Gatherings of players have been soaking up heritage in Barnstaple as well as catching new characters...

The Pokémon Go craze has been welcomed by Barnstaple Town Council because it draws players to many of the town’s heritage sites.

Younger people are discovering sites such as the Guildhall, Queen Anne’s Walk and Almshouses through their hunts for Pokémon characters.

Led by Councillor Loki Dawson, 15 members of the Pokémon Go Barnstaple made a presentation to the council’s heritage, culture and community committee about the benefits of the smartphone game.

The group has around 200 members and committee chairman Cllr Liz Davies welcomed the effect the game is having. She said: “Pokémon Go seems to be a really great thing for Barnstaple.

“Some of our proud history is now being seen by people who otherwise might not have shown an interest, it’s bringing potential customers to our town centre, it’s encouraging exercise, and there’s a social side to the game that you won’t find playing on a console at home.

“As a council we’re keen to explore how we can work with the players to get the best from Pokémon Go, whilst encouraging responsible game play.”

Councillors also heard how the Town Centre Management Partnership and retailers had already used the game to good effect in local shops, placing Pokémon ‘lures’ to encourage users to visit them.

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