The Latest

22 March 2024

The Gruffalo returns!

Forestry England celebrate 25 years of The Gruffalo with an exciting forest adventure. Forestry England’s Kielder Forest is thrilled to announce a new celebratory trail launching on 28 March, to mark the 25th anniversary of the award-winning picture book, “The Gruffalo”.   Since 2014, the collaboration between Magic Light Pictures and Forestry England has enchanted families in England, immersing them in the magical world of the Gruffalo within the nation’s deep dark woods.   To mark this remarkable milestone, Kielder Forest is inviting families from across England to join in the festivities and celebrate the Gruffalo's 25th birthday on an exciting new trail experience.   The Gruffalo's 25th birthday trail is going to be a big party in the forest! As part of the adventure, families will be encouraged to work together to search for missing party items whilst enjoying fun and games along the trail. Participants will also learn about the intricate ways plants and animals look after each other.   Available at 26 forest sites across the country, the trails will boast five large activity panels, two of which will include interactive elements. In addition, visitors can expect 15 smaller spotter panels, where they can search for missing party items. Five rubbing stations will also be scattered along the trail, adding an artistic touch to the adventure.   For those looking to enhance their experience, an accompanying trail pack will be available to buy on-site for just £4 from the Street Diner next to Kielder Castle. These will include a festive party headband to get you into the party spirit, an activity leaflet for curious minds, stickers, pencils and crayons to get creative, and a woven Gruffalo sew-on patch as a cherished keepsake.   This fantastic celebratory trail is set to captivate Gruffalo fans of all ages, offering a memorable and educational experience amidst the beauty of our fabulous forests. Mark your calendars for 2024, as the Gruffalo's 25th birthday promises to be an adventure you won't want to miss.   For more information and updates on this exciting new trail, visit https://www.forestryengland.uk/gruffalo-party-trail
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26 February 2024

Visitors return to Farne Islands

Inner Farne, one of the Farne Islands cared for by the National Trust, will re-open for visitor boat landings in the spring, after a period of closure due to Avian Influenza. National Trust will welcome visitors back onto Inner Farne this spring for the first time in two years Conservation charity will closely monitor the seabirds for signs of Avian ‘Flu’ and may have to restrict landings, moving to sail-around tours only, later in the breeding season to protect the colony if an outbreak occurs The islands have been closed for landings due to Avian Influenza (Bird flu) Visitors can once again book a boat trip with a landing to walk amongst the precious wildlife Trust continues to work closely with other partner organisations and the government to follow best practice and continue to learn about the disease From 25 March, visitor boats will be able to land on the Farne Islands for the first time in two years, with bookings now open with boat trip operators. The Farne Islands are a National Nature Reserve and are an internationally important home to approximately 200,000 seabirds, including the charismatic puffin, Arctic terns, and kittiwakes. The birds return to the islands, just off the Northumberland coast at Seahouses, to breed each year from the end of March, departing once their chicks are fully fledged, at the end of the summer.  The colony was hit hard by bird flu in 2022, with rangers collecting over 6,000 dead birds, and although the disease was also present last year, there was a reduction of 39%, with 3,647 birds collected by the ranger team, giving some hope that immunity is building within the colony. Sophia Jackson, Area Ranger for the National Trust says: “We have been closely monitoring the impact of the disease on our breeding populations as part of international research into bird flu. “This has shown that the disease has had devasting impacts on some species and at some UK sites making our conservation efforts all the more important. “Like at other sites, it seems that the disease has declined in our birds, although we will continue to closely monitor them as the breeding season starts again. "We continue to work closely with statutory agencies and other organisations, like the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) & Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), to ensure we are across the latest research and updates so that we can put the right measures in place to look after the birds to the best of our abilities.” With the islands due to re-open on 25 March, visitors will once again be able to book a landing trip with one of the boat companies that operate out of the harbour at Seahouses to get unparalleled close-up views of the incredible wildlife that inhabits the islands. On arrival at the harbour at Seahouses, visitors booked onto a boat trip are asked to visit the National Trust admissions point to purchase a landing ticket or to show their membership cards. Laura Knowles, Visitor Operations and Experience Manager for the National Trust says: “We’re excited and delighted in equal measure to announce that Inner Farne will reopen for visitor landings on 25 March 2024.    “We can’t wait to welcome visitors and to share the wonderful wildlife of the island up close once again. Sail around tours will also continue to be available for those visitors that want to experience the magic of the islands from the water.” As well as the fascinating wildlife, visitors will also be able to get closer to the cultural history on the island, which has links with early Christianity and St Cuthbert, with access inside the beautiful St Cuthbert’s Chapel and exterior views of the Inner Farne lighthouse and the Pele Tower.   Inner Farne will be the only island to open to visitor landings this year whilst National Trust trials limited opening. To plan your visit, go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/north-east/farne-islands for more information and contact the boat companies directly to book your trip.
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22 December 2023

