Client: English Heritage
Role: Graphic interpretation | Trail design | Graphic design management | Illustration

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks Pirates and Privateers - Dartmouth Castle.

Dartmouth Castle. © English Heritage

Bivouac has designed the graphic interpretation for Dartmouth Castle, a stunning venue situated on the mouth of the Dart estuary in Devon. It is an exciting venue for families, with lots of windows looking out to sea, narrow corridors, big guns and small rooms to explore. It has plenty of colourful characters in its history to illustrate its stories.

We worked with Scarborough-based illustrator, Neil Pearson, to develop the character of John Hawley (Dartmouth’s mayor and privateer extraordinaire). John became the narrator for a children’s trail, accompanied by his trusty mouse. These characters appear throughout the Castle on panels, inside barrels, and running through holes in the walls, and we designed an interactive trail leaflet to encourage families and children to explore the whole site. Internal and external panels and lecterns are placed around the site, and cast bronze disks on the roof direct people to other sites in the area.

Young visitors enjoy the new explorer trail. © English Heritage

Young visitors enjoy the new explorer trail. © English Heritage

Darmouth family trail

Family trail

Other interpretation on site  includes try-on helmets (the trail encourages people to take a selfie at this point) and a film about the huge chain that spanned the estuary to guard against incoming threats by sea.

Leach led the project and created all the 3D displays, print and built items. The film was created by Fuzzy Duck. Thanks for the images Sara and Helen! (Exhibition images © Leach unless noted otherwise).

Looking into a barrel

What’s inside? Part of John Hawley’s explorer trail. © English Heritage

Dartmouth mouse

Bad mouse!


Interpretation is located with objects on ‘islands’, printed to bent clear acrylic, and to the Corian

Trying on helmets in the Gun Tower

Trying on helmets in the Gun Tower. © English Heritage


Dartmouth Castle is full of big guns!

Dartmouth game

Game routed into the Corian seat

Dartmouth islands

Bent acrylic panels set at different heights

Dartmouth wall panels

Wall panels in the Gun Tower


Projected film in the Gun Tower tells the story of the chain across the estuary. AV by Fuzzy Duck. © English Heritage

Dartmouth lecterns

Interpretive bent acrylic lecterns with helmets and weapons

Darmouth barrel

Open me… interpretation inside gunpowder barrels

Dartmouth panels

Interpretation in the Guard House

New panels throughout the Castle tell the story of Dartmouth's past © English Heritage

© English Heritage

Dartmouth lightboxes

Lightboxes in the Battery for the low light levels

© English Heritage


Dartmouth disks

Cast bronze disks on roof

Dartmouth roof

Nice view from the roof

External intepretation panel

External interpretation panels are printed to Leach’s Vault substrate

Dartmouth mouse

Catch me if you can…