Nenthead and Alston, which have long struggled with their internet connectivity, are now benefiting from a combination of superfast 5G and an award-winning app that can shine a light on their rich industrial heritage.

Thanks to the arrival of 5G and a new 5G Rural Integrated Test bed programme from the Department of Culture, Media & Sports, the North Pennines village and town now have their own version of WAM – the World Around Me app.

This award-winning app is used worldwide to help people find places to eat, drink, shop, stay, refuel and access money. In Nenthead and Alston it also unlocks local events, heritage places and oral histories.

Tourists can now direct themselves towards local events and heritage hotspots using their phone camera. As well as removing the need to use maps, this augmented reality experience enables users to view oral history on their screen and listen to associated audio. Places that can explored with the new 5G augmented reality app include Nenthead Mines, Alston Market Cross and Alston Station.

Nenthead and Alston have had to overcome obstacles such as retaining the interest of visitors who are keen to move on because they have no internet signal and cannot pick up their messages.

WAM app creator Tarun Sainani, said: “Rather than being overlooked by the digital age, Alston and Nenthead have 5G at the heart of their community and can be pioneers of this new technology.”