Village News & Events

guideNew bird watching guide for the coast

A new bird watching guide for the Northumberland coast was officially unveiled at an event last night (Wednesday 13th).

Published by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership the new guide entitled ‘Birdwatching on the Northumberland Coast’ provides a wealth of information about where to go to watch birds on the coast throughout the year.

The 72 page guide breaks the coast, from Druridge Bay to the Scottish Border, into bite-sized pieces. Each section includes a map and describes the habitats of the area; it goes on to suggest a strategy for making the most of a visit in any season.

There is also a photographic-guide to help visitors identify the birds they might see on a trip to the Farne Islands and a complete the checklist of bird seen on the coast.

The new book replaces a much smaller bird watching guide first published by the AONB Partnership in 2002. Tom Cadwallender wrote that first book and was asked by the Partnership to write the new guide.

Tom said “Although the Northumberland coast itself has changed little since I wrote the first guide book, the range of species and the likelihood of seeing some species has changed over the years. For instance, the Little Egret is now commonly seen in many areas during the summer months, in 2002 it was an incredibly noteworthy species. Conversely, the Corn Bunting, once a common breeding species on the coast has disappeared altogether.

“I hope both visiting and local birdwatchers get as much enjoyment from this guide as I have had writing it”

Cllr John Woodman, Chair of the AONB Partnership welcomed the production of the new guide “The Northumberland coast is rightly famous for its breeding seabird colonies on the Farne Islands and on the RSPB reserve at Coquet Island. This new guide book gives birdwatchers the information that they need to explore the whole coast throughout the seasons. Some of the best times to visit the coast to watch birds are outside of the main holiday period and visiting birdwatchers help to make tourism a year-round industry.”

The new guide book was launched at the Bailiffgate Museum on Wednesday evening as part of their WILD exhibition and will soon be available from Tourist Information Centres, local bookshops and from the AONB Partnership’s website




citizens advice


magpie bigtopPeregrini Lindisfarne Heritage Festival
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June, 11.00am – 4.00pm
This year Peregrini Lindisfarne is joining forces with the Holy Island Festival for a fun packed weekend of music, circus performances and heritage festivities. The Holy Island Festival runs from Friday 24th June- to Sunday 26th June with the Peregrini Heritage Festival running alongside on the Saturday and Sunday.
The staff team will be based in Sanctuary Close at the Peregrini information stand which will showcase the Heritage Lottery funded landscape partnership. Activities will include a number of heritage demonstrations including pottery firing, wool preparation and spinning, spoon whittling, Viking jewellery making and medieval herbalism.
Earlier this year Peregrini landscape photography classes helped develop the skills of amateur photographers; the results of which will be exhibited in the newly completed Village Hall. A public vote will choose best photograph. The Peregrini Community Archive and Geology Projects will also be present providing information on geology and local history and the opportunity to sign up and get involved. 
Along with art workshops, guided walks by resident experts and live performances by Let’s Circus there will be plenty on offer for everyone. Mark the date in your diary and pay them a visit.
For further information on festival activities go to
Anyone interested in getting involved in Peregrini Lindisfarne can email David Suggett at or call the Peregrini office on 01668 213086


New interactive maps offer most detailed ever picture of England’s light pollution and dark skies

dark skiesThe most detailed ever satellite maps of England’s light pollution and dark skies, which were released on 13th June by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), have shown that National Parks and AONBs have a vital role in the protection of dark landscapes.

The maps, produced using satellite images captured at 1.30 am throughout September 2015, show that Northumberland has 87% of its skies in the two darkest categories and is on average the second darkest county in England.
This research comes at a time of increasing awareness of the harmful effects light pollution can have on the health of people and wildlife. That these skies were monitored at 1.30am illustrates just how long into the night England’s lighting spills.

