Wat Tyler Country Park

125 acres of explosives, nature and interpretation




Film & animation

Signage & wayfinding

The Wat Tyler Centre opened in Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon in late July 2009. 

DOT designed a major permanent exhibition for the new Heritage Lottery funded visitor centre, themed around the industrial and environmental heritage of the park.

The exhibition begins with the historical use of the site as an explosives factory at the end of the 19th Century, and moves on to explore the ways the land has been used ever since, notably as the Sea Transport Stores last active during the Suez crisis, then as a country park.

DOT designed branding for the park and established a house style that we used on the exhibition design and on promotional literature and a system of internal and external signage providing orientation and interpretation around a series of walking trails.

Along with graphic panels and murals, we designed and produced a series of custom digital and manual interactives, ranging from a nitroglycerin mixing hut where the roof blows off if you get the mix wrong, to an unexploded bomb you can de-fuze, to oral history listening posts based around inexpensive PDA touchscreens.

The natural history and sustainable development side of the exhibition features a strobe-driven 3D zoetrope that captures butterflies in slow-motion flight, along with a digital interactive where you can demolish a tower block.

 Children move two trucks across a bumpy terrain, learning that nitroglycerin blows up much more readily than dynamite
 Wat Tyler logo
 Orientation signage on Wat Tyler's Village Green
 Our mural traced the path of World War II Luftwaffe bombing raids along the Thames past the Wat Tyler site, picking out targets displayed alongside in a Luftwaffe pilot training film.
 Features of the former explosives factory are interpreted by signage along the explosives trail
 Interactives included a demonstration to show how dynamite was much safer to use than the nitroglycerine it replaced in mining and construction