Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Ryde Heritage Audio Trail Map
Ryde Heritage Audio Trail Map

Ryde Social Heritage Group (RSHG) and Living Links recently launched the innovative “Ryde Heritage Audio Trail”.

The trail is a guided walking tour of Ryde, it has taken 2 years to complete and is one of the creative outputs of the Living Links project.

Living Links is a three year Heritage Lottery funded project, supported by the IW Record Office and Hampshire Archives Trust to help local groups access archives and to tell the stories of their places. The project has also provided training and advice to groups across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Sarah Speller from Living Links worked closely with RSHG throughout the creation of the Ryde Heritage Audio Trail.

RSHG started researching and documenting the history of Ryde in 2002 and we have built a good reputation for the quality of our exhibitions and displays and reliability in completing projects.

An Open Day was held at St Thomas Heritage Centre, Ryde on Saturday 15 May with an exhibition about the Audio Trail.

The Ryde Heritage Audio Trail takes the listener on a walk around Ryde starting at Lind Street, going down Union Street to the Pier, along the Esplanade to the Canoe Lake, then back along the Esplanade and up St Thomas Street ending at St Thomas Church. To walk the trail takes about 2 hours and there are 17 stops along the way where people can listen to the audio files and learn some interesting facts about Ryde’s past. It is also possible for people to devise their own shorter route and select the appropriate stops. The trail is accessible to wheelchair and mobility scooter users, as there are dropped kerbs at all the road crossing points.

Historical information about the town has been selected by researching archives; the trail contains many fascinating, funny and informative stories about Ryde.

In addition to the Open Day, there was a private viewing of the exhibition for invited guests on the evening of Friday 14 May; during the course of the weekend well over 200 people visited the exhibition which, as well as display boards and research folders, included a manikin dressed as a Coastguard, a specially created model showing how the Ryde tramway used to run through the ground floor of Holywell House, and a restored ‘penny-farthing’ bicycle (kindly loaned by Charlie Henderson). Mr Henderson and the Town Cryer gave the event extra publicity when they wheeled the bicycle through the town on the Friday afternoon.

Janette Gregson, chairman of RSHG, said, “Our aim was to use modern technology to engage people with the past. By using MP3 files downloaded for free from our website there is no need to hire and return expensive listening equipment; people can walk the trail in their own time. We have discovered some fascinating facts about the town and are sure people will enjoy walking the trail and listening to the audio files.”

Ryde Heritage Audio Trail is available as free downloadable MP3 files here and also from Talking-Guides.com .
For those without MP3 players text versions of the audio files are also available here.