pit country parks are now havens for wildlife.
Local Derbyshire firm Audio Trails worked with Bolsover Countryside Partnership and Limestone Journeys to develop the app, which features an offline map, audio interviews with local people and public artworks commissioned as part of the project. The app also includes a field guide to the areas flora and fauna, compiled by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
‘I’d like to … Read More »
Walkers can now take a trip back in time to discover the industrial history of the Yorkshire Dales national park, thanks to new app.
For decades, lead mining played a massive part in the shaping of the landscape and the communities in the national park.
The free app, which has been developed by Audio Trails on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and mainly funded by Historic England, is an absolute must for anyone who wants to learn about the industry while they are actually walking around the sites. It’s like having your own personal tour guide.
The app contains archive images, site descriptions, plus pinch and zoom OS maps for the whole national park. Sites range from Grassington miners’ cottages to the Old Gang peat store in Swaledale.
There are also audio trails, walking routes, activities for children and useful visitor … Read More »
Cultybraggan Camp is one of the last remaining and best preserved purpose-built WWII Prisoner of War camps in Britain.
The Comrie Development Trust are embarking on an exciting mission to attract more visitors to this important piece of heritage.
Audio Trails were commissioned to advise how visitors to one of Scotland’s hidden gems could connect to digital content regarding the history of Cultybraggan Camp; how that content can be delivered on site; and what stories should be told.
Today, the remaining Nissen Huts provide a physical link to the stories of the people that lived and worked at Cultybraggan: Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess was said to be held here, along with the Black patches (the most ardent Nazis). The camp also boasts it own ‘Great Escape’, and a murder or two.
The Interpretation Plan provides supporting evidence for a large HLF bid that will not only see the … Read More »
During two 2-day visits this year I’ve had the opportunity to explore some of south east London’s geological wonders. Do you know where in the city to find 55 million year old sharks teeth, and 6000 year old forests?
The answers are revealed in twelve geological time trails, available to download from the Green Chain website. Here’s a little more of what you can expect:
Geology can be a tricky subject to understand, but its influence on the land above is astounding. It is London’s strata that determined underground train lines could only be dug on the north of the Thames and not on the south side. For the experts that undertake this kind of engineering project you may find them at Gilbert’s Pit. This is a rare chance to see all of London’s geological strata and understand what problems the different … Read More »
Audio Trails were chosen to design and build a permanent exhibition (with a twist) that welcomes visitors to Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.
Magna is an exciting journey into the world of steelmaking. The Templeborough steelworks (as it was called) was once the largest electric melting shop in the world and the site’s industrial history stretches back to Roman times. ‘Steel, Peech and Tozer’ was the company, but everyone called it ‘Steelos’.
Previously the concrete bunker through which visitors first entered Magna was dark and uninspiring. With funding secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Magna were able to commission Audio Trails to turn this dour space into a vibrant exhibition that reveals the 2000 year history of steelmaking on this site.
The interpretation panels provide a timeline and insight into the people that worked here. You can listen to their stories and read more about the site’s history on … Read More »
Ever wondered what it would be like to follow the London Underground through the streets? It may be a slower form of transport but you get to see a lot more.
After spending two days exploring the vertical layers of geology that south east London has to offer I now find myself on a train to Brixton. Why? I’m going to explore a different cross section of the city. This time a horizontal one from south west to north east; although once again, the geology has played an important role in this walks origin.
Today I am walking the Victoria underground line, overground; through its streets rather than its intended subterranean course. This journey is inspired by a book I picked up in a charity shop last year. Walking the Lines records Mark Mason’s journey walking all of London’s underground lines overground, … Read More »
Audio Trails were appointed to design and develop a multimedia tour for Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Sheffield; a unique eighteenth century industrial steelworks.
Abbeydale is a challenging site for visitors to understand and, in particular, to explore physically. Some key spaces are inaccessible for people with impaired mobility. The Abbeydale Explorer app provides an enhanced visiting experience for the wide spectrum of people that visit.
Visitors can borrow iPads when they buy tickets or download the app to their own iOS or Android device. The app contains subtitled fly-through videos that provide a guide to inaccessible parts of the site. Engaging and informative text, plus audio commentaries and high quality photographs further allow visitors to understand the rich history of Abbeydale. Visitors can also use the app to create and send virtual postcards, follow story themes and partake in fun activities at each … Read More »
Explore, discover and enjoy the amazing landscape, wildlife and heritage of Exmoor with this official National Park Authority app.
Exmoor National Park, in south west England is a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, shaped by people and nature over thousands of years. Rich in wildlife and history, Exmoor is one of England’s finest landscapes.
Hidden heritage revealed
The Discover Exmoor app iOS and Android apps offer fascinating, location-aware information on key sites throughout Exmoor, revealing hidden heritage through pictures, text and audio. Walking routes allow visitors to join these points of interest together and make the most of any visit. Once downloaded all the content (including zoomable mapping) is available to use offline.
Send a postcard/ask an expert
The app lets you send a virtual postcard to friends, family and following, and if you want to know the answer to a burning question about … Read More »
Discover and explore 225 ‘hidden gems’ across Derbyshire and the Peak District.
The new ‘Discover Derbyshire & Peak District’ Android and iOS app features self-guided walking trails with historical photos from private collections and the public domain.
Discovering which suburb was built by a Russian wrestler, where Liquorice Allsorts were invented, how a duck made a lasting impression in a tree and why a social outcast had a hamlet named after him are just some of the stories contained in the location-aware ‘virtual museum’ app.
James Berresford, CEO at Visit England grew up in Derbyshire:
“As a local boy I was impressed by the range and depth of lesser known places and topics the app unearthed. It’s definitely not the usual run of the mill, to be expected content – well done!”
An innovative ‘superimpose’ feature allows app users to have fun taking their own … Read More »
Discover the past, present and future of the revolutionary Great Fen project to create a living landscape for the benefit of wildlife and people.