Unlock offers and experiences in Alnwick

The brand new Visit Northumberland app has been created following the launch of its Step into Alnwick programme, and the app promotes all things Alnwick, just in time for Christmas. If you’ve ever fancied visiting Alnwick, or are already heading there for The Alnwick Garden Winter Light Trail, the Visit Northumberland app is a one-stop-shop for the best places to eat, drink, shop and explore. The app features a number of offers you can redeem in-store, as well as restaurant discounts, so you can bag some bargains when you go Christmas shopping this year.  Not to mention, app users have exclusive access to a special competition to win a weekend in Alnwick. All you have to do is download the app, redeem one of the offers in-store, and you will be automatically entered for the chance to win two nights at Hallow and Crux (for up to a family of four), a £100 voucher at The Dirty Bottles pub, and a family day pass to The Alnwick Garden and Lilidorei.  So, what kind of things do you have to look forward to in Alnwick and on the app? The traditional, cobbled market town of Alnwick, home to famous Alnwick Castle and the amazing Alnwick Garden, is one of Northumberland’s most beautiful market towns. Cosy pubs and restaurants with open fires such as the “cursed” Dirty Bottles pub and the Black Swan, delis serving locally sourced treats such as Turnbull’s Northumbrian Food and The Cheese Room, and stunning boutique stores such as Hotspur 1364, Robinson’s, Ruby Tuesdays and many more, all feature on the app. The list is endless, so download the app and have a look for yourself.  Andrew Fox, chair of Visit Northumberland, said, “We are thrilled to have launched the Visit Northumberland app and to be able to promote Alnwick’s outstanding businesses to our visitors in an interactive and user-friendly way. This is just the beginning for the app, which will continue to develop and promote other towns and villages in Northumberland, guiding visitors on the best of the county and what to do once you’re here.”  Search ‘Visit Northumberland’ in your phone’s app store to download the app now, or head to Visit Northumberland’s website using your phone where you will find a link to download the app.   Step into Alnwick is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority. 
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28 September 2023

Iconic Sycamore Gap 'felled overnight'

Northumberland National Park Authority can confirm that sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down over night on Thursday 28 September. They have reason to believe it has been deliberately felled. They are working with the relevant agencies and partners with an interest in this iconic North East landmark along Hadrian’s Wall and will issue more details once they are known.  Sycamore Gap Tree was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016 in the Woodland Trust’s awards and is much-loved by people from across the world.  Northumberland National Park Authority would like to ask the public not to visit the site at this time whilst they work with their partners to identify what has happened and to make the site safe. You can find all the latest updates on the Northumberland National Park website. For alternative attractions to explore in the local area, take a look at the Visit Northumberland blog, with guides to the best family days out, budget friendly activities and much more.
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20 September 2023