The new maps were produced by Land Use Consultants from data gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in America in a project funded by a number of protected landscapes, including the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership. The NOAA satellite captured visible and infrared imagery to determine the levels of light spilling up into British skies. CPRE is calling on all local authorities to use these maps to identify areas with severe light pollution and target action to reduce it, as well as identifying existing dark skies that need protecting. It is also sending lesson plans to primary schools in order to promote the enjoyment of dark skies.
The work that Northumberland County Council has already started, to replace all its street lights with LED technology, was highlighted in a case study in the report. The before and after maps of Ashington clearly showed reductions in light pollution after the new street lighting was installed.

John Woodman, Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership Chair said “The AONB Partnership was pleased to be able to support this project and it has highlighted the fantastic quality of Northumberland’s dark skies. However, we should not be complacent, the maps reveal areas where more work is needed to reduce light pollution and the report will be a useful tool for looking at future planning applications, to ensure that we can continue to enjoy our fascinating dark skies.”



Historic and Geological Map Opportunity with Peregrini

On Monday 23rd May 6.30-8.30 pm, there will be a joint event in the Parish Centre in Berwick between the Community Archives and Community Geology projects as part of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Scheme. The workshop will be run by Linda Bankier of the Berwick record Office and Ian Kille of Northumbrian Earth. This will explore the different ways of using maps to understand the human history of the area as well as the geological pre-history and will involve practical opportunities to try out some of the techniques.
Maps have been used by people for many thousands of years and for many different purposes. Most commonly we think of maps as something to use to work out how to get somewhere by car or when out walking or cycling. More and more we use electronic maps in sat navs and in applications like Google Maps which allow us not only to find routes to places but also to explore and area even without travelling to it. Maps have however been made not only as a way of finding places but also for planning railway routes, town design, where to put gas and electricity supplies and to mark ownership, from individuals, for example in house deeds, through to whole countries. Maps can also be used as a way of finding resources for example water, coal, clay and limestone. The immense value of maps in so many different ways means that they are an incredibly rich resource when trying to understand not only the human history of an area but also its geological history.
This workshop will give a practical introduction to the range of maps that are available to help study the history and geology of this area.  It will also work through how maps can be used to answer some of the questions that will come up during the archaeological and geological exploration of the various locations to be explored as part of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Scheme.  This will include comparing maps of different dates to help demonstrate where and when built structures existed and using geological maps to show the order in which rocks were laid down and how to extrapolate surface information to tell you what is beneath the surface.
The workshop is open to all and is free, but booking is essential. To book a place, contact
For more information about the Peregrini Lindisfarne Scheme look at and for information about this and other geological events go to .




Referendum on
the UK's membership of the European Union
 in the Northumberland voting area


  1. A referendum will be held on Thursday 23 June 2016 to decide on the question below:

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

  1. Applications to register to vote must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by 12 midnight on Tuesday 7 June 2016. Applications can be made online:


  1. Postal vote applications, amendments or cancellations must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF by 5pm on Wednesday 8 June 2016.
  1. New applications to vote by proxy at this referendum must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF by 5pm on Wednesday 15 June 2016. Requests for changes to existing proxy vote arrangements and cancellations must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Wednesday 8 June 2016.


  1. Applications to vote by emergency proxy at this referendum on the grounds of disability or for work/service reasons must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF by 5pm on 23 June 2016. The disability must have occurred after 5pm on Wednesday 15 June 2016. To apply on the grounds of work/service, the person must have become aware that they cannot go to the polling station in person after 5pm on Wednesday 15 June 2016.


Shoot for the 2017 Visitor Guide cover

PHOTOThe Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership is holding a photographic competition this summer to find an image for the cover of their 2017 Visitor Guide.

The winner will not only have their image on the front cover of 50,000 2017 Northumberland Coast visitor guides but will also receive £150 to spend at Stait Photo in Morpeth. Stait photo has kindly provided canvas prints of their image for the runners-up prizes.

Photos submitted can be of virtually anything, but to be eligible, the photo must have been taken within the Northumberland Coast AONB in 2016. The closing date for entries is the 3rd October 2016.

