A UNIQUE project is set to bring the landscape and history of the South Dorset Ridgeway to life.

Visitors to the area can now download apps designed to open up a whole new level of understanding of what experts describe as a landscape of equal importance to places such as Stonehenge.

Once the apps have been downloaded to a phone, visitors can wander around to access ‘sound-pools’ which include music, natural sounds, fairy tales and local myths.

The apps work via GPS, so a connection to wi-fi is not needed. It will also work if there’s no phone signal.

Dorset artists and schoolchildren have been involved in creating the sound-pools for the project, which was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Creative director Marc Yeats said: “There is a lot more to this special landscape than you see on one visit. There are layers of history, season changes, archaeology and culture and when you visit a lot of places on the Ridgeway at the moment, there is nothing to tell you anything about it. We wanted to bring the place alive through sound, so when people use the app, they put their phone in their pocket and their headphones in and they get this amazing sensory experience.”

Most of the ‘sound-pools’ are on the main footpaths but where there is designated open access land, such as at Blackdown, people will need to wander around in order to find them.

The project has been three years in the making and features work from Diva Contemporary, based in Bridport, as well as pupils from Weymouth College, Beaminster and Colfox schools.

Marc said: “It is very satisfying to see these apps working. Now the challenge is getting people to know it’s there. The idea was never to make it an expert tour guide app, but to make it really open to people of different ages and experiences, to help them connect with the landscape.”

Massive structures of timber and stone once stood on the South Dorset Ridgeway, when the land was worked in the Neolithic period, 4,000 years before the birth of Christ, through the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age.

It is known as the Grand Necropolis and contains more than 500 barrows, henges and causeways between West Bexington in the west to Osmington in the east.

James Sharpe is manager of the South Dorset Ridgeway landscape partnership.

He said he hopes the project will appeal to regular visitors to the beauty spot, but also inspire those who may not see the appeal of a countryside walk.

“This area is on a par with Stonehenge in terms of importance. Many of the burial chambers have become sunken due to ploughing but they are still there.

“The thing that gets me, that really sparks the imagination, is that you can see and touch these places, these barrows, that were built by people several thousand years ago. And yet we know nothing about them, not even their names. That’s incredible.”

The audio apps will play at and around the Grey Mare and her Colts Neolithic long barrow, White Hill Plantation area, Chapel Coppice above Abbotsbury; at and around the Hardy Monument and Bronkham Barrows; Kingston-Russell stone circle; and Culliford Tree Barrow.

Visit www.satsymph.co.uk/projects-and-events/interpretation/southdorsetridgeway