The Moors National Park Centre at Danby officially opened its new Land of Iron exhibition yesterday, July 21.
The exhibition, forms part of the £4m Land of Iron project, which includes a revamp of the Moors National Park Centre, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and showcases how the National Park’s remarkable landscape has been shaped over time by nature, climate, industry and people.
Land of Iron programme manager Tom Mutton explained: “The new visitor experience has been designed to act as a stepping stone for visitors before they explore the National Park by helping them piece together how past events, the natural world and land management have led to the views they will be seeing.”
Interpretation boards, benches and cast models allow visitors to see, experience and understand more of the surrounding environment.
Touring the exhibition is a delight, there are secrets hidden around every corner, and nods in all directions to the eclectic range of activities which take place on the North York Moors. The observant will even discover a tiny Harry Potter hidden on the exhibition walls.
Upon entering the display, the visitor is treated to a stunning collection of images of the National Park. There is a timeline on the walls with interesting historical facts and figures.
A large room details the habitat and wildlife of the park. There are activities for children, a nesting bird camera (seasonal) and more information to uncover.
The pièce de résistance, however, is found when entering the Land of Iron section of the exhibit. The transition from the green room of the habitats, to the black and grey passageway to the Industrial Age is striking.
Interpretation officer Julian Brown said: “The aim of the exhibit is to tell a story which hasn’t been told before, the history of iron mining across the Esk Valley and Rosedale.”
There is a selfie opportunity in front of an old mine cart, before you find yourself confronted with an incredible animated room, a double height space, with an animation on all four walls above you.
The animation, which plays on a loop, takes the visitor on a journey from moorland, to industrial iron workings, then back to the present day. There are also spinning 3D images of local ironwork features which may still be found in the landscape and a further area which explains how the people of the National Park live today.
The transformation continues upstairs. The popular climbing wall remains in place, and other new features are certain to prove a hit with the younger generation. There is an interactive salmon leap challenge, a 3D ball roll challenge and a huge marble run.
The four-year Land of Iron project is a Landscape Partnership scheme, supported by the North York Moors National Park Authority, David Ross Foundation and other partners together with a £2.8 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
National Lottery Heritage Fund Area Director North, David Renwick, said: “We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players the Moors National Park Centre will provide a focus for visitors and local communities to discover the important landscape that surrounds them.”
As well as the interactive centre, there is still the Inspired Gallery and cafe available for visitors, plus children’s play area, mud kitchen, sculpture trail and picnic area in Crow Wood.