Salmon spawning jumps into the future

public art project on the River Tyne at Hexham

27 September 2018

A new augmented reality project is allowing nature lovers to see and find out more about Salmon in the River Tyne at Hexham, Northumberland through a new interactive experience.

Local Hexhamtv news vlogger Peter Woods has designed The Hexham Salmon Experience after he became one of 18 artists selected as part of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018’s N18 artists development programme.

Working with another N18 artist, Ali of Ali Elly Design, he took her 2D painting of a Salmon, had it converted into a 3D object and linked it to a scannable code.

A new exhibition board on the bank of the River Tyne near the Hexham boathouse promotes the project to local people and visitors. All you need to do to see the Salmon experience is download the Zappar App on your smartphone from your App store, head down to Tyne Green, and point your smartphone at the code on the sign.

The River Tyne is England¹s best Salmon fishing river and every year people gather on the bridge across the River Tyne at Hexham to watch the fish jumping up the weir to spawn further up-stream. The next six weeks is the best time of year to see this in action.

Peter wanted to celebrate this annual event by creating a giant Salmon in augmented reality, which could be viewed using smart phones.

He also researched educational material on the River Tyne and on the migration of the Salmon provided by organisations such as The Tyne Rivers Trust and The Kielder Salmon Hatchery. He linked this to another Zappar code so that as well as seeing a huge Salmon in augmented reality you can access some fascinating background information.

This will provide a great opportunity for local schools to visit the River Tyne at Hexham and teach their students about the local environment, link it with sustainability of rivers and our food supply chain, and show students how new technology can be used in arts and science projects.

Peter says: “I believe that we are on the cusp of a very big technological change. In a few years time augmented reality will be common place and we will be used to seeing information overlaid on the real world at school, at work and in our leisure time.

“I wanted to show the potential of augmented reality in public art and to show through the digital civics aspect of the project how augmented reality can be used for social good, to help people better access public information that they will find useful in their lives.

“As a non coder it took some time to get used to using the technology and to understand its capabilities. The BBC R&D team were very helpful with this aspect of the project. The technology is changing fast so it will get easier to develop innovative projects as a non coder as things move on.”

18 artists took part in the Great Exhibition of the North′s N18 Artist Development Programme funded through Arts Council England′s Ambition for Excellence Scheme May-October 2018.

To see The Hexham Salmon experience simply download the Zappar App on your smart phone app store and head on down to Tyne Green Country Park at NE46 3HF.

During the N18 programme Peter was mentored on The Hexham Salmon experience by Jasmine Cox and Jessica Driscoll of BBC Research and Development who have included his Hexham Salmon project on the BBC Taster website here

You can see a video clip about The Hexham Salmon project here

Peter plans to use augmented reality in future projects and any organisation wishing to talk to him about possible future projects should contact him through the Hexhamtv Facebook page or via email at

To view the Hexham Salmon where you are now download the Zappar App from your smartphone app store and scan this code. Normal data charges apply.


Peter Woods is a hyperlocal online news vlogger who runs online news channel Hexhamtv in Hexham, Northumberland. You can find Hexhamtv on Facebook and Twitter.

Augmented Reality is a whole new medium which while it has been around for some time, is about to go mainstream and to be used by large sections of the general public. Developers in augmented reality are beginning to show the potential it has in many fields including business, education and science. For young people about to enter the jobs market developing augmented reality projects will offer a new and exciting career path.

If you′d like to see more of Peter and Ali′s work, you can watch Hexham TV on Facebook here and visit Ali′s site here

You can find out more about the other N18 artists here

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