Paul Larkin, editor of the Johnston Press Northumberland titles, Northumberland Gazette, Berwick Advertiser, Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader, said: "We are proud to continue our association with this competition and are looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.

“We find that beautiful images generate enormous interest on social media and we encourage all photographers to get out, explore the coast and keep an eye open for a special image for the front page of the Northumberland Coast Visitor Guide.”

Jane Coltman, Image Manager for Johnston Press Northumberland titles said: "I'm excited to be involved in the judging process for this competition. I was impressed by the range and quality of the images submitted last year and I can't wait to see the fantastic photos that I know will be submitted from people who, like me, love the Northumberland coast. “


The image on the front of the current Visitor Guide was taken by Emma Rothera, a photographer who lives and works on Holy Island. Ken Stait who runs Stait Photo in Morpeth and Hexham is sponsoring the competition and is also a judge said “We had quite a few sunrise photos to judge last year but the simplicity and serenity of this photograph set it apart. We are delighted to be involved in this year’s competition.”

Images need to be submitted in an electronic format and be of a high enough resolution to be used on the cover of the guide. More advice, previous visitor guide covers and the full set of rules are on the AONB website



Guided walks celebrate ten years of coastal path

Coastal pathThe Northumberland Coast Path is ten years old this July and as part of the celebrations there will be a guided walk along the entire length of the path.
Each Friday between the 1st July and 5th August, Iain Robson will lead a walk along a section of the path in the company of a coastal expert, maybe a botanist, geologist, ranger or birdwatcher. You can choose to do one section or them all, it’s up to you.
Each walk will be led by Iain from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership who originally developed the route with colleagues from Northumberland County Council.
The concept of a continuous path was realised through a European Union Interreg project called ‘The North Sea Trail’ which provided funding to implement the trail on the ground. The Northumberland section was one of 27 coastal paths in seven different countries around the North Sea. The 62 mile walking trail from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed was officially opened on a glorious summer’s day on 17th July 2006 in Boulmer. Since then the path, which passes through some of the finest coastal scenery in Europe, has attracted thousands of walkers from around the world.
Cllr John Woodman, Chair of the AONB Partnership said “Walkers undertaking a long-distance route such as the Northumberland Coast Path are good for the local economy. Because they are travelling-light, they buy everything that they need along the way: other than the money they spend in local businesses and their footprints in the sand, they leave nothing behind. But they take away memories of a landscape, a heritage and a welcome that is collectively unsurpassed.”
Organiser Iain Robson said “The Northumberland coast has an excellent bus service which runs parallel to the coast path. To encourage walkers to leave their cars at home, the start time for walk coincides with the arrival of a bus and we will return to our starting point by bus. The second stage will be promoted as part of the national ’Catch the Bus’ week.”
As well as the guided walks, there is a new website for the path – and a new passport scheme for walkers.
The guided walks are free to join but booking is essential as places are limited.  Details of each stage and information on booking your place are as follows:
Stage 1 1st July Cresswell to Warkworth 10.5 miles (5 hours)
Start: 09:20 Cresswell Ices to coincide with the arrival of the Arriva No.1 from Ashington (change here from Newcastle)
Stage 2 8th July Warkworth to Craster 13 miles (6.5 hours)
Start 09:30 Warkworth Market Cross to coincide with the arrival of the X18 from Alnwick and Newcastle.
Stage 3 15th July Craster to Seahouses 9.5 miles (5 hours)
Start 09:30 Craster TIC to coincide with the arrival of the 418 from Alnwick and X18 from Belford/Seahouses
Stage 4 22nd July Seahouses to Belford 10.5 miles (5 1/2 hours)
Start 10:05 Seahouses TIC to coincide with the arrival of the Travelsure 418 from Alnwick and Belford
Stage 5 29th July Belford to Fenwick 7 miles (4 hours)
Start 1030 Belford Market Cross to coincide with the arrival of the X15 from Alnwick/Newcastle or the Travelsure 418 from the Coast.
Stage 6 5th August Fenwick to Berwick-upon-Tweed 12 miles (6 hours)
Start 1035 Fenwick A1 Bus Stop to coincide with the arrival of the X15 from Alnwick/Newcastle
Booking is essential: Book your place by email to or by calling the AONB Partnership on 01670 620306


A1 in Northumberland Public Awareness Exhibitions

The Highways Agency are running a number of public Awareness Exhibitions with regards to the duelling of the A1 in Northumberland.

