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The GPS-enabled soundscape apps helping children to enjoy the Dorset landscape

What better way to explore the magical county that has inspired many, than with words?

An inspiring new Dorset-based project that has hopes to do just that, has been in development throughout the last few months.

Working with creative writing groups, and local school children The South Dorset Ridgeway Poetry Parks will form part of the GPS Soundscape App family, through which people can discover, explore and gain new insight into this incredible landscape.

Developed by soundscape specialists SATSYMPH, including partner and acclaimed landscape poet Ralph Hoyte, workshops were held with adults and children from both Piddle Valley First School, and St Nicholas & St Lawrence Junior School produced in collaboration for The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership, to overlay a virtual, a digital sound world onto these key sites and features in the South Dorset Ridgeway area.

These location-specific, GPS-enabled soundscape apps will be sited at Eggardon Hill (seaward partition) and Maiden Castle. The Poetry Parks will then be accessed through the use of smart phones; using the GPS in mobile phones to trigger sound elements related to the location of the listener.

It is believed the Poetry Parks are among the first in the country to use poems created by writers from local communities that surround these ancient sites.

SATSYMPH partner and Poetry Park artistic director, Marc Yeats, known for his additional soundscape work with both the Arts in Hospital charity and the initial four #hiddeningthehills Land Bone Stone Apps, launched last summer, thinks there will be terrific interest.

“Poetry has had a massive revival in recent years, and whereas perhaps you might not be totally into history, the beauty of a rhyme or prose can really lift the imagination as you walk,” he says.

“It’s a unique project that has been a joy to run, particularly with our school groups. Seeing them really inspired, out of the classroom has been wonderful.”

Dorset County Council archaeologist Steve Wallace helped with adult workshops and inspirational Bridport-based story teller Martin Maudsley worked with local children to create content that will imagine voices, stories, rituals and traditions, bringing alive the areas and articulating their layers of history and ecology.

Poems and content will be hidden across these large sites, encouraging visitors to the Poetry Parks to truly engage with the area, explore the ramparts and lesser-walked parts to find and discover the work, with visitors being set a challenge to collect all the hidden poems.

These projects continue to present an innovative and powerful means to interpret the landscape, its heritage and the people who live and work in it, past and present. Once published the apps and sound works will be available indefinitely.

Extracted from Dorset Echo.

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