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Secrets of historic Peak District hall revealed in new augmented reality app

The app can create 3D models using augmented reality (AR).

A historic Peak District family home is now brought back to life in a new augmented reality (AR) app.

For decades, the ruins of Errwood Hall, in the Goyt Valley, has intrigued visitors, but few knew its story – or the significance of the once magnificent Victorian country property.

But all that has changed, thanks to funding secured by the Peak District National Park Foundation for the South West Peak Landscape Partnership.

The Foundation raised £5000 through The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021 to develop the Errwood Hall Revealed app, which has been developed by Derbyshire digital studio, Bloc Digital.

The Errwood Hall app has been developed by Bloc Digital

Catherine Parker Heath, of the South West Peak Landscape Partnership, said: “It is amazing what has been achieved within a limited budget and timeframe and the result is a multi-media app that everyone can enjoy.

“It includes not only a 3D model of how the hall once looked - complete with AR capability - but also a 3D image of how the hall looks today, fact files and sound files for audiences to peruse. It certainly shows the potential of what can be done with this technology.

“One of the aims behind the creation of the app is to engage new audiences in the heritage around them. A feature of it is that not only can it be used on-site but it can be activated off-site too, so those who cannot get to see the ruins in person can still see it in all its 3D glory!

“This also means that, in cases where footpaths have to be closed due to tree felling in the area, people can still access and learn about the heritage around them. It is hoped that local teachers will use the app in the classroom to help teach aspects of the KS1 and KS2 curriculum using a technology that younger people can truly engage in. A teachers’ pack will soon be available to support its use in this way.”

People should download the Errwood Hall app to their mobile devices before visiting the site

Claire Barlow, from the Peak District National Park Foundation, added: “We’d like to say a big thank you to the many people who have supported the development of this app – from those who so generously donated to the fundraising campaign to the people whose knowledge and expertise have made the app possible.”

Katy Stead, head of content development and production at Bloc Digital, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project using our digital visualisation and immersive technology to help bring Errwood Hall’s rich history to life in the palm of a hand.

“The Errwood Hall Revealed app is a perfect example of how local communities and digital media can combine to inform and engage visitors near and far as well as preserving social history and research for the next generations.”

The app is free and available to download on the App Store and Google Play. Just type in Errwood Hall Revealed and follow the prompts to install/download.

The Errwood Hall Revealed app is self-explanatory, guiding the user through the different sections with instructions on how to launch the Augmented Reality AR content:  

Present  3D moveable scan of the ruins

Past  3D model of the building and Augmented Reality (model and life size modes) with instructions on how to launch the AR content.

Resources  Fact-files, audio files and images        

Due to the remote nature of the Errwood Hall site, there is no WiFi provision and limited mobile phone signal. Visitors should download the app via WiFi before visiting to avoid inconvenience and unnecessary data usage charges. 

People can read more about the development of the Errwood Hall app in Catherine Parker Heath’s blog at bit.ly/SWPErrwoodHallApp

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