HIDDEN NORTHUMBERLAND UNVEILED
A new website encouraging visitors to explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Northumberland National Park has recently been launched. The Otterburn military training area hosts the second largest live firing range in the country and at over 90 square miles boasts one of the greatest concentration of archaeological and historic remains in the north of England.
The development of the site www.otterburnranges.co.uk
, for Defence Estates is a pioneering project taking visitors into the story of this historic landscape as well as giving clear guidance on when and where it is safe to visit.
Newcastle based new media agency Indigo have designed and built the website, which forms part of a larger project to communicate with the wider public. The collaboration has been headed up by Tim Crump of Wildlight, a local company specialising in communication and interpretation services for heritage and countryside organisations.
Speaking of the project Tim said; “The aim is to welcome visitors to an area rich in folklore, history and landscape. The website and newly installed interpretation boards at the range are an excellent way to bring the area to life. Visitors can discover Roman roads, marching camps, bastles, farmsteads and military remains.”
While the website provides visitors with a wealth of information, route maps, ideas and safety tips, it also has a more serious message to convey to those wishing to enjoy this area of outstanding beauty. Keen to ensure visitors to the area feel welcome and safe an animated map offers site users a great deal of interactivity. Controlled and open access areas are clearly marked and visitors can download routes and guidance notes to help them explore in safety, be it on foot, horseback or bike.
As visitor safety is of paramount importance to the MOD, sophisticated and accurate mapping was required for the website and was one of the most challenging aspects of the site development for the team at Indigo. Anthony Frith Web Designer explains; “There was a lot of technical difficulty in creating the maps, as the area had to be precisely plotted out using specially drawn maps. There were technical difficulties involved as we wanted to allow people to zoom in and out and really engage with the mapping.”
Tim Crump acknowledged the challenges that developing the new site brought, and said of Indigo’s involvement; “We are very grateful for the creative input and expertise that the team introduced to the project, in particular they have really brought the interactive map, a crucial element of the project, to life.”
The site also features a 12 minute video which takes visitors on a ‘behind the scenes’ journey into the history, farming, military training and conservation work in this area. For anyone wishing to visit some of the most spectacular areas in Northumberland the website is a must. It combines easy to use functions, video footage, downloadable and useful information in a clearly presented and fresh style.
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