Please follow this link for details of dates and locations.


Musicians wanted for the Tall Ships Regatta 

Organisers are calling for local musicians to pitch for a chance to play at one of the
biggest events ever held in Northumberland.

The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 is being held over the August Bank Holiday and will feature five zones of free family entertainment including music and theatre.

Up for grabs are spaces on stages at venues including the beach amphitheatre and bandstand, and the Dun Cow Quay.

There are also opportunities for buskers - solo artists and duos – to play up to 30-minute slots at designated spots across the town from the beach and park to the town centre and quayside.

To join the festival fun as a musician, please apply at the Tall Ships Blyth website: www.tallshipsblyth2016

The deadline for applications is 9.00am on Tuesday 3 May.


Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Summer 2016 Events Programme


JELLYFISHJellyfish Walk
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Monday 21st July 10.00am – 11.30am 
Beadnell Bay/High Newton-by-the Sea       

Join us on a short walk along the shore to survey stranded jellyfish. Learn about jellyfish ecology, species identification, and how the results help us to understand about the effects of climate change. Family event but participants must be able to walk for about 1km along the shore. Children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link
Places are limited so book early!

Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:  Tel: 01670 622 651.


Rocky Shore Safari and Jellyfish Walk
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Monday 22nd July 10.00am – 12.30am 
Coldingham Bay, Berwickshire     

Come and explore the wonderful plants and animals of the rocky shore, then join us on a short walk to hunt for stranded jellyfish. Learn about the influence of the daily tides, species identification, jellyfish ecology, and fun facts about the plants and animals living in the marine environment. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting a little wet. Family event but children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link   
Places are limited so book early!

Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:  Tel: 01670 622 651.


Rocky Shore Safari
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Friday 5th August 10.00am – 11.30am

Come and explore the wonderful plants and animals of the rocky shore with a guided tour from Claire Hedley, the Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership Manager. Learn about the influence of the daily tides, species identification, and discover fun facts about the different plants and animals living in the marine environment. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting a little wet. Family event but children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link
Places are limited so book early!

Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:  Tel: 01670 622 651.



Rocky Shore Bioblitz
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Northumberland Wildlife Trust - Living Seas
Newcastle University - Capturing Our Coast
Monday 19th September 10.00am – 12.00 noon 

Join us on a rocky shore recording bonanza! This is an exciting opportunity to learn about marine plants, animals and survey skills. Beadnell is one of the most diverse rocky shores in Europe, so we should find plenty of interesting species. Open to all levels of knowledge but participants should be 16yrs or older. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting a little wet. Recording equipment will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own ID guides if you have them. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link
Places are limited so book early!


Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:  Tel: 01670 622 651.



STARFISHNew Marine Nature Partnership for Berwickshire and Northumberland

The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership is a collaboration of more than 20 Scottish and English organisations responsible for managing our local inshore waters. The original partnership was established 16 years ago to proactively manage the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Lindisfarne Special Protection Area (SPA). The new partnership will coordinate management for the entire network of inshore marine nature conservation designations between Fast Castle Head in Scotland, and the River Tyne in England.

Partnership members include statutory regulators such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Environment Agency and Marine Scotland, together with ports and harbours, local authorities, Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and conservation charities. Working together, the partnership will develop a toolkit to help them manage this suite of important marine areas.

The toolkit will provide management organisations with the resources they need to effectively manage these sites, such as accurate mapping, up to date condition assessments and an inventory of local monitoring activity. It is hoped that the toolkit will eventually sit on a publicly available web-hub, so anyone interested in the management of the local marine environment can learn more.

