This Christmas, families in Heathfield, Polegate and Wadhurst will be able to track down Christmas themed animals in an augmented reality trail.

Wealden District Council has teamed up with Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council, Polegate Town Council and Wadhurst Parish to run free AR trails in the three towns this Christmas as part of its ‘Shop & Dine Well in Wealden’ campaign.

The council has also worked with Heathfield Chamber of Commerce on the Heathfield initiative.

Designed to encourage families to come into the three town centres , the ‘Santa Needs You!’ augmented reality trail is an enjoyable, safe and socially distanced event taking place until 31 December 2021.

It features 10 cute Christmas characters for children to find on stickers located in town centre shop windows. Families can scan each character’s QR code on their smartphones to learn the animal’s names, stories and see them in AR – without the need to download or sign up to anything.  Younger children will delight in spotting the cute and colourful characters in window displays whilst older (and grown-up children) can have fun taking silly selfies in augmented reality.  After spotting all 10 animals, players will be rewarded with a free e-book that concludes the story.

The animal characters have been specially commissioned for the trail and have been modelled in 3D for augmented reality, ‘Pokémon Go’ style. The use of augmented reality means that players can not only discover the characters in participating businesses windows, but they actually get to see them burst to life in front of them and can take selfies or even record movies with them. The trail takes about 45 minutes to complete and is free. With safety in mind, it has been designed so that there is no need to go inside.

In Heathfield, some participating businesses are offering extra incentives to shop locally via the ‘Think Heathfield’ Rewards initiative.

Councillor Roy Galley at Wealden District Council said, “The council is delighted to provide these free and fun activities in Heathfield, Polegate and Wadhurst this Christmas. The ‘Santa Needs You’ trail is designed to encourage families to get active, do some walking during the festive period and discover local businesses and parts of the towns they might not normally visit.”

Councillor Mike Robinson, chair of Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council, said, “This is a fantastic and safe way for local families to enjoy some time together. We also hope it will encourage people to do their Christmas shopping locally as there are plenty of great gifts and local food available to purchase from local businesses in the town centre.”

Polegate mayor Councillor Douglas Murray said, “It is fantastic to see Polegate involved in the Christmas augmented reality trail.  It’s a great way to get people back into our wonderful local shops and I hope that after the challenging year we have all had, this activity brings some Christmas cheer to the families taking part.”

Councillor Serena Gadd, the chair of Wadhurst Parish Council, said, “This is a fantastic and safe way for local families to enjoy some time together. We also hope it will encourage people to do their Christmas shopping locally as there are great gifts and local food available to purchase from local businesses in the village.”

The trail is being delivered by Prowse & Co. Ltd and High Street Safari Ltd on behalf of Wealden District Council.

To find out more visit:

ttps://highstreetsafari.com/locations/heathfield