'Overstimulated' people should use senses to connect with past, says English Heritage

People should visit and appreciate historical sites with their senses as opposed to being "constantly overstimulated" by their phones, a charity has said.

English Heritage, which looks after a panoply of monuments and landmarks in the UK, has put up signs for visitors to use their sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch when at their sites.

The playful yet poignant notices read: "Caution echoes of the past can be heard here", "Beware this view will live long in the memory", "Warning smelling these flowers will transport you back in time" and "Stop take off your shoes and stand where history happened".

English Heritage historian and landscape advisor, Louise Crawley, said people are "constantly overstimulated and expected to be at the end of a phone 24/7" whereas those living in the past derived "much pleasure" from "simple sensations".

The signs feature in sites such as the Tudor fortress turned country house Walmer Castle, constructed for King Henry VIII, and in Audley End House and Gardens in Essex.

Ms Crawley said: "We hope that our visitors will be inspired to take the time to focus on the sensations around them and, in doing so, form a deeper understanding of the lives of those who went before."

On maximising sensory experiences at the sites, the historian urged visitors to "listen to the crunch of gravel underfoot" at Down House - transporting them back to what Charles Darwin would have heard on his walks around his home.

She also painted a picture of war and adversity - saying those visiting Hadrian's Wall would be able to "feel the wind pounding" on their faces as the Roman sentries did 2,000 years ago.

The charity, which manages Stonehenge and Dover Castle too, has a visual guide entitled 50 Ways To Explore Using Your Senses on its website.

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Some include feeling the chill of ancient stones, tasting heritage produce grown in historic kitchen gardens and listening to the clink of ancient gardening tools.

The signs will be at English Heritage sites until the end of July.