The partnership project officer, Claire Hedley, said: “Management of the marine environment can be really complex, especially in the intertidal zone where land and marine legislation, policies and organisations overlap. It’s even more complicated when we have sites that cross the Scottish-English border. Working in partnership is really important and we’re excited to be developing a coordinated approach for the area.”

The iconic coastline of Northumberland is famous for its large sandy bays like those at Bamburgh, Beadnell and Druridge. The bays are punctuated by rocky headlands that tumble into the sea to form offshore reefs that support large kelp forests. Extensive sand and mud flats between Holy Island and the mainland support large seagrass meadows and dense mussel beds, providing a rich food source for over-wintering seabirds. The high coastal cliffs of Berwickshire and the rugged offshore Farne Islands and Coquet Island support thousands of breeding seabirds in the summer months. Sea caves created by the pounding waves can plunge for hundreds of meters into the depths. One of Europe’s most important breeding colonies of grey seal resides on the Farne Islands and at St Abbs, regularly hauling out on Fenham Flats, while the Tweed and Aln estuaries are important havens for fish.  

The Partnership chairman, Tom Cadwallender, said: “the shallow sea, shores and estuaries of Berwickshire and Northumberland are home to some of the most spectacular marine life in world. With so many people involved in management, the partnership really helps us to work together to protect these special areas.”



Volunteers needed to protect rare seabirds in Northumberland

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is looking for volunteers to protect vulnerable nesting shorebirds this summer.  This includes endangered little terns, ringed plovers and oystercatchers. 
Little terns spend their winter on the west coast of Africa and return to our coastline at the end of April. These rare birds nest on the beach along with other shorebirds and are very susceptible to disturbance.
In Northumberland, little terns are predominantly found on the National Trust Long Nanny site at Beadnell beach and Natural England’s Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), which stretches from Budle Bay to Berwick.
The Northumberland Little Tern Project is a partnership between the National Trust, Natural England, RSPB and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which provides additional funding to the sites that Natural England and the National Trust have been protecting for many years.  With this support, extra seasonal staff help protect the sites, provide new information signs and additional fencing to enclose nesting areas.
Chantal Macleod-Nolan, EU LIFE Little Tern Project Co-ordinator, said “Last year we had a really good outcome with 44 pairs of little terns nesting on the Northumberland coast and 52 chicks fledging by the end of the season. The terns had a difficult summer with high tides, human disturbance and persistent predators, and only persevered due to the continued efforts of nine staff and a team of 20 dedicated volunteers working around the clock across both sites. Without this hard-working team, we wouldn’t be able to protect these birds and as a result, volunteer recruitment is crucial to the little tern’s breeding success again this summer.”
Volunteers are essential for the protection of our breeding shorebirds, as engaging beach-users about the significance of the fenced off areas and the importance for dog-walkers to keep their dogs on leads makes a huge difference to the breeding success of these small visitors. The observational research data collected by these volunteers also contributes to a wider national shorebird protection scheme, with the information used to further the protection of these sensitive birds.
The enthusiastic team of wardens and volunteers monitor the shorebirds throughout the breeding season and raise public awareness, all while enjoying the stunning Northumberland coast.
The Northumberland Little Tern Project is hosting a volunteer information meeting on Friday 22 April 2016 between 10:30am-12:30pm at the National Trust Office, Low Newton by the Sea.  
Take a left after the Tin Church, Newton Point, Alnwick, NE66 3EL.
To book a place, please contact: or call Natural England (01289 381470) / National Trust (01665 576874).

Drift Café is first Welcome Port on the Coast Path

The Drift Café on Druridge Bay has become the first business on the Northumberland Coast Path to become a ‘Welcome Port’ for the path’s new Passport scheme.

