Natural England’s Castle Eden Dene reserve is a magical world. It’s where yew, oak, ash and dying elm create a home for other plants and creatures. 10,000 years of wild growth in a deep gorge has created a place to explore again and again.
Whilst Castle Eden Dene is on the doorstep of many homes of Peterlee in County Durham, it is easy to get disorientated and lost in the 3.5 mile long and 1 mile wide wooded gorge. Natural England commissioned AT Creative to create a self-guided trails app that not only shared some of the wonderful folklore with visitors but, crucially, aids people to navigate their way in, and most importantly, back out again. The number of visitors that gets disoriented and lost in the Dene is surprisingly high. During our own site visits we came across people who were struggling to find an exit.
The gorge has very limited mobile connectivity. Therefore, an app that works completely offline, including mapping, was an essential requirement. The app includes two self-guided trails: one focussing on the rich geology of Castle Eden Dene and another on its history, which includes it’s time as a Victorian resort.
App users can always see their location on the offline map, which uses OpenStreetMap tiles and shows rights of way and permissive paths through the Dene. With all of the Dene’s entrances are also marked on the map it enables visitors to safely find their way and make the most of their visit.
A new heat mapping functionality was also developed as part of the project. This collect anonymous data from all users that opt in and shows which are the most popular paths throughout Castle Eden Dene. This in turn allows Natural England staff to identify where to focus management work.
We were looking for a company to help us develop a visitor app at Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve. Dan worked with us at every step, helping us realise our potential. Great company, great service and very helpful!Joe Davies, Senior Reserve Manager, Castle Eden Dene, Teesmouth, Thrislington & Cassop Vale National Nature Reserves
Once you have downloaded the app you’ll be able to find the Kissing Frogs and hear the tale about the Devil’s Lapstone. You’ll learn about ancient seas, medieval vases and much more. You’ll also be able to find you way in and back out again!
Download the Castle Eden Dene app
Why not give this app a try? Select one of the options below to open the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.