Iron Age brought back to reality at Burnham Beeches


The City of London Corporation has launched an exciting new augmented reality application to celebrate the completion of the Beacons of the Past Project at Burnham Beeches. 

The AR app allows visitors to use their mobile phones or tablet devices to superimpose periods of Burnham Beeches’ history, such as the Iron Age, Middle Ages and World War II when the area was used by the army to hide vehicles before the D-Day landings.  The augmented reality app also includes sounds which would have been experienced during each period. 

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, responsible for managing Burnham Beeches, Ben Murphy, welcomed 60 students from Farnham Common Junior School on Wednesday (15 November 2023) to demonstrate the new app, which was well received. 

Those in attendance got to explore the Burnham Beeches’ history using the AR app, including the Chairman of Burnham Beeches Parish Council, Councillor Marie Hammon, members of the Burnham Beeches Consultative Group and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty’s Conservation Board. 

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, Ben Murphy, said:  

“As conservators and trustees of Burnham Beeches, we have a responsibility to help educate the next generation of conservators about why this site is so important as a National Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation”. 

“This new augmented reality app will leverage technology to provide a lasting legacy for the Beacons of the Past Project and will allow visitors to better understand the rich history of Burnham Beeches, now and in the future.” 

The Beacons of the Past project was created by the Chilterns Conservation Board and has been generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust, the Chiltern Society, local authorities and the City of London Corporation.   Its aim was to engage and inspire a large, diverse range of people to discover the ancient Iron Age Hillforts. 

The augmented reality app is accessed via a QR code which will be published on signs at Burnham Beeches for visitors, providing easy access to each of the three periods of history. 

Dr Wendy Morrison, Project Manager at Chilterns Conservation Board, said: 

“The Chilterns Conservation Board has been delighted to deliver the Beacons of the Past project thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players and the hard work and dedication of volunteer and partner organisations, such as the City of London Corporation. 

“It is a real treat to see children enjoying some of the project’s work and finding out about the fascinating history of their local area.” 

Burnham Beeches was acquired by the City of London in 1880, in response to a threatened purchase by residential developers. It is managed as a free open space for the public enjoyment and recreation today.   


Notes to editors 

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk 

Hillforts Project   

At Burnham Beeches, the Project undertook three archaeological digs, prepared a specialist archaeological management plan and undertook events promoting the awareness of the pre-history of Burnham Beeches. 

One of the greatest achievements of the Beacons of the Past project was carrying out a LiDAR scan of 1400km2 of the Chilterns and some of its surrounding areas. This plane mounted laser scanner created a virtual 3D map of the area, uncovering many archaeological features which had not previously been known about – including an additional Hillfort in the Chilterns.