The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire wanted an interactive mobile app to act as an interpretative and way-finding tool to take people through the Great Fen landscape.
The Great Fen is one of the largest restoration projects of its type in Europe. With this new app, built using our Welcome To app software, you can explore this huge wetland landscape and learn about the unprecedented conservation benefits it has bought for wildlife, as well as building new opportunities for people. With fascinating information guiding you on your exploration, the iOS and Android apps brings together trails, species information, heritage conservation and social interaction features in one handy interactive guide.
Discover audio, film and stunning images as you … Read More »
As part of Tring 700 initiative – celebrating the heritage of 700 years of Tring as a market town – Tring Together wanted to create a Heritage Trail that introduces visitors to sites of historical interest around the town.
Audio Trails were commissioned to create an HLF-funded location-aware app for iOS and Android, and an education pack. Both the app and education pack contain information and fun activity points along the trails. The app includes our fun SUPERimpose feature – allowing you to take photos that match historic archive photos – creating your own ‘Then & Now’ collection.
The education pack can be used on its own or to complement the Tring app. The pack supports curriculum planning and activity suggestions are relevant to a range of learning outcomes in Key Stage 1 and 2.
Audio Trails were chosen for the project because … Read More »
Quarrying in the Yorkshire Dales National Park has sometimes been controversial, but the industry has improved enormously since the early days of the 20th Century when work started at Threshfield. Audio Trails were commissioned to produce the Threshfield Quarry Heritage (iOS & Android) apps, allowing visitors to explore the changes at the quarry.
Threshfield Quarry closed in 2000 and almost all of the buildings have been cleared from the site. Using this app you can superimpose historical photographs over the present-day scene to see how much it has changed. Short video sequences show what it was like to stand in the quarry when it was working.
Have a blast!
Limestone and limestone products are a vital part of modern life and the app can let you see how the stone is obtained. Collect tokens as you explore the quarry, press the plunger and … Read More »
Take an open-top safari of the New Forest National Park with a new bus commentary system.
Special audio commentaries tell the stories of the people and places of the New Forest – with characters, sounds and music bringing the view to life. On the Tours you’ll get a birdseye view of the landscape and a better chance of spotting the beautiful animals of the New Forest – including deer and rare birds, pigs and donkeys, and of course the famous ponies.
There are three New Forest Bus Tours (with separate commentaries) to choose from that run daily from June to September each year.
In 2015, Audio Trails were called in to provide a robust commentary solution after systems from other suppliers had failed to deliver in previous years. Our GPS triggered Welcome To Tour Guide iOS app plays over the bus PA system and has proved a success:
We’ve been … Read More »
A look at 4 decades of home computing, mobile phones, digital cameras and even YouTube…
“Why anyone would ever want to look at photos on a TV screen?” That was what bewildered company executives told the Kodak engineer who first proposed the idea of a ‘filmless camera’ to them in 1975. This concept was of course the first digital camera.
Thirty years later, I received a similar response from my contemporaries when I proposed a new approach to audio guides. Taken by my enthusiasm I was left to pursue the idea and develop the first downloadable audio trails in the UK. Until that time audio guides were limited to indoor locations and listened to on hired handsets/wands: In 2005 you could count the number of ‘audio trail’ Google search results on one hand – today there are nearly 60 million!
Having set … Read More »
So you have an idea for an app and you’d like to know how much it will cost to build it?
Well, sometimes this can be like asking how long is a piece of string. Either way, for you to know as much about your idea as possible, and ideally have a specification document to go along with it helps everyone.
A spec can sometimes be a difficult thing to put together, so see below for some of the most important things we would need to know before providing a quote.
Aims & Background
Knowing exactly what you hope your app will do is important. Does it solve a practical problem? Does it have a Unique Selling Point? Not only will listing your aims for the project help us understand your app, it will help you to consolidate your idea and inform the rest … Read More »
During 1854 travel writer George Borrow journeyed across Wales on foot. He recorded his interaction with the Welsh people, its language and scenery. Today you can follow in Borrow’s footsteps using this app. Read his vivid accounts of Welsh life in the mid 19th century and uncover just how much change has taken place during that time.
“No one has hindered me hitherto. Wherever I have been in Wales I have experienced nothing but kindness and hospitality, and when I return to my own country I will say so.”
There are 100 places to discover across Wales, and a series of walking trails to enjoy. Take souvenir photographs and share them with friend, family and followers.
The iOS app also features an image fader function so you can compare pictures of the past with today’s scene. If you are interested in an Android … Read More »
The Archbishop’s Palace at Southwell Minster is layered with over 1000 years of history. Events that took place here have formed the fabric of the nation and altered its course.
Audio Trails were commissioned to design an interactive multimedia tour that provides a fascinating ‘Who’s who’ of the people that shaped the history of Archbishop’s Palace. It was here that Cardinal Wolsey spent the final months of his life at the Palace, trying to clear his name after failing to annul the first marriage of Henry VIII. King Charles I was brought to the State Chamber to complete the ‘paperwork’ of his final imprisonment.
The State Chamber’s portraiture and artefacts are visual markers for the rich content contained within the beautiful iOS and Android apps.
“It has been a pleasure working with Audio Trails to create our very own app for the Archbishop’s Palace. … Read More »
Our Places and Trails native app platform for iOS & Android is the gold standard for location-responsive, interactive visitor guide apps. It uses GPS and iBeacons to determine the user’s location and display nearby places of interest on interactive mapping.
With rich content and optional plugins, our Places and Trails native app software has been specifically designed to encourage exploration of the countryside, heritage sites, museums and tourist attractions.
Native Apps are installed via the App Store or Google Play onto (and limited to) iOS and Android devices. Once downloaded they are fully operational, regardless of mobile network coverage, as they support offline mapping. Users are notified when they trigger a place even if the app isn’t on screen (backgrounded).
Our high quality and modular digital visitor guide apps have all the advantages of a bespoke package.
Places and Trails features a sliding navigation menu that allows users to switch from … Read More »
A cost-effective GPS tour guide system for tour operators and visitors on foot.
