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Rites of Way - an interactive journey through an ancient landscape

Rites of Way - our pilot project at Kingcombe - is not currently available on the Apple appstore so we have included a web version of the Drovers’ Route for smartphones here.
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ScreenPLAY artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet and the Dorset Wildlife Trust invite you on a therapeutic journey through the fields and meadows of a forgotten valley: Kingcombe.

Guided by tales of people who lived and worked there, and the centuries-old folklore of the trees, our interactive journey 
Rites of Way, leads you through a landscape untouched by modern farming.

ScreenPLAY worked with leading Environmental Arts Therapist Ian Heginworth to bring a therapeutic dimension to the work. Sharon explained: “We wanted to create an immersive experience which would enhance enjoyment of the natural environment while giving people the opportunity to take the tree of life stories to a much deeper level. While journeying around this ancient green environment, we are guided by nature to our own emotional centre.”

Just as the stories on our wheel of trees are about alchemy, so are our icons, transformed from clay into golden leaf shapes through the alchemy of raku.

Trees can speak to us about strength, anger, joy, love and sadness.
Through stories on our circle of trees we can reflect on our own life experiences. Rites of Way includes two routes through Kingcombe and a collection of flower folklore stories. Rites of Way is not surrently available on the App Store but a cut down web version is here.
When you run Rites of Way, make sure your iPhone or iPad is not set to silent. If you have any problems with the app, please contact us using the contact tab on the left.
We’d love to hear your comments about Rites of Way on the feedback panel on the right.
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Join us on a journey...

Rites of Way is an interactive journey in the Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve. It uses mobile computing technologies to deliver an engaging experience in a centuries-old landscape. 

It is a pilot, commissioned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust with Arts Council funding from the Dorset Design and Heritage Forum’s N3 project.

The concept, user interface, icons and technology were developed by Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet, with tree stories adapted with, and narrated by, Ian Siddons Heginworth and mono-printing by visual artist Heidi Steller.

We wanted to create an immersive experience which was location based and came up with the idea of a journey incorporating ancient routes used by rural communities - the Drovers’ Route and Mrs Cleall’s Route. 

Participants touch a leaf to listen to a tree story, swipe the tree wheel to change trees, click on a leaf to upload their photographs and touch the deer to listen to the guide who gives the journey directions. 

Funding permitting, ScreenPLAY are hoping to refine, develop and extend the project with the creation of an iphone and Android app plus additional features we could not include in a limited size web version.

Rites of Way will be launched by the Wildlife Trust in Spring 2014. 

If you would like to experience it first hand before the launch, or need more information about the project, please contact us using the link at the bottom of the page.


Project intentions

Our aim was to marry the high tech world of mobile devices with the natural environment to create an interactive experience that uses technology as a tool to enhance the live, immersive trail.

We set out to create an inviting aural world, which encourages you to engage with the natural environment. You have to search out 12 trees, find a badger set, ant hills, six flower species, woodpecker holes in tree trunks, cross a river and walk through a wood. It is a nature trail in every sense, but with the depth of an arts experience. The more you are immersed in the environment the deeper your experience becomes.

We wanted to introduce the alchemy of change. From the prima materia, trees grow as in the ash story, and from burning clay, our golden icons are created. The icons have a second use: suspended on fine lines from a lightning struck oak and ash in the middle of each journey, they become a centre, an opportunity to turn and look out to the horizon, while reflecting inwards on the stories you have heard.The hare and the deer raku icons also become the guides, leading you on your journey.

If we allow ourselves, we can take on the tree of life stories to a much deeper level. This is a metaphysical journey as well as a physical one. We are guided by nature to our hearts, to our emotional centre while journeying around this ancient green environment.

Trees can speak to us about strength, anger, joy, love and sadness and we can express ourselves and reflect on our life experiences here. 

Experience Kingcombe as you’re never seen or heard it before on a unique interactive journey.
The special environment of this valley has been re-interpreted by  ScreenPLAY who invite you to explore the lanes and meadows of this ancient Dorset landscape in a new way.
Guided by stories of people who lived and worked there and the centuries-old folklore of the trees, our interactive journey Rites of Way, uses smartphones to guide you on two routes through the valley.
“It’s has been described as one of those unique places with an atmosphere and quality that is beyond description,” explained project leader Sharon Hayden. 
“Kingcombe centre founder Jill Spring describes ‘an energy founded in the land itself and nurtured by the people’ which makes visitors feel feel cared for and inspired. We are trying to evoke some of those feelings on our journey and look at Kingcombe through the eyes of those who lived there.

Rites of Way is being launched in late September 2013 - To take part you will need to preload the pages in your smartphone - either before setting out for Kingcombe or at the centre. Come back to this page for the latest information and follow us on Twitter @shascreenplay. The project has been commissioned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and funded by Arts Council England.

ScreenPLAY creates interactive narratives which create a sense of place and invite participants to become co-creators in their work. 

Journey through a magical Dorset landscape...

It’s one of the most extraordinary places in Dorset - Kingcombe. This beautiful valley, untouched by modern agriculture, is a wildlife haven.

ScreenPLAY has been commissioned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust to develop an interactive trail, bringing this remarkable landscape to life.

The project is a pilot, funded by the Arts Council. Over the course of this summer, artists Sharon Hayden, Alastair Nisbet and Heidi Steller will be immersing themselves in this landscape and creating what they hope will be an enhanced experience for future visitors.


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Recording the story of the Oak: Rites of Way was recorded on location at Kingcombe. To experience it best you need to be there in the landscape.
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Folklore of Flowers
Sharon and Alastair talk to Dorset Wildlife Trust conservation officer Nick Gray about the folklore associated with meadow flowers.

Nick talks about Hospital fields for livestock, finding your true love and the grim origin of the Sardonic grin - all this plus wild boar of the reserve.

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