A Wandle Wonder Wander

Welcome to A Wandle Wonder Wander, XAP’s augmented reality walk made especially for Wandsworth Arts Fringe! Designed for all ages, A Wandle Wonder Wander is available to access from 9th – 25th June 2023.

Wander at your leisure along the banks of the river Wandle, from Merton Abbey Mills to the Thames, using your mobile device to discover sights, sounds and quirky animated artworks, which reveal the wonder of the Wandle’s rich heritage.

There are over 80 ‘wonders’ to discover along this 7.5 km route. Enjoy it in a day, or dip in and out of the walk at your leisure.

Joining the walk

  • You’ll need a mobile phone/tablet, and Chrome as your browser (apologies but Safari, Firefox, etc won’t work with the software yet).
  • When you are near the route, paste this link into Chrome:
    • walk.xartsprojects.org
  • In order to see the wonders where we’ve placed them along the route, you’ll need to Enable Mobile Data and OK/Accept all requests from the site to access your location, camera and motion sensors.
  • Follow the route with the link activated on your mobile, and the objects will float into your screen – as if by magic!
  • A message shows the distance to the next object.
  • An in-screen map shows your location and the route.
  • Apologies if some of the features don’t work on every phone – we’re still experimenting!

A downloadable map is available here, for you to print. 

A Wandle Wonder Wander is a collaborative project by the XAP artists, continuing our fascination with rivers, particularly those urban waterways that have been lost and refound. This is a mixed-reality geolocation-based walk along the River Wandle in south London, exploring change, renewal, loss and quiet resilience along this special waterway.

The Wandle has a rich industrial heritage going back many centuries, when the river was harnessed for its power to move mill wheels, and the clear chalky water for growing watercress, textile dying, and an astonishing range of other industries, many of which brutally polluted the waters. William Morris and Liberty’s both had printworks by the river.  The Wandle now has its distinctive landscape of large industrial units butting up against leafy river and meadow ecosystems, which manage to hang on, even flourish in places.

Made for Wandsworth Arts Festival, this walk spans from the southern to the northern edges of the borough, to the river’s confluence with the Thames. As you walk (with your mobile device) your presence triggers fragments of sounds, floating animations and text along the route. These fragments puncture the fabric of time momentarily, poking their past into your present.