Be scared this Halloween at Whitehouse Farm

Are you ready for an unforgettable Halloween experience in Northumberland? Look no further than Whitehouse Farm Centre, where their Halloween Spooktacular Event awaits you from 28th October to 5th November 2023. Prepare to be immersed in a world of spookiness and excitement as you step into the heart of the farm.  Magic Merlin will take centre stage in the ghostly grim grotto, captivating audiences with his mesmerising spooktacular show. It's a performance you and the family won't want to miss. For those eager to embrace their inner witches and wizards, Whitehouse Farm Witches and Wizards School offers a chance to learn the secrets of Halloween magic. Youngsters and adults alike can join in the fun by donning their finest Halloween attire and participating in their fancy dress competition. Keep an eye out for the Whitehouse Farm staff, who will be dressed in spooktacular costumes too.  No Halloween celebration is complete without pumpkins, and Whitehouse Farm has you covered. Visit Penny Pumpkin at the pumpkin patch and choose your very own pumpkin to carve at their pumpkin carving station. Under the guidance of Patricia Pumpkin, unleash your creativity and craft spooky faces to your heart's content. Plus, each full paying child ticket will receive a free pumpkin upon their visit.  For the brave souls among us, the Walkway of Terror awaits. Embark on a spine-chilling journey through the spider's lair, catacombs and the eerie doll room. Pay a visit to the chop shop, navigate the clown house (if you dare!), and tread lightly in the chilling graveyard. Brace yourself for unexpected surprises around every corner at Whitehouse Farm this Halloween.  Make sure to capture the eerie atmosphere at the farm with their ghostly photo opportunities that provide the perfect backdrop for your family photos. And don't forget to visit Winnie Witch's lair for captivating stories about her wicked wings. But that's not all – Whitehouse Farm also offers its usual array of farmyard fun activities. From cuddling fluffy animals to encountering crawling critters, watching birds of prey soar and learning intriguing facts during the interactive meerkat feeds and talks, there's something for everyone. Groom one of their friendly ponies, take a tractor ride, or enjoy thrills at the castle catapult. Bounce like a wallaby on the jumping pillows, feed some of the larger animals, and let the kids loose in the expansive adventure playground. Why not race around the go-cart track for an extra dose of excitement? Come rain or shine, Whitehouse Farm ensures a fantastic family day out with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities available daily from 10am to 5pm.   This Halloween, let Whitehouse Farm Centre be your destination for a hair-raising and unforgettable experience.
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20 September 2023

Enjoy half-term with National Trust

As the trees change colour and the air turns crisper, Northumberland comes alive with the magic of autumn. Join us as we unveil a delightful array of spooky Halloween events and autumn family activities that you can enjoy at National Trust properties across Northumberland.  Whether you're in pursuit of thrilling Halloween scares or enchanting autumn walks, Northumberland has so many things to do.  Halloween Happenings at Seaton Delaval Hall Are you ready for an unforgettable Halloween filled with thrills and chills? Seaton Delaval Hall, just off the Northumberland coast, is the place to be during this spooky season.  Visit Seaton Delaval Hall for their annual best dressed and best carved pumpkin competitions, showcasing your Halloween creativity for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Make sure to share your costumes and creations by joining their pumpkin parade, accompanied by the spooktacular samba drumming band, The Bangshees.  Throughout the day, explore the hauntingly decorated basement, inspired by the hall's eerie myths and legends. Don't forget to grab a free spooky spotter sheet from the visitor welcome desk to enhance your adventure and find hidden surprises. Enjoy family-friendly Halloween celebrations filled with thrilling activities and unforgettable moments throughout the day.  And as night falls, Seaton Delaval Hall takes on an even spookier atmosphere with a thrilling after-dark experience for older children and adults. Venture further into the basement and explore the west wing kitchen, where gory and ghostly effects await. Join magician Chris Cross, who will amaze you with his tricks, and be sure to pick up a complimentary treat from the witches brewhouse on your Halloween journey.  Discover The Magic of Autumn As autumn descends upon Northumberland, two enchanting National Trust properties, Cragside and Wallington Hall, beckon families to embrace the magic of the season with the most scenic spots and some of the best outdoor walks.  Cragside, a Victorian historic house tucked away in the heart of  Northumberland's countryside, offers a range of walking trails across its estate, leading families on captivating journeys through the autumn landscape.  The lakeside walk is one of our favourite routes, tracing the shores of Tumbleton lake, where the vibrant orange, red and golden autumn foliage casts mesmerising reflections on the water. Keep an eye out for wildlife on your visit, especially for  industrious red squirrels, busy preparing for winter. Wallington Hall, another hidden gem within the Northumberland countryside, undergoes a breathtaking transformation into an autumn wonderland, inviting families to explore its expansive grounds.  The west wood at Wallington presents family-friendly trails winding through woodlands adorned with vibrant canopies. Children can delight in collecting conkers and acorns, as well as enjoying adventure and excitement with Wallington’s play areas, from their forest play fort to their adventure train, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Both Cragside and Wallington Hall offer a variety of trails suitable for all ages and abilities, ensuring that families can savour the magic of autumn together. Whether you're enjoying the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet or pausing to admire the changing colours of the woodland, both Cragside and Wallington allow families to be immersed in autumn.  So whether you are wearing your most wicked witches hat, showcasing your carved pumpkin creation, or lacing up your walking shoes, make sure to create lasting memories in Northumberland this Halloween with the National Trust. 
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18 August 2023