The GPS Audio Tour Guide is a revolutionary app platform designed for location based audio entertainment on buses, boats, coaches and trains, or visitors on foot. Our GPS Audio Tour Guide app software provides clients with a high-quality tour product, designed for durability and ease-of-use.
Case Study: New Forest Bus GPS Audio Tour Guide
Learn why the New Forest National Park Authority chose our app to provide a robust commentary solution.
For this example, pre-recorded audio commentary is played over the Public Address (PA) systems of the New Forest’s fleet of tour buses at set locations along 3 different routes. Equally, the app could be linked to small wireless receivers and headsets. The audio can also be manually over-ridden if you need to interupt it to make an important announcement.
The one-screen iOS app is a plug … Read More »
We develop, coordinate and deliver a range of learning programmes to motivate and inspire. If you are looking to create or update formal educational materials or enhance your informal learning provision we can help.
We specialise in:
Devising education packages and creating learning materials and resources
Curriculum development to complement and extend learning across all subjects
Content writing, story and character development
Evaluating, reviewing and testing existing education provision
Planning and delivering training and workshops
During the First World War, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, the owner of Morden Hall, offered his home to the War Office for use as an auxiliary hospital. A hospital for around 100 men of below officer rank was established in the hall.
Through research supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Attic Theatre uncovered some of the lost stories of Morden Hall’s unique contribution to the First World War. The stories of the gardeners who left the Hall to go to war, the soldiers who recovered in the grounds of the Park and the young women who embarked on nursing careers were turned into a performance in September 2014 and captured for posterity as an audio trail for you to enjoy at any time.
To access the audio trail and route directions please visit Attic Theatre’s website.
Dan was very easy to … Read More »
To outline the basics and benefits of a mobile website vs. mobile app, MDG Advertising developed the following informative infographic.
It outlines the options and opportunities behind both mobile methods, along with the facts and figures regarding reach and response to help organisations make the right move to mobile.
Ultimately it depends what you want the your app to do, but if you are ready this page then you are probably looking for a location aware solution. We’ve been developing GPS-triggered native apps since 2010, but now, thanks to our collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, we are offering location-aware web apps too.
A MILLION thanks, you’ve done a fantastic job for us. Your amazing support, patience and endeavours created the perfect app!!
Liz Dutch, Clerk Llansteffan and Llanybri CC
The historic village of Llanybri stands proudly astride the Llansteffan peninsula, separating the Rivers Tȃf and Tywi which flow into Carmarthen Bay. Generations of settlers and travelers have left their mark on this farming community, contributing to its rich and colourful heritage.
The location-aware app (universally available for Android and iOS devices) contains offline mapping and three trails to follow. Immerse yourself in personal stories attached to landmarks you pass along the coast, the pilgrim pathways and the farming hinterland. You will also hear how Dylan Thomas relied on the ferryman to visit friends and relatives in the Llansteffan locality, whether the pilgrim’s graves are legend or fact and where iron-age remains have been found.
If you are looking to raise funds for a new project then the following programmes may be able to help:
Grants for World War I interpretation projects
The Heritage Lottery Fund has a £6 million small grants programme to enable communities to mark the centenary of World War I. First World War Now and Then.
Sharing Heritage Fund
Grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are available to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.
£10 million to commemorate top British events
Over the next four years the Heritage Lottery Fund will dedicate £10 million to the celebration and commemoration of the nation’s shared history.
Comic Relief has re-launched its UK Grants Programme
Charities registered in the UK and other not-for-profit organisations can apply for grants starting from £10,000 a year for three years. Their grant making … Read More »
“It has been a pleasure to work with Ruth from beginning to end of the project. Her background in both education and interpretation has made the whole process a lot smoother with the addition of a ‘teacher’s eye’ to suggest additions and amendments to ideas for the education resource. It may also be her background in teaching which has given her the patience of a saint(!) and an absolute joy to work with both professionally and personally. Feedback from teachers has been really positive and we are really proud to have this new resource.”
Erin Lloyd-Jones, Lifelong Learning Manager (North Wales)
Cadw are responsible for some of the most significant sites in the world, helping people understand and care about their place and history – and the place of Wales in the world.
The bilingual education pack is directly linked to STEM and … Read More »
Dan was amazing to work with, endlessly patient with the delays caused by ourselves, dealing with community led projects is often challenging but he gently led us to our destination. The audio trail app is fantastic, the clips give a real flavour of our heritage, local people are fascinated by it and we hope that in due course visitors will also use the trail to share in our past.
Caroline Roberts, Llangeler Community Council
The picturesque village of Drefach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry, earning it the nickname ‘The Huddersfield of Wales’.
This bilingual iOS app allows visitors to immerse themselves in this industry and learn how it differed from its agriculture-dominated hinterland. The app features a beautiful offline map that allows visitors to explore the area even though the mobile network coverage … Read More »
Newcastle Emlyn hasn’t always been a pretty little market town. A letter to the Editor of the Western Mail paints a rather sorry picture of life here in the late 19th century.
It has been a pleasure to work with you on our project, you were very helpful and came up with fabulous ideas and the end product is absolutely wonderful and should ensure that people over the world can read and hear about Newcastle Emlyn. A very big thank you for a very professional finish.
Hazel Evans, Newcastle Emlyn Town Council
This GPS-triggered trail focuses upon those darker times; stories that have been painstakingly collected by local historian Ken Jones and brought together in this bilingual app. View lovely archive images of Newcastle Emlyn and listen to Ken reveal gory local stories that include where the last fatal duel in Wales took … Read More »
Last month I went to France with my family and during the last week of our holiday we explored the Western Front – the scene of horrific and bloody frontline conflicts during World War 1.
Firstly we went to Verdun. The village of Fleury, or at least its pockmarked remains, were very poignant. During the war it was completely destroyed and the land was made uninhabitable to such an extent that a decision was made not to rebuild it. The area was so contaminated by corpses, explosives and poisonous gas that no farmer could work the land. Today only stones mark the location of each building and the occupation of its owner.