The newly launched passport is designed to be carried by walkers on the Coast Path who will collect stamps at businesses that they visit along the way. These businesses will be ‘Welcome Ports’ offering a warm welcome to walkers and provide advice and information about the trail and the local area.

Duncan Lawrence who owns the Drift Café said “We are very proud to be the first business to sign up to this initiative. A walking route like this is so much more than a line on the ground and great scenery. The service and support that walkers receive from businesses along the way can make a real difference to the quality of their experience.

“Walkers are the perfect visitors; they generally arrive without a car and buy everything they need from local businesses. They leave only money in the local economy and their footsteps in the sand.”

Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, who are behind the new initiative, said “We think that the passport will become a treasured possession, a memento of the walk evoking memories of that friendly B&B, fantastic fish and chips or a lovely ice cream on a sunny day. Collecting stamps as they walk the route will become part of the experience for walkers and we hope it will improve their visit to Northumberland and increase the amount of money they spend in local businesses.

“Like cycling and birdwatching, people don’t have to pay to walk along the coast, but keeping the path and associated infrastructure in good condition does cost money. This scheme helps the businesses that benefit from the route to support its upkeep”.

The Northumberland Coast Path was opened in July 2006 and since then thousands of walkers have completed the sixty mile route from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed contributing millions of pounds to the local economy. The launch of the passport scheme is part of a year-long celebration of the path’s tenth year.

There is a new website – and there will be events and guided walks during the summer.

The scheme will be rolled-out to more businesses along the route in the next few weeks. Any business interested in becoming a ‘Welcome Port’ should speak to Iain Robson at the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership on 01670 622660 or email


b festival

bike standNew Bike Stand

Photograph of the first users of the new bike stand which has been installed in Bamburgh Village outside the public toilets by Bamburgh Parish Council, made by Ampleforth Abbey and College, York.





Click here to read the latest - Northumberland National Park Newslettter for Supporters and Friends January 2016 (1)

Volunteering project on the Northumberland coast wins Heritage Lottery Fund supportlitter pick

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop a volunteering project it was announced today (Tuesday 3rd November).
The project aims to increase the number and range of opportunities for volunteers on the Northumberland coast, and has been developed by the AONB Partnership working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Seahouses Development Trust . 
One of the main objectives of the project is will be to match individuals or groups of volunteers to conservation work that will enhance the natural beauty, wildlife habitats or historic features of the coast It will also provide training and support to enable volunteers to increase their skills and to get the most out of the time that they put into the project. Re-establishing the Young Rangers group and piloting an innovative community champions scheme are also important elements of the bid.
Funding of £13,500 has been awarded to enable the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership to appoint a consultant to develop the project. This phase will include developing the project aims and initiatives, delivering taster sessions and running consultation events.
Cllr John Woodman, Chair of the AONB Partnership, said “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to support this project. The Northumberland coast is a very special place and working together we can make sure it remains so.
“We know that there are many people who live on the coast or nearby who want to help to improve the area, and we can’t afford to keep turning them away. This project will match those people to jobs that need doing to conserve wildlife habitats, preserve historic buildings or just improve the area in which they live, and will help them to get the most out of the time that they give.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Ivor Crowther, HLF regional manager said, “The Heritage of the Northumberland coast is unique. Nowhere else can you see so many castles and other evidence of 8000 years of human inhabitation side-by side with internationally important areas for wildlife in a place where many people live and work. This project will engage people in protecting and enhancing this wonderful place and that is why HLF is pleased to support it.”
The HLF grant will fund the development phase which will last about eight months and will culminate in the submission of an application to HLF for funding to support a three-year delivery phase.
Consultants interested in tendering to carry out the development phase should speak to Iain Robson at the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership on 01670 622660.


Review of Public Conveniences - Bamburgh

Further to the dialogue that has taken place with your Parish Council as part of the County Council’s review of public toilet provision, I can confirm that the outcomes of the review and proposed changes were reported back to the Council’s Communities and Local Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 21st October 2015. 

