Horsham District Council has been awarded £200,000 from the European Union’s Agriculture Fund for Rural Development Programme (EAFRD) to support rural tourism and is to develop a Wild Art Trail in Pulborough. The funding comes via the Rural Payments Agency, the finance arm of DEFRA.
The funds will be used to create a four kilometer nature/art based walk which will start from Pulborough Station and go through the village, across Pulborough Brooks, and then on to the RSPB nature reserve.
The walk will be marked throughout by high quality sculptures, way markers and information boards highlighting the local geology and wildlife along the way. This will be supported by a WildArt App which will be developed for walkers to find out more information about the walk, surrounding countryside, wildlife, local history and points of interest. The app will also be an educational tool for younger audiences and will include a bespoke treasure trail.
The project will be managed by a Steering Group with partners from Horsham District Council, RSPB, Pulborough Parish Council, Pulborough Community Partnership and the South Downs National Park.
The children’s component will be supported by entertaining Augmented Reality (AR). Along the trail, children will meet and interact with 3D augmented characters, encouraging them to engage with wildlife and nature. The inclusion of AR within the app will be a unique feature point, which will maximise the potential to attract more visitors to use the trail and visit Pulborough and its surroundings.
Commenting on the Wild Art Trail, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Jonathan Chowen said:
“I am delighted that as the District approaches its Year of Culture 2019 celebrations we are creating such a unique experience for Pulborough which will really showcase both the town and its surrounding countryside.
“It will provide such an imaginative and engaging educational tool for children and adults alike.”
Cabinet Member for the Local Economy Cllr Gordon Lindsay added:
“The trail is something completely different for Pulborough and will give the town and surrounding areas a real boost, bringing more visitors to the area, encouraging them to stay for longer and as a result spend more money when they are there.
“It provides an excellent opportunity for our tourism economy businesses – food and drink, accommodation and visitor attraction providers, and will help to build our vision to develop the number one ‘Hub and Host District’ in the South East.”
Improvements to the walking environment, with the provision of footpaths, gates etc. will mean that the trail walk can be year round, thus extending the tourism season beyond the summer months.
It is proposed to have the trail up and running by summer 2019.
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