Alnwick Castle Charity Abseil

Take your place in history and conquer the Alnwick Castle abseil whilst raising vital funds for Northumberland Estates’ Charity of the Year - The People’s Kitchen.   The abseil will take place on the 23 and 24 September at Alnwick Castle. The first challenge is climbing the 84 steps on the spiral staircase to the top of the castle keep. Once at the top you will abseil down the castle walls on a 100ft rope, taking in the beautiful views of the grounds and pastures along the way.   Participants will be guided in this event by expert activity providers, Adventure Northumberland, who will ensure you are fully harnessed and equipped with the know-how to complete the challenge.   All proceeds from the event will go to The People’s Kitchen. The Newcastle-based charity aims to make life better for vulnerable people; working to enable people to move off the streets and then provide food, furniture, and bedding to those in need. They also offer friendship and professional services to improve mental well-being.   Catherine Neil, Head of Alnwick Castle Ventures, said: “There is great anticipation for the charity abseil which will give participants a unique perspective of Alnwick Castle. In doing so, those taking part will be able to financially help The People’s Kitchen, a wonderful charity that provides brilliant support for vulnerable people. We expect plenty of daredevils to sign up but this is a charity event perfect for those who have never considered abseiling before as well those who are well-used to seeking thrills and spills.”   Northumberland Estates will also donate a family ticket for all participants to Alnwick Castle on the day of the event.   Location: Alnwick Castle, Lion’s Arch (what3words: ///bordering.asleep.fortnight) Date:  23-24 September Registration Fee: £40 including a family day ticket to Alnwick Castle Fundraising Target: £200 Corporate rate: £240 per person (£40 registration/£200 charity donation) Staff Rate: £40 Book now: https://www.adventurenorthumberland.co.uk/inventory/alnwick-castle-charity-event JustGiving Campaign Team Page - www.justgiving.com/team/AlnwickAbseil - click the link and ‘Join the Team’  
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15 August 2023