In relation to the toilets on Church Street, Bamburgh it was agreed that these toilets should remain open this winter whilst we progress further discussions with yourselves and other key stakeholders over the longer term arrangements for toilet provision in Bamburgh.  With regards to the toilets at the Links Car Park, the original proposal was for these to be closed permanently unless the proprietors of the castle wished to take on the responsibility for their operation.  These toilets already close during the winter period normally and it was agreed that the normal winter closure of these toilets would take place on 2nd November 2015, but that the decision on permanently closing them be deferred pending further discussions with key stakeholders over options for their future management/provision.

Officers will therefore be in contact with yourselves and other key stakeholders over the coming weeks in order to progress discussions over future arrangements for toilet provision in Bamburgh.  May I take this opportunity to thank you for the positive way in which the Parish Council has engaged with the County Council during this review, and I am confident that we will be able to arrive at a solution which will help to secure the long term provision of public toilets in your parish.

Yours sincerely


Paul Jones
Head of Neighbourhood Services
Local Services Group
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
NE61 2EF


Castle bags a nest egg for bird conservation project

castle bags
Bamburgh Castle hopes profits from plastic bag sales will help feather the nest of a Northumberland coastal wildlife scheme.
Money raised from the sale of plastic bags in the castle’s gift shop will go directly to The Northumberland Coast Barn Owl Project, a new initiative which aims to boost barn owl numbers on the Northumberland coastline.
Bamburgh Castle opted to charge for plastic bags in line with recent Government policy in a bid to build a nest egg for the project’s conservation and educational work.

barn owl
Francis Watson Armstrong, owner of Bamburgh Castle, said: “Far from being a feather-brained scheme, we were very keen at Bamburgh to support a project that protects and conserves the majestic barn owl – my favourite national bird species.
“Although the Government’s scheme of charging for plastic bags does not apply to our gift shop, we feel strongly that the principle of reducing the number of plastic bags in circulation is an excellent and very valid one.
“After discussions with Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, we decided that the barn owl project could benefit from Bamburgh’s bag tax which will see all the money raised after tax being donated to the scheme.”
Mr Watson Armstrong added: “Having worked with the Northumberland Coast AONB for a number of years providing inhabited barn owl nest box sites on Bamburgh Castle Estate, I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to help give these beautiful birds every chance to increase their numbers here on the Northumberland Coast.”
Barn owls need rough grassland to feed in as well as somewhere safe to nest.  With many former barns being converted into holiday accommodation or refurbished, nesting sites for barn owls are becoming increasingly scarce.
The Northumberland Coast Barn Owl Project will provide and construct nesting boxes on farms throughout the Northumberland Coast and offer farmers free advice on how to make their land and buildings more ‘barn owl friendly’.
The Northumberland Coast Barn Owl Project is overseen by the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership and the Alnwick Wildlife Group. 

owl 2
Phil Hamner is the project co-ordinator. He said: “Many parts of the Northumberland coast provide excellent habitat for barn owls, where they feed on rough meadows and dune grassland. As well as areas to hunt, barn owls need safe places to nest. The first priority of the project is to provide new nest boxes for barn owls that can be put up in barns or on trees near to feeding areas.
“We are very grateful to Bamburgh Castle for their support which will go along way towards helping us to safeguard magnificent barn owls in our coastal areas as well as raise awareness of the project and our aims.”






Stags Rock

stag rock

Stag Rock has been recently renovated and painted by Tom Wansell on behalf of the Parish Council,


iNorthumberland update – high speed broadband and support for businesses

Superfast fibre broadband is now available throughout much of the area opening up a whole new world of cutting-edge software and applications that connects residents and businesses with people all over the world.
The faster download speeds of up to 80 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps do not happen automatically. To benefit you need to upgrade to fibre with an internet provider of your choice. This need not cost you more, so speak to your existing provider or see our handy price comparison tool at
The new services have been available in Beadnell and North Sunderland since May 2014. As of March 2015 the majority of properties in Seahouses are now able to order fibre and in Bamburgh fibre has been available since December 2014. There is still some work remaining to make fibre available to a small number of additional properties in Seahouses and to Budle and Waren Mill by the end of 2015.
More information is available at