Having headed west to the Somme I was moved by the massive crater we found at La Boiselle (feature image courtesy of Georges Vandenbulke © 2011). A mine had been … Read More »
Burial grounds and churchyards are wonderful places to learn.
The bilingual education pack we produced for Caring for God’s Acre contains a host of activities, ideas and inspiration for the exploration of burial grounds of all kinds. It is available in Welsh and English and includes detailed curriculum links to support planning in a range of subjects including science, art and design, English and history.
It has been great to work with such a thoughtful and professional person, able to run with our ideas and work flexibly to ensure that the pack both reflects the ethos of our charity but is also a useful resource, linked to both the English and Welsh curriculae.
Everyone within our organisation is delighted with the finished product and we have been receiving praise for it since it went live.
I would definitely wish to work with you … Read More »
Explore the Conservation Area around the oldest cricket ground in the world!
Mitcham Cricket Green Community and Heritage – a small civic society in south London – successfully applied for HLF funding to undertake a number of heritage projects, including the creation of an audio trail.
The Conservation Area boasts an array of interesting buildings and some fascinating stories: it is the site of the oldest cricket ground in the world, the oldest railway line and the oldest fair.
When the group approached Audio Trails Tony Burton stressed they were keen to develop new skills, “We are a small and inexperienced group and part of the reason for seeking an HLF grant is to help build its strength and capabilities. We are keen, therefore, to use the process to provide training for volunteers and not just to buy an ‘off the shelf product’.”
Audio … Read More »
Fancy a day out enjoying the peace of the south-east Essex countryside? Discover the wildlife, the scenery and the history of the Belfairs and Daws Heath Living Landscape.
Explore the ancient woodlands of Southend-on-Sea and Daws Heath through walking trails, spoken histories, places of interest and a field guide. With interesting information guiding you on your exploration of the countryside and interaction for children, the iOS and Android app will help you easily discover the wildlife on your doorstep.
– Offline map of the Belfairs and Daws Heath Living Landscape, featuring 8 fantastic ancient woodlands
– Fascinating information about the different places of interest
– Sensory Scrapbook game
– Easy-to-use Field Guide with interesting facts about the wildlife you will see
– Audio snippets from the people who live and work in the area
– GPS tracking will alert you when you are near a place or … Read More »
With 15 years experience we help organisations to develop ideas, engage audiences and secure funding. We find solutions that are creative and practical. Our plans reflect the significance of a place and the opportunities they offer for visitor enjoyment.
We set high standards of project management, integrity of research, local consultation, thematic development and preparation of reports. We work to time and to budget.
Driving our work is a strong understanding and awareness of why and how interpretation and learning can contribute to the management of sites and to the experience of those who visit them. We aim to widen visitor’s horizons and provide a sense of satisfaction in exchange for their time, money and effort.
We develop strategic plans, activity plans, training plans, interpretative plans, learning plans, feasibility studies and evaluation plans to support Round 1 and 2 HLF bids and applications … Read More »
Visitors to Old Glossop, Derbyshire can now easily discover the important role the village played in the early cotton industry.
Audio Trails were commissioned to produce a responsive website, an audio trail, a family activity sheet, four interpretation panels and a further 15 location-specific mini-interpretation plaques, putting a wealth of information at people’s fingertips.
Visit the project website – www.oldglossoptrail.co.uk – to learn about this fantastic village and download the resources.
“I was most pleased to be able to work with Dan, from the early stages of the project when he was researching the possibilities for topics and places to include and when he required all the Old Glossop images which I supplied to be used in the various digital and signboard displays, and later contacting the Duke of Norfolk for permission to use his family coat of arms and also finding voices … Read More »
Visitors to the Forest of Marston Vale can now easily orientate themselves and enjoy a wide range of walking, cycling and horse-riding trails. Audio Trails were commissioned to produce one super-sized outdoor panel and two further indoor panels for the Forest Centre, which stands at the heart of the site. Furthermore, Audio Trails also supplied a self-powered audio post and downloadable trail PDFs for 8 trails around the forest.
‘Working with Dan at Audio Trails was easy as his product knowledge and enthusiasm was second to none, as was the quality of work produced.’
Darren Woodward, Forest Development Officer, Marston Vale Trust
To download the trail PDFs visit marstonvale.org
We design and build bespoke on-site interpretative furniture to engage visitors. We excel at devising unique concepts and bringing them to life.
Take a look at some examples below and get in touch to discuss your project.
We tailor each exhibition design to the requirements of the client. Read about our Steelos Gallery case study to learn why it was a permanent exhibition with a twist.
We offer a range of timber and metal interpretation frames to suit all budgets. And we design and print panels in all shapes and sizes too.
Nature Feely Boxes
Custom designed and built interactive ‘nature feely boxes’ provide a multi-sensory experience for children and adults alike. Read our Old Tree Nursery case study for a Gruffalo-inspired woodland trail for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. Read more.
Mapping is a fundamental part of our business. We use them in … Read More »
An interactive heritage trail combines traditional interpretation panels with digital content.
Let’s give you an example. On behalf of the Canal & River Trust we produced interactive heritage trails along the Burnley Canal and the Montgomery Canal.
We designed and printed small interpretation plaques. Each one was attached to a 4 inch/100mm wide post (or similar) along the towpath at key points of interest. Each visually stimulating plaque contains a short piece of text and an image so that visitors walking along the canal can read this soundbite and enhance their knowledge.
Interactive call to action
The plaques also contain a call to action to ‘Go Digital’ and discover more. They do this with their phone/tablet by either scanning a QR code or typing in the short URL which takes them directly to a rich content webpage. Here, more text, images, plus audio, video, PDFs (activity packs are popular) etc can be accessed and … Read More »
Before its closure in 1981, Lofthouse Colliery was not only a nationally known pit it was the lifeblood of the local community.
