Exploring Cornwall’s history and stories with geo-locative apps

Picture of large area on Cornwall's moor where people look for geocaches.

From history and heritage to myth and legend, Cornwall offers plenty for visitors to explore. One of the best ways to uncover some of Cornwall’s stories and bring the landscape to life is with a geo-locative mobile app.

Most apps focus on a particular location, using GPS technology to trigger audio recordings, images or information when you reach different spots within that location. Many of them also have an ‘armchair mode’, so you can use them when you’re outside that area, or when you’ve returned home from holiday.

There are several great apps available, with new ones being developed all the time. Most are free or are cheap to download. Here are some of the best:

‘Cousin Jacks – The Cornish Mining App’

This is a free resource developed by Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and is available on Apple and Android devices. The app is an interactive guide which includes audio trails, stories, games, walks, maps and information about each of the ten different areas within the World Heritage Site and the range of mining visitor attractions within them.

Hayle Churks

The Hayle Churks iPhone app takes you on a walking tour of the coastal post-industrial Cornish town of Hayle, in St Ives Bay. As you walk, location-specific memories are triggered. Using stories from real people who live in the area and archive photos, maps and images, the app brings the past to life, allowing 21st century visitors a glimpse into the rich history of this Cornish town.

The route starts at the Hayle Heritage Centre in Foundry Square, and can either be walked in one go (approximately two hours) or split up into shorter sections. There’s also a ‘listen at home’ mode, allowing you to access the stories from anywhere in the world.

Minions Lament

Minions Lament is an immersive experience which takes you on a journey through the magnificent landscape of Bodmin Moor. This is a particularly atmospheric area of Cornwall, full of myth and mystery.

The walk begins just outside the village of Minions, at The Hurlers stone circle, before taking you up onto the moor and towards the distinctive rock formation known as the Cheesewring.

The stories, created by a collective of writers in response to historical accounts and personal experience, are complemented by atmospheric music by composer Graham Fitkin.

The app can also be used in ‘armchair mode’ allowing you to listen to the stories at home or to revisit them after your walk. Minions Lament is available on iTunes, priced £2.49.


Kneehigh Rambles

Cornish theatre company Kneehigh have produced an app focusing on the stories of Perranporth, a small town on the North Cornwall coast. The stories have been collected and dramatized by local poet Anna Maria Murphy as part of the Kneehigh Rambles Programme. Quirky, moving and amusing, these stories draw you in and capture your attention, whether you’re listening on location in Perranporth, or at home from the comfort of your sofa.

Wheal Martyn App

Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park, near St Austell, has recently launched an app which takes visitors on a trail through the museum and grounds, exploring the history of the site as well as the historic industrial buildings and artefacts.

Who’s ready for an adventure?

Are you a fan of location-based apps? We’d love to hear about your experience of using any of the apps we’ve featured in this post, or if there are any others you’d recommend. Why not post a comment below, tweet @Bosinver or post a comment on our Facebook page and tell us what you think?

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Action Nan and the rest of the team are always busy writing posts that we think you’ll like – from top tips on where to take the kids, to what’s likely to be going on in the local area when you stay – we’ve got it all in our blog!