A glimpse of Roman life

One of the first finds in new excavation reveals a glimpse of Roman life at Milecastle 46 on Hadrian’s Wall. The top layers of the Hadrian’s Wall Milecastle 46 excavations at Magna were not anticipated to yield a flurry of artefacts or inscriptions. The milecastle site, along with the adjacent section of Hadrian’s Wall and the Fort of Magna were heavily stone robbed in the 14th century, much of that stone probably being used to build the nearby Thirlwall Castle. Despite a sparsity of standing remains by the fourth week into the dig the impressive foundation stones of the milecastle are starting to emerge and alongside the outer wall of the structure a wonderful find was recently uncovered that gives us an insight into the sort of activities that took place there almost 2000 years ago. An exceptionally fine example of a small and delicate equal arm steelyard beam (or yard) was found during week three of the work. Rachel Frame, the Senior Archaeologist at the Magna site noted: “This was a part of the site we had been working in the week before but there had been no signs of any artefacts at all in this area; the extremely heavy rain that we had over the weekend helped to wash the last cover of soil from one end of the steelyard beam, revealing just a few centimetres of the artefact. At first, I thought it could be a large pin or needle, but it became clear as the find continued to be uncovered and features like the central fulcrum were revealed, that it was something much more special and could tell us a great deal about how the milecastle may have been used”. The 22cm copper alloy steelyard beam had a decorative integral central fulcrum hole to accommodate a suspension chain. One end of the beam was finished with a typical triple bevel design and delicate suspension hole from which a weighing pan would once have been hung via fine chains. The other would end would have been used to hang small weights from another chain. A feature of this steelyard is that from the fulcrum to one end of the beam are eleven evenly spaced, tiny circular silver inset points set 10mm apart, used as markers for moving the measuring weights along the arm. A portable steelyard of this size and calibre could have been used by a proficient Roman tax official, trader or merchant for weighing small, high value items passing through the milecastle at Magna. Trading posts like this would have worked both ways, taxing goods entering and leaving the borders of the Empire. The Roman army and Emperor taking their own cut from this potentially lucrative trade. Although not every milecastle was suitable for this purpose, number 46 at Magna, linked into a junction point of three major Roman roads, the Stanegate, the Maiden Way and the Military Road, was an ideal location for both tax and control and had clear and easy access to the north of the Wall. In the later Roman period, the flow of cut silver and glass artefacts flowed north out of the empire to buy the obedience of northern tribes. A practice which may have eventually played its part in encouraging more raiding into the province from beyond the frontier. The excavation of Milecastle 46 is part of a 5-year project by The Vindolanda Trust at the Magna site. The aims are to achieve a better understanding of the continued impact of climate change on the buried archaeology. The project has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a grant of £1.625m. In addition to the 5-year research excavation the adjacent Roman Army Museum is being extended and as the new collection grows artefacts such as the newly uncovered steelyard beam will be displayed for the public to see. Visitors to the Roman Army Museum can view the nearby excavation area and get an update from the Magna team Monday-Friday at 11:30am-12pm and 2pm-2:30pm. There is also an online Dig Diary which is frequently updated with the latest news and developments. Excavations will continue this year until the 22nd of September.  
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03 August 2023