Using this GPS-triggered app you can now explore the former colliery site and hear the tales of the ex-miners – the Lofthouse Family – and view their photographs. Listen to the miners recall the exploits of their daily lives and their first hand experiences of that fateful day in 1973 when disaster struck.
You’ve been fantastic to work with, from the initial idea to the final product. Not only have you done exactly what we asked you to, but you’ve added so much more, with your many creative ideas. The community group enjoyed your visits to the site, and we are all delighted with the finished app. It’s great to be able to share the miners’ memories not only with … Read More »
Mission:Butterfly turns a guided walk into an incredible Augmented Reality adventure.
The Mission: Find and collect 15 butterflies hiding in the Caerphilly countryside. Use the app to track each species down and see how many you can catch.
Mission: Butterfly can only be played outside on a visit to at Aberbargoed Grasslands National Nature Reserve and Markham in Caerphilly County Borough, but a practice feature allows the game to be tried anywhere.
Download from the App Store
Download from Google Play
The Upper Sirhowy Valley in South Wales is steeped in industrial history. Coal mining was at the heart of this industry and the pits that lined the River Sirhowy were linked by a tram road. The Sirhowy Tramway, which opened in the late 18th century, was one of the earliest railways of its kind and was responsible for the growth of Newport as a major coal port and ultimately a city. The ‘black gold’ and iron from this region helped power the Industrial Revolution.
Can you match the images with today’s scene and stand in the footsteps of the original photographer?
This app, produced on behalf of Caerphilly Borough Council, allows you to view and fade archive photos of the valley in the setting they were taken, and discover fascinating information about the Upper Sirhowy’s rich past.
Download the app from Google Play
Explore five Charles Darwin-themed audio trails produced on behalf of Bromley Council. The audio guides explore the countryside Darwin called his ‘landscape laboratory’ and celebrate how Charles Darwin formulated his amazing theory of evolution in the Kent countryside – a theory that rocked the deeply religious Victorian world, and even Darwin himself!
Each Charles Darwin-themed audio trail is accompanied by a downloadable map and a family activity sheet to help everyone delve into the world of Charles Darwin, and discover how he got to grips with ‘the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’.
Downe audio trail
Charles Darwin found school boring, thought his university years were a waste of time, and felt sick at the sight of blood! So how did he get to become one of the world’s greatest scientists? Find out as you follow this amazing audio trail … Read More »
The Canal & River Trust were impressed with the Montgomery Canal Smartphone Trail project we delivered and commissioned us to create a similar one that helps to communicate the heritage of the Burnley canal in a lively and accessible way to visitors.
Working with Audio Trails has been a great experience. Both Dan and Ruth have listened really carefully to us about the type of trail we want to create and who our target audience are. They’ve created for us a bespoke product that is interactive, informative and fun.
Emma Bartlet – Canal Communities Officer, Canal & River Trust.
The 6 kilometre section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal through Burnley benefits from a strong 3G mobile signal. The use of small interpretation plaques with links to online digital content has enabled visitors to understand the rich heritage of the canal. Each plaque … Read More »
In our second ‘Evolution of the …’ blog we explore how the QR code has had a difficult entry into the public realm, and explore some golden rules for its successful deployment.
It’s fairly common knowledge that the humble QR code was the brainchild of a Toyota subsidiary that saw its potential to track vehicle parts around their car factory in the 1990s. But do you know what QR stands for? This is one of the questions I ask in during the icebreaker quiz we have devised to open our digital media workshops. Is the answer Quercus Robur, Quick Response, Quickly Read, Quirky Revolution or maybe Quite Ridiculous? All will be revealed later.
It took well over a decade before the QR code achieved widespread use, and during its short life in the mainstream it’s had a pretty rough ride. Some of … Read More »
Kids love nature. Grown ups do to.
The thing with wildlife is that you never know when you are going to get that close encounter. When it happens it is usually memorable; very memorable.
Last month we spent two weeks in North Norfolk. The highlight of my youngest son’s holiday? Half an hour spent with a grasshopper. For those 30 minutes it crawled over his hands, arms and t-shirt. A bond was made; a strong one.
When the grasshopper finally took his leave the loss was strongly felt, but that close encounter with ‘Freddie’ will live long in his memory; longer than the expensive trip to a local theme park!
Our aim has always been to recreate that same ‘animal’ magic with our own interpretation projects.
Following one of our digital media workshops we were approached by Powys County Council to write 3 pilot trails for their app ‘Trails Mid-Wales’. The feedback was so positive they asked us to produce nine more!
I absolutely LOVE it! so much so that we want more like this!!!! Pretty Please.
Hazel Bowen, Tourism Support Officer, Powys County Council
The twelve trails, aimed at the over 50s and/or families, were written ” to enlighten our audience with rich and interactive interpretation of the area.” We used location-based stories and poems to bring the children’s trails to life.
Below are extracts from three of the family trails:
Erwood Trail – Stop 6
I like to hunt in rivers. I like to eat small fish.
The baby nymphs of mayflies is another favourite dish
I swim under the water, go fishing with my beak.
So I’m not your usual perching bird, … Read More »
Visitors to Buxton Museum will discover that the William Boyd Dawkin’s Study has been given a 21st century technology makeover.
Until the installation of a number of technologies in May 2013 the William Boyd Dawkins study lacked focus. Visitors would enter the room, peer at the nice scene and leave with little understanding of its importance. Audio Trails have brought the room to life and given it an identity.
The centrepiece is the installation of 2 tablets upon the display cases, which prevent full access to the study. The tablets contain a virtual tour of the room that allows you to closely examine the key objects, even those on the other side of the room.
The panoramic viewer above is the pre-visit web version (also available on the Virtual Visits Buxton Museum webpage). Have a play with it. To discover the answers it … Read More »
In the March 2013 issue of Interpret Wales we were asked to write an article about the evolution of the audio trail. Here is that article:
In 2006 if you typed ‘audio trails’ into the world’s most popular search engine you would have returned few results relating to outdoor audio guides. Repeat that exercise today and you will receive over 16 million results. Each one, page after page, promotes an array of audio trails that cover every corner of the UK and beyond.
