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New app gives virtual view for Edge walkers

A new app is bringing the Legend of Alderley Edge to life for visitors.

Launched on 21st December, the Invisible Worlds app “enhances the visitor experience” at the beauty spot, which is managed by the National Trust, as well as allowing people around the world to remotely explore the magic of Alderley Edge, made famous by author Alan Garner (and King Arthur, who allegedly slumbers under the sandstone ridge, awaiting his call to arms).

Visitors and users will be able to explore Alderley Edge with augmented reality wizards, knights, and white horses appearing throughout the landscape, as well as specially commissioned soundscapes providing an atmospheric background.

Users of the app can also explore mines underneath Alderley Edge from their own homes.
The app has been produced for the Invisible Worlds research project, which is led by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and the University of Lincoln.

Dr Victoria Flood, senior lecturer in medieval and early modern literature, said: “The Legend of Alderley Edge – of the wizard, in search of a single horse, who watches over an army of subterranean sleepers – is of great significance for our understanding of the legendary history of Cheshire. We are excited to bring this new experience of the Legend to life.”

But the app is not just about wizards and horses. Users will be prompted to share their responses to the legend and the versions of it that they are familiar with. The research team will use this information to write a crowd-curated history of the legend, tracing its contemporary life.

Dr Flood added: “We want to study the history and diversity of storytelling reflected in the data we collect – from versions of the legend passed down through families, to the responses of new visitors to the site both in person and virtually. We will be able to collate all this information to see how the local and international community engage with legendary placemaking.”

Alderley Edge was made famous by Mr Garner, who inherited the legend of Alderley from his grandfather. It became central to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath and Boneland, with the result that the Edge is now best known to the public through his novels.
Rachel Thomas, National Trust general manager for the Cheshire countryside, said. “We hope that it will give people the chance to see the Edge in a new way and add some extra magic to their visits.

“We’re also really excited that users of the app will be able to experience the stories of Alderley Edge digitally, even if they’re unable to visit us in person.”

The Invisible Worlds app is available on iOS and Android.

(Photo: National Trust Images/Paul Harris).

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