New clockwork “Audio Nature Trail Units” are to be available at the end of this month at Penarth’s Cosmeston Lakes Country Park to provide visitors with “detailed audio descriptions as they walk through the nature reserve”.
The units work like wind-up radios which generate their own electricity and don’t need batteries to keep them going – just the occasional turn of the rotary handle on each unit.
The sound comes from a digital recording on a computer chip inside the machines .
The audio units will mounted on sturdy posts and set up at “key focus points around the main lake” . They will provide a descriptive audio commentary and appropriate sound-effects to bring what the Vale of Glamorgan Council calls “a new dimension to the visitor experience”.
It’s not yet been announced whether the descriptive audio will be in Welsh as well as English.
The cash for the scheme – £8,000 – has come from the Welsh Government’s environmental 5p surcharge on purchases of Tesco plastic carrier bags – a move intended to encourage customers to re-use existing bags rather than pick up new ones when they shop at the supermarket.
It was Tesco customers themselves who voted, in-store, for the audio units – amongst range of options on offer within each region of the UK .
The weatherproof loudspeaker units will now be installed around Cosmeston Lakes Country Park by the end of October.