Audio trails provides an unobtrusive method of interpretation to help visitors engage with their heritage across the country from towns and villages to castles and former coalfields.
In its simplest form an audio trail contains a pre-recorded narration and as directions are given at the end of each MP3 file to guide visitors to the next point of interest, interpretation … Read More »
How many countries can claim to have heritage interpretation as a government priority? As far as I am aware the answer is just one – Wales.
Dave Penberthy, Head of Interpretation at Cadw, proudly boasted this claim on the opening day of the annual ‘Digital Past’ conference in Wales. He went on to explain how the subsequent pan-Wales interpretation plans have allowed a co-ordinated approach to interpretation that ignores municipal boundaries.
Cadw, which means ‘to keep’ (and not Come and do Wales!) could be an acronym for ‘Championing a Digital Wales’, with one important caveat: ‘how’ the project is delivered comes after the ‘who, what, why, where, when’. Something echoed throughout the event.
Some mobile experiences have been tainted because they have been technology, rather than content, led. Often this is the result of IT companies, with little or often no interpretation background, … Read More »
As yet another year draws to a close we take a look back at 2012 and reflect on what progress has been made in digital interpretation.
We began the year with a cold and crisp week in Cornwall walking and planning seven new audio trails for the Cornish World Heritage Site team. The photos we took prompted us to set up several Pinterest boards. Pinterest has been adopted by a growing number of interpreters this year to showcase work, plan exhibitions and garner visitor feedback, which has helped it take its place among the Social Media elite in 2012.
Social Media has been at the heart of the latest version of our ‘Welcome to‘ app software. The modular app engine has been designed to provide a flexible solution for a wide range of clients. We’ve designed a new navigation menu … Read More »
Last night Audio Trails won the inaugural Creative Innovation award at the fourth Derbyshire Times Business Awards. The glittering ceremony was held at Chesterfield FC’s Proact Stadium and hosted by Derbyshire Times Editor James Mitchinson, Destination Chesterfield’s Peter Swallow and Tom Ingall of BBC Look North.
A total of sixteen awards were presented during the evening and Dan Boys, Creative Director at Audio Trails went on stage to collect the Creative Innovation award, sponsored by Creative Derbyshire. “We are absolutely delighted to be the first winners of this particular award. We were up against some formidable opponents on the shortlist and it is a real honour to be acknowledged in this way. It rounds off a great year for us.”
Mr Mitchinson added: “It’s fantastic to have everyone from our proud business community come together to celebrate their achievements in 2012. All … Read More »
Dig into Cornwall’s mining past with seven new audio trails launched by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. The chance to explore the explosive past of a Wildlife Trust reserve and what was once the richest square mile in the world are just two of the stories on offer.
Narrated by miners, historic experts and actors, listeners are transported back to a landscape that told a very different story. The MP3 downloads are accompanied by maps, Delve Deeper and children’s activity sheets, ensuring there is something to engage every visitor.
Download the Cornwall audio trails from www.cornish-mining.org.uk/audio-trails.
“We worked with Audio Trails to produce 7 audio trails across the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. They also produced downloadable children’s activity sheets to go alongside the audio trails, which was a bonus. The voiceovers sounded professional and the trails are easy to navigate and … Read More »
Visitors to heritage sites, towns or cities want to make the most of every minute of their visit. Tourist apps, powered by our ‘Welcome to’ software, bring places to life with powerful text, evocative audio and beautiful imagery.
Tourist apps for Heritage sites and visitor attractions
Our tourist apps use GPS to automatically trigger points of interest – presenting a wealth of useful information at visitor’s fingertips. Users can also easily browse content from the map or via the menu, using filters or the search function.
One potential banana skin for tourist apps is the cost incurred by foreign visitors having to pay high charges for accessing the internet when abroad. We embed our tourist apps with rich content so the user experience is not reliant on downloading data on site. This is further enhanced with offline mapping which blends seamlessly with the … Read More »
The ‘Norwich: Heritage City’ heritage app is designed to help you explore Norwich’s great heritage and hidden history spanning 1,000 years.
Interactive heritage app
The heritage app is ideal for visitors as well as residents who wish to explore more of their city, and can be used on the go or as a planning tool for trips to Norwich, in order to discover more of the city’s history and culture. Users can explore historic buildings and places around their location, via a map view or by simply browsing through the heritage sites. Overseas visitors to the city can take advantage of the heritage app, as once downloaded it can be used offline, including the detailed street maps, and so does not incur roaming charges.
The interactive heritage app also invites people to get involved – when visitors are at one of the historic … Read More »
Written and produced in 2006, this audio trail is still as relevant and evocative today as it was then.
“The tracks have stood the test of time and certainly include facts that I wasn’t aware of myself, what with being relatively new to post.”
Robert Sharman, the National Trust Warden – August 2012
No-one really knows how or why the 3,000 year old figure of the White Horse came to be, yet during this audio trail National Trust staff reveal what evidence they have uncovered to understand its origin. They also reveal many other myths and legends that engulf this site in mystery and intrigue.
If you live in, or are visiting, Oxfordshire or Berkshire you cannot miss a visit to the Vale of the White Horse to take in Uffington Castle, King Alfred’s Thorn and the Tom Brown School Museum.
Visit nationaltrust.org.uk to follow the … Read More »
Creating school audio trails is a fun way of engaging children with nature.
When producing audio trails with school children you never know what the outcomes will be. You are surrounded by many creative minds, each with their own unique interpretation of the world around them and always with many questions.
School audio trails
We are working with three schools in Staffordshire. Each school has been ‘twinned’ with their local country park or nature reserve. My job is to create an audio trail with each group over four sessions. The school groups never failed to amaze me with the amount of information they could recall when we returned to the classroom – the good stuff too.