Travel to Holy Island with caution this summer

Despite ongoing calls for Holy Island visitors to adhere to safe causeway crossing times, incidents of cars getting trapped on the causeway continue to occur, posing a serious threat to life. Visitors who don’t adhere to the safety warnings not only put their own lives in danger, but also those of the emergency services as well as islanders who are unable to leave or access Holy Island until their stranded cars are removed. As a part of Northumberland County Council’s ‘Love it Like its Yours’ visitor management campaign, the council has joined forces with HM Coastguard and the RNLI to urge people not to cross the causeway outside of safe tide times. Further measures are being implemented to help combat incidents, these include new signage to bolster the existing safe crossing times signs, visible on both sides of the causeway. People can also access safe crossing times on the Northumberland County Council and Visit Northumberland websites, and add the times to their smartphone calendars. In addition, RNLI volunteers will also be on hand throughout the summer to advise drivers when it’s safe to cross. Martin Lowe, HM Coastguard Area Commander for North East of England, said: “We rescue people from the causeway all year around, but we definitely see the most incidents during the summer months, when we have lots of visitors to the island. “It is very easy to get caught out, so you should always check the safe crossing times first and you should never drive over the causeway when water covers the road – tides do not come in and out in a straight line and you can easily find yourself surrounded and cut off from dry land. “We understand it is inconvenient to have to wait for the tide to turn, but the alternative is much worse, and every year we rescue people who are discovering this firsthand. If you see anyone in distress at the coast, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.” HM Coastguard and RNLI volunteers work together throughout the year to rescue those who get stuck between Holy Island and mainland Northumberland during high tide. Nick Ayers, Regional Water Safety Lead at the RNLI, said: “It is disappointing to see that incidents on Holy Island continue to occur, despite our best efforts to raise awareness of the dangers. “Our message to motorists visiting the island is ‘don’t chance it’ as you can’t outrun the North Sea. Please, check and comply with the safe crossing times, posted at each end of the causeway. “We’ve also set-up a Holy Island task force, made-up of RNLI water safety volunteers from Berwick and Seahouses. Visitors will spot the team throughout the six week holidays, relaying useful information including the crossing times at the island’s car park. “When in doubt, please speak to Holy Island locals in shops and cafes or check the crossing times online. If the water has reached the causeway, do not attempt to cross it as it gets very deep around the centre of the crossing.” Holy Island is located in the North Sea, a mile from the mainland and cut off twice a day by fast, incoming tides. It is therefore essential that visitors check the crossing times before they travel. Molly Luke, HM Coastguard Station Officer at Holy Island, said: “The summer holidays in July and August are our busiest months, our visitor numbers go up significantly and the causeway can become very busy. “It’s wonderful to see so many visitors, most of the local community enjoy the busy months but, unfortunately, people do end up needing our help. “As the only emergency service team on the island, we can get called to a wide range of issues when the tide is shut. When the tide is shut, it is shut and no one can get on or off the island without the help of the coastguard, or a local boat – that’s not always truly understood by visitors, who can get quite a shock to see the sea cover the causeway. “It’s why it is crucial we are all based on the island, and ready to respond to any call for help.” Councillor Gordon Stewart, Cabinet Member for Looking after our Communities and Chair of the Fire Authority said: “We continually work in partnership with the RNLI and HM Coastguard to ensure visitors have all the information they need to enjoy a safe trip to Holy Island. “We want everyone to take home good memories, so please don’t drive to Holy Island without first checking the safe crossing times. The same applies to visitors walking across the sand flats at places like Budle Bay and Holy Island - please be careful as the tide rises quickly. By following this simple guidance, we can help to protect lives and help ensure a visit to this special place is memorable for all the right reasons.” Andrew Fox, chair of Visit Northumberland, added: “As we enter the summer holidays, we’re expecting visitors from across the region and beyond to make their way to Holy Island over the coming months. “While we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Northumberland’s popular tourist destination we’d like to remind people to adhere to the safe crossing times in order to stay safe and so everyone can enjoy what the island has to offer.”
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01 August 2023

Colour your way to victory in Zog colouring competition

Kielder Forest is excited to announce the launch of the Zog colouring competition, an exciting opportunity for young artists to showcase their creative skills and win a fabulous Zog prize bundle. With a range of roar-some goodies up for grabs, including a Zog soft toy, and activity book, this competition is not to be missed! With prizes for the winning picture, and two runners up, Kielder Forest invites participants to unleash their imagination and be as colourful, arty and sparkly as they like! Whether you prefer bright colours or subtle shades, the Zog colouring sheet is a blank canvas just waiting for your artistic touch. So, grab your colouring tools and get ready for an adventure with Zog! To enter the competition, follow these simple steps: Pick up a colouring sheet from Kielder Castle and get creative, feel free to be as colourful and arty as you like! Let your imagination run wild and make Zog roar-some with your unique style. Ask a grown-up to fill in your contact details on the back of your masterpiece. This information is vital to ensure that we can reach out to the lucky winners. Put your completed entry into the Zog colouring competition post box, which will be located at in the visitor centre. Make sure to drop off your entry before the competition closes on 31 October 2023.  Now, here's the exciting part! The Forestry England team at Kielder will carefully evaluate all entries and select the winner and the two runners up based on their artistic talent and creativity. Once the judging process is complete, the lucky winners will be contacted directly and announced on social media. Winners will be rewarded with an incredible bundle of Zog goodies, including an adorable Zog soft toy who will become your loyal friend, and an engaging activity book to further explore the world of Zog; an extraordinary collection of goodies that any Zog fan would treasure. So, don't miss this incredible chance to win the ultimate Zog prize bundle! Head to Kielder to let your creativity soar, and submit your entry to the Zog colouring competition today. Remember, the deadline for entries is 31 October 2023. For more information and updates on the Zog colouring competition, please visit forestryengland.uk/zog or follow Kielder Forest on Facebook. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with Zog! Good luck to all the aspiring artists, and may the most colourful and imaginative creations triumph!
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31 July 2023