By the end of 2015 we expect fibre broadband to be available to around 90% of premises in Northumberland. If you are one of the 10% of premises that cannot order a fibre broadband package there are still options available to you:
A second phase of fibre roll out is due to begin in 2016. Complete the form at and if fibre is made available to your property in the future we will email you to let you know. 
Eligible businesses could make use of the connection voucher scheme to obtain a superfast broadband service - see below for more information. 
You may also be interested in looking at satellite broadband options for improved broadband speeds. Further details are at

If fibre is available to your business, you may be able to get a voucher for up to £3,000 towards an off the shelf product to help you get your business connected. 
If fibre is not available to your property and you need a bespoke superfast broadband solution, you may be able to get a voucher for up to £3,000 to help you get your business connected to
superfast broadband.
For more details and to apply visit

iNorthumberland is also delivering a programme of business support to enable  eligible businesses to get the best out of superfast broadband. The programme provides high quality business support, helping businesses to harness the opportunities of high speed broadband in order to grow their business online. Financial support is also available to eligible businesses providing up to £400 towards the cost of upgrading to superfast broadband and the first 12 months of your contract. For more details visit  


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Bumper breeding year for rare seabird in Northumberland

ternA rare seabird has enjoyed its most successful breeding season for two decades in Northumberland.

This year, 89 little tern chicks fledged along the Northumberland coast at the National Trust’s Long Nanny site in Beadnell Bay and Natural England’s Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.

Little terns arrive in the UK from Africa each spring to nest on beaches and are very vulnerable to rising sea levels, predation and human disturbance. 

The success of this year’s season was largely due to the dedicated seasonal rangers and volunteers who patrolled the beaches from Druridge Bay to Berwick. These hardy souls gave a much-needed helping hand to these shore birds, scaring off predators and preventing human disturbance. 

Natural England and The National Trust have been working to protect little terns in Northumberland for many years. However, this year saw the launch of the Northumberland Little Tern Project, a five-year project funded by EU LIFE+, which has enabled these organisations to step up their important work for these endangered seabirds.

A partnership between the National Trust, Nature England, the RSPB and the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, the Northumberland Little Tern Project is providing funding for extra seasonal staff, as well as additional fencing to enclose established and potential nesting areas.

Mhairi Maclauchlan, EU+ Life Little Tern Project Co-ordinator, said: “We have been excited to help enhance the great work already going ahead for little terns at places such as Long Nanny and Lindisfarne – and it seems to be paying off.

“However, we are painfully aware of how easy a good year can be followed by a bad one as little terns are extremely vulnerable to disturbance and bad weather events. This is why we will be continuing to work hard to protect these birds over the next four years of the project and beyond.” 

North Northumberland Coastal Area Neighbourhood Plan
Steering Committee
Email  ¬
Web Site  ¬

Neighbourhood Plan
The three parish councils of Bamburgh, Beadnell and N Sunderland are developing a neighbourhood plan to manage future development in the villages. The plan was launched in January and about 10% of the residents attended at least one of the launch events. The steering committee has summarised the comments made and sent an update to those who requested one: the summary is on our website, The main themes of housing and the style and location of development, employment and infrastructure are being taken forward in the next phase of work.
We are now carrying out a survey of businesses in the area so we can better understand what they need and at least as importantly to better understand how we can encourage new businesses into the area. Separately, we will be asking people who own homes for letting for their views: although there are concerns about the number of holiday homes, they are an important part of our economy.
At the same time we have been reviewing the available information which we can use in the plan: for example, the 2011 census information as compared to 2001, and the AONB land use and development policies which could be a useful guide for us to use.
Once we have pulled the above items together we will be developing a more detailed survey, including a housing needs survey, which will form the basis of the detailed policies in the plan.
We are also working