Romans spotted in Hardwick Park

Oct 26, 2023 | Local News

A County Durham park is now home to a Roman village…of the virtual variety.

The new augmented reality attraction, in Sedgefield’s Hardwick Park, gives visitors the opportunity to meet Roman characters, view buildings, solve puzzles, and make iron tools.

It’s all experienced through a mobile phone and it’s the latest addition to the Love Exploring app commissioned by Durham County Council.

Cllr James Rowlandson, the council’s Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said: “Hardwick Park’s east field was the site of one of the largest Roman settlements in the region, and one of the only known examples of a civilian settlement with no military installation nearby. It would once have been home to craftspeople and stalls.

“We’ve had this new trail specially created to bring that history to life. It ties in with the school curriculum but I’m sure it will interest people of all ages.

“If you’re looking for things to do and places to go this coming half-term, Hardwick Park should definitely be on your list.

“There’s also a Potion Explosion Trail as well as Woodland Wizardry sessions, toddler tales and activities linked to Julia Donaldson’s story, Zog, and dragon and Gruffalo inspired sculptures by local artist, Graeme Hopper.”

Hardwick Park’s Romans trail is accessed via the underpass near the tower and dragon. It is in a field with rough paths so sturdy footwear is recommended.

The Love Exploring app’s Halloween Dance Trail, with child-friendly augmented reality skeletons, mummies and zombies, is also active in both Hardwick Park and Wharton Park.

Families visiting Wharton Park can decorate pumpkins and play Halloween games including pumpkin themed golf during half-term too.

The Love Exploring app is free to download and is compatible with most mobile phones.

People are advised to check they can access all of the app’s features before visiting to join one of the app’s trails.