RDP project database
Rural Heritage Trail (DigiRoute42)
An innovative LEADER project promoting GPS-guided rural heritage trails with six interactive animated walks in the Flemish Ardennes developed for downloading to a hiker's Smartphone or PC.
Many people go for a walk to escape the modern world, yet still take their mobile phones - indeed, the latest generation of mobile devices can be very useful as travel guides for hikers. Six local libraries in Flanders (Oosterzele, Herzele, Lierde, Sint-Lievens-Houtem, Zottegem and Geraardsbe) have taken this idea and established a partnership to foster the ‘Route 42’ concept whereby along local hiking trails the walk is enlivened with sounds, images/videos and local tourist information.
This project aims to provide an innovative solution for guiding hikers. Users can view their desired itinerary online via an internet connection, which is standard on any smart phone or download the data via an internet connection on a PC and then transfer it to their smart phone. It is also possible to take free of charge a pre-loaded phone from a local tourist agency.
A total of six animated hikes in the Flemish Ardennes have been developed. Digital itineraries on offer to hikers include: a mysterious disappearance story in Sint-Maria-Lierde by crime writer Bavo D’Hooge; an historical tour of Sint-Lievens-Esse; an ‘active eco-hike’ in Zonnegem, and; an ‘Experience the silence’ walk in Waarbeke.
Results & Benefits
This project's innovation lies in utilising new media to develop local cultural and heritage identities within the hiking sector. For each walk the 'Route 42' partnership provides a number of devices free of charge (subject to a deposit) on which a “dummy-proof” version of the walk is installed. These devices will allow only the DigiRoutes to be followed with all other functionality removed to prevent improper use.
Local tourism agencies were observed to be lagging behind in the implementation of new technologies and media to support their services. This project demonstrates that other local bodies (e.g. the libraries) can co-opearte and get involved with promoting new ideas for stimulating tourism, recreation and the enjoyment of local heritage.
Project location and other information
Vlaamse Ardennen (Oost-Vlaanderen), Flanders, Belgium
Total project cost (€)
Koen De Keukeleire
Languages for contact
At a glance
Final beneficiary type
€20 000 - €99 999
Theme / Measure:
Implementing the LEADER Approach
Implementing local development strategies
413. Quality of life/diversification
Rural tourism, Internet, Leader, Local Action Group, Telecommunications