Vote for Northumberland’s favourite rock and fossil

Northumberland has an amazing variety of rocks and fossils, equal to any around the UK, that underpin wildlife and habitats and now, the public has 31 days to vote for Northumberland’s favourite rock and fossil. Literally the bedrock of the world’s heritage, economy and tourism, rocks have lots to tell scientists about things that are happening to landscapes as the world’s climate continues to change. Following on from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s 50th Anniversary Rock Festival and subsequent best-selling book aptly titled Northumberland Rocks, the wildlife charity, together with its partners: The Natural History Society of Northumbria, Visit Northumberland, Northumberland & Newcastle Society and North Eastern Geological Society, has decided to keep the enthusiasm for geology going by launching the first online public vote to find the county rock and fossil for Northumberland. For the whole of August, voters will have a shortlist of five great rocks and fossils to choose from: For the rock, votes are open for: Dolerite of the Whin Sill, the foundation for much of Hadrian’s Wall and the coastal castles Granite of the Cheviots - an ultra-hard, mineral-packed rock that forms the mountains of the Cheviots Coal - part of our heritage and vital for industry in the 19th and 20th century Sandstone - used in building the majority of our towns and monuments, including Grey Street in Newcastle, Hadrian’s Wall and Alnwick Castle Limestone - full of fossils, it forms unusual landscapes, from pavements to caves and potholes, and creates botanical hotspots for unusual plants. For the fossil, votes are open for: Lepidodendron and stigmaria the 300 million year old fossils of tree trunks and roots Anthracosaurus - aka the Coal Lizard - a vicious predator long before the dinosaurs that hunted in coal swamps and on display today in the Great North Museum: Hancock Corals - animals that live in the sea, usually when it’s shallow, rocky, clear and clean. Crinoids - an ancient ‘lily of the sea’ and often referred to as St Cuthbert’s Beads. Brachiopods - sea shells that lived in the warm tropical seas that covered Northumberland 320 million years ago. Visit: www.nwt.org.uk/rockandfossil to cast a vote. Ian Jackson, geologist and trustee with Northumberland Wildlife Trust says: “Rocks and fossils are a great way of getting people to enjoy and experience nature and the surrounding landscape. Ultimately, we believe that the more people really connect with nature, the more they’ll act to protect it. “Most US States have a state rock and fossil but, to the best of our knowledge, no British county has done this, so Northumberland will be the first county to have them voted for by the public which is very exciting. “The Northumberland Rocks book placed easily understandable information on a variety of county rocks and fossils on book shelves and inspired people to visit 50 special places across Northumberland, so I’m hoping this venture generates even more interest and debate.” The vote will open on Tuesday 1st August and close on Thursday 31st August 2023 with the result being announced early September 2023
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21 July 2023

Partial reopening of Thrunton Wood

In November 2021 Storm Arwen caused significant damage across Northumberland. Thrunton Wood was one of the areas most affected, with trees blocking roads and making the forest unsafe for any public access. Forestry England are pleased to welcome visitors back to certain parts of the forest as they continue clearing the remaining storm damage. They hope to open additional parts of the forest in due course, but exact timescales are dependent on their contractors being able to work safely, with the public following all signage to stay away from work areas - even if it looks like no activity is taking place. Forestry England are now pleased to offer a waymarked trail (follow green waymarking- see map) for walking, cycling and horse riding. As work progresses they hope to open an additional route in due course. Access to Long Crag is now available, but please be aware when returning that access is currently restricted to a trail leading to the main car park (see map). They would like to thank visitors for their patience and support whilst these works take place. In future tree planting will take place in cleared areas and they will share further information both here and online when they are able.
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