However, the most satisfying part of these projects is the pupil’s creativity. With some guidance their untapped imagination can bring even the most testing points of interest to … Read More »
Protestors who changed the national landscape, wartime tragedies and icons of the industrial age – these are just some of the stories revealing our cultural heritage as part of the Hidden Gems project. In total we produced 18 audio guides in our own corner of Derbyshire, on behalf of North East Derbyshire District Council.
“We have been very impressed with the way our audio trails ‘Hidden Gems’ project has been delivered – on time and on budget – by Dan Boys at Audio Trails.
This has been an extremely complex project involving production of more than a dozen audio trails. This has meant involved Dan liaising with multiple partner organisations and members of the public to develop trail scripts, maps and interesting audio content.
The result has been an excellent series of fascinating trails that explain the history, heritage, flora and fauna of our … Read More »
A new series of London walking trails have been launched along South East London’s Green Chain – a 40-mile network of footpaths running through parkland and woodland.
Your very own tour guides
Parmjit, a Green Chain Walks Leader, and Gerald, a local expert, are ready to take you on three fascinating walks to explore some of the greener parts of South East London. Parmjit and Gerald are fictional characters devised solely for this project to create the feel of a real guided walk.
The audio trails were devised with help from a number of local community groups whose expertise and passion inspired the flavour of the scripts.
We were also commissioned to produce downloadable PDF watercolour maps to help guide visitors along each route.
“The Green Chain partnership have worked with Audio Trails on 3 audio trails to promote the Green Chain Walk in South … Read More »
I think we all wonder what and who had the biggest influence on our careers, and life in general. What made us who we are, and what experiences will shape us in the future? The question raised itself for me again when my Grandad recently died, at the ripe old age of 92. We shared a great deal of time together and I like to think I have moulded myself on his morals. My abiding memory, apart from his big, wrinkly dry fingers, were our walks together on the South Downs. He was nothing more than an amateur botanist, but in my eyes he was a walking nature encyclopedia. There is no doubt our time spent together sent me on a path towards conservation management.
Yet my Grandad wasn’t the only elderly gentleman who had a lasting effect on me from … Read More »
During our family holiday this year we inevitably took the opportunity to visit a number of heritage sites. These ranged from archaeological sites to a fantastic Chateau in Larochette, Luxembourg, all the while absorbing the creative interpretation ideas. However, what grabbed all of us the most was such a simple concept.
We stayed at a wonderful campsite which had a bare foot trail. As the name suggests you need to shed your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet as you make your way through a forest. At various points there is a ‘station’ – the equivalent of a raised vegetable bed filled with various organic materials – intended to reconnect you with nature. The trails begins with a tentative squelch through wet mud. This is followed by further stations containing logs, pine cones, sawdust, leaves, mulch, pebbles, sand, stones … Read More »
In 2011 we developed the ‘Official Yorkshire Dales National Park‘ app for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian. In its first week the iPhone app alone was downloaded 1448 times.
On the back of that success the National Park Authority asked us to upgrade the iPhone and Android apps to include twice as many walking routes, cycling routes and places to visit. Nearly 8300 people downloaded the new iPhone update in the first fortnight of its release!
The Yorkshire Dales National Park has released a free iPhone app aimed at maxing out your enjoyment of the area and including a load of stuff including a selection of walks and cycling routes.
Click on the places of interest and a whole list of local attractions comes up, complete with text information and an image. If you want to know even more, there’s generally a link … Read More »
Our latest article for the Association of Heritage Interpretation (AHI) member’s journal looks at how new technology serving the London Olympics is already finding its way into the heritage sector.
Imagine swiping a till with your credit card or mobile phone to make a payment without entering your pin. Imagine no longer, the technology is already here.
This is Near Field Technology (NFC) and London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games to embrace it. NFC allows UK shoppers to make pin-free purchases.
Although, a little slow to take off (just like internet shopping), Barclays, a host of high street retailers and an increasing number of smartphone companies have jumped on the bandwagon too. You’ve probably seen Usain Bolt in the Visa advert? That is contactless payment.
At this year’s London Olympics every sales terminal at the venue will allow “wave and pay” purchases. … Read More »
Recent stats from a 2-year old project illustrate that Bluetooth interpretation still has a place, and reminds us to think carefully about how we cater for our visitors.
In 2010 we successfully applied for European Funding to develop a heritage trail around Clay Cross in Derbyshire. The outputs were an audio trail, iPhone app (the first on our ‘Welcome to’ software), a QR code trail and the installation of a Bluetooth and Wifi hub. Our aim was to offer a variety of media to appeal to a wide range of visitors.
We were keen to assess the effectiveness of Bluetooth hubs, as in theory they had the potential to offer visitors a simple way of accessing free content on their mobile phone when they arrive on site. Bear in mind this project was derived before mobile internet had really established itself. Bluetooth … Read More »
The Montgomery Canal brings wildlife right into the centre of Welshpool. We devised a smartphone trail on behalf of the Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways) to help the whole family make the most of this exciting waterway.
Ten waymark discs, printed with QR codes and embedded with NFC chips (the same technology used for contactless payment), can be found along the 1 mile stretch of canal. Each waymark links to a mobile optimised webpage with fascinating information, images and audio.
The downloadable PDF activity sheet ensures children are also kept entertained.
“Audio Trails worked on our trail, with short timescales imposed by funders. They rose to the challenge and provided more in the way of material than we initially asked for – seeing there was an opportunity to offer an illustrated children’s trail too. The project was handled well and to … Read More »
Heritage trails upgrade
Rhondda Cynon Taf Borough Council commissioned us to expand their Heritage Trails website. We were asked to transform three paper-based heritage trails into English and Welsh audio guides and create two new trails from scratch. We interviewed members of all the local communities and used short oral reminiscence sound bites to bring the story of four heritage trails to life. Further soundbites were compiled into an audio database for all the blue plaques in the borough.
A ghostly guide
We undertook a different approach for the Hirwaun heritage trail. Here, a fictional ghostly guide was created to reveal how this quiet village has changed since the huge ironworks was closed down. Illustrative PDF maps were created for each trail.
Heritage Trails app
All five audio trails, plus the blue plaque sites were embedded into a bilingual heritage trails app that is available to … Read More »
Pennine Prospects initially commissioned us to undertake a series of oral history recordings for a ‘Watershed Landscape Lives’ DVD, which captured the passion of those who visit, enjoy or make their livelihood from the South Pennines.
Since then we have also produced:
– The Piethorne Reservoir Audio Trail is a story of people and water. More specifically: increasing numbers of people craving increasing amounts of water. This is also a story of dramatic change.
– The Reservoir Spotters Guide Podscroll helps you explore the South Pennine reservoir landscape and identify architectural features and some of the varied wildlife you might see whilst walking near an upland reservoir.
– The Sheddon Clough Podscroll will help you explore the unusual limestone hushings at Sheddon Clough on foot.
A podscroll is simply a digital booklet that can be downloaded onto your smartphone/iPod etc and viewed when you want … Read More »
Our first project in Northern Ireland – The Lagan Valley Regional Park Heritage Audio Trail – takes you on a journey among local heritage and wildlife within the heart of Belfast and Lisburn. Following the Lagan towpath this 11 mile stretch of shared pathway follows the route of the Lagan Navigation which is made up of sections of man-made canal and the River Lagan.
The trail takes you back to when the horse drawn barges slowly travelled up and down the Lagan with their cargoes. Hear the stories of a time when the Lagan Navigation was a busy thoroughfare and the canal folk lived and worked along its banks.
Along the Canal towpath you will find 35 numbered audio trail markers. Each one displays a QR code that when scanned with a Smartphone sends an audio file direct to your phone. Each one … Read More »
Take an audio tour of this National Trust estate with former owner Gilliat Edward Hatfeild. As you explore the history of the buildings, wander through the former deer park and meander along the River Wandle you will discover how this once marshy wetland was transformed into a thriving business. Learn too about the film star parties and the boy who ripped his trousers on the helter skelter!
Morden Hall Park is a much-loved rural idyll, and Hatfeild was a much-admired man. See this country estate through his eyes and glimpse at the agricultural and industrial history that paved the way for today’s wildlife haven.
This GPS-triggered app contains an informative audio trail that will guide you around many highlights of this green oasis in London’s suburbia.
I chose Audio Trails to produce an app for Morden Hall Park in 2011. We were very … Read More »
The ‘Stonebarrow Hill Smugglers’ Trail’ project was completed on behalf of the National Trust and Dorset AONB. Our brief was to create a fun and engaging audio trail, GPS- triggered iPhone App, activity sheet and downloadable map for a family audience. Story posts provide onsite prompts.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view a video explaining how the app works.
Project website – dorsetaonb.org.uk
“We are delighted with the project. It has been great fun all the way through, many laughs and we have learned a lot since this has been a new experience for both of us. Working with you has been so easy and we particularly value the way you have accommodated the way we wanted the project to work using our research, Bonny and his music and getting the actors just right, and not least in overcoming … Read More »
Since the 1990s, Coed Y Brenin has become a mecca for mountain bikers from across the country and beyond. But these are not the only ‘cycles’ to be found within the forest.
Join the ‘Birdman’ Iolo Williams – one of Wales’ most renowned nature and wildlife presenters – as he unveils the life cycles and strange habits of some of the Kings Forests more intriguing inhabitants, in the Afon Eden Trail.
If industrial archaeology is your thing then there is plenty here for you too. Take a visit to the Glasdir Copper Mine or search for gold at Tyddyn Gwladus. Do you like tall trees? Then make your way to Ty’n Y Groes and take a tour with Forester Aled Thomas and hear about some rather crazy foresters.
The four fascinating bilingual audio guides, produced by Audio Trails, can be downloaded from the … Read More »
The short and colourful life of Nevern Castle, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, has been brought to life in a new MP3 audio trail for visitors.
During the 12th century, Nevern Castle stuck out like a sore thumb, proudly stamping its authority on the Pembrokeshire landscape.
Today, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past it. The stone and timber defences are nearly all gone, yet entombed in the earth are treasures: fragments of pottery and other artefacts that provide a window into castle life in the 1100s.
The audio trail, produced by Audio Trails on behalf of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, features locals, schoolchildren and archaeologists. It provides a guided tour of the remains of one of the earliest Welsh stone castles, built in part by the great Welsh lord, Rhys ap Gruffydd.
Using a map and an MP3 player, visitors … Read More »
‘Welcome to Clay Cross’ brings the past to life.
As part of the regeneration scheme in Clay Cross we were commissioned to produce an audio trail that reveals the fascinating story of the town, told by local residents. We also worked with sculptor Peter Maris to interpret his sculptures depicting the history of the town.
The Clay Cross Audio Trail
Over-sized pepper pots and soap wrappers have played their part in shaping Clay Cross. This audio trail tells that story through 16 local residents who have seen their fair share of change over the years. During this 2 mile trail you will visit the town’s three former picture houses, the colliery rows and the rock from which the town takes its name, plus much more.
Some of the interviews were recorded as part of this project in 2010 and others date to the last century when … Read More »
The Darwin and the Dinosaurs audio trail takes you back to a time well before mobile phones.
The year is 1852. The Crystal Palace Company moves to Penge and commissions leading scientist of the day, Richard Owen to create the life size model dinosaurs for the park, with the aid of artist Benjamin Hawkins.
Join them during this audio trail as they bring the world’s first theme park to life, in what we now know as Crystal Palace Park.
Audio Trail files
01 The first theme park
03 A giant ground sloth
05 If only they had known about T.Rex
06 Paxtons Bridge
07 Iguanadon dinner party
08 Old crocs
09 The beginning of time
10 A Hylaeosaurus eye view
“Audio Trails have brought Charles Darwin and … Read More »