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An interactive mobile app has helped Rochdale residents discover the great outdoors as part of a new trail on the Love Exploring app at Hollingworth Lake and Country Park.

Link4Life, the Rochdale-based culture and leisure charity, has launched new walking routes on the free Love Exploring app to support members of the local community to stay active and healthy. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, spending time outdoors and being active has never been more important.

The route is based around Hollingworth Lake and Country Park in Littleborough and visitors of all ages can download the free app to discover self-guided walks, learn more about the places they’re visiting, enjoy digital treasure hunts and even use augmented reality to bring some added excitement to the route. 

Right now, families can enjoy the dinosaur trail using augmented reality to catch dinosaurs, as well as being able to pose for photos with their newly captured prehistoric friends.

To coincide with the launch last month, there was also a Halloween-themed trail walk which took place between 26 October and 1 November and involved augmented reality skeletons, witches, mummies and zombies. Covering 3.5 kilometres, the walking trail was an ideal distance for families and individuals. During that week, which was also the October half-term holiday in the local area, the route was downloaded more than 1,400 times. Based on two people walking the route per download (one adult and one child), that’s almost 10,000 kilometres of walking.

Claire Costigan, manager of Hollingworth Lake and Country Park at Link4Life, said: “Love Exploring is a fantastic, free way for people to learn more about their parks and open spaces and we’re really pleased to see so many downloads of this wonderful walking route. Our aim was to encourage people in the local area to get outdoors and exercise, and our results show that we’ve achieved exactly that. 

“With covid-19 restrictions preventing people from doing many of the things they love, it’s important to remain upbeat and continue connecting with loved ones wherever possible. Our trail route offers an opportunity to do this safely, with a walking route that is suitable for families and individuals of all ages.

“Outdoor exercise should be an important part of everyday routines, now more than ever, and we’re hopeful that by partnering with Love Exploring, we can encourage more members of the Rochdale community to make exercise a priority.”

The downloadable routes on the Love Exploring app are curated with local experts, with interactive maps available to flag particular areas of interest, including historical buildings, local cafes and other key highlights.

Tom Matthews, Creator and Play Innovator at Sprytar, said: “The Love Exploring app has unsurprisingly seen a surge in demand of 500% during the Covid-19 pandemic, with parents and guardians looking to entertain their children outdoors in the fresh air.

“Alongside the dinosaur trail available on the app, a new festive themed Augmented Reality game has recently been added. The activities are self-directed and perfect for family bubbles. They are also a nice alternative to the traditional Boxing Day and New Year walks we typically enjoy

More family-orientated themed trails are being developed for the app over the next few months.

The Love Exploring app can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhones and from the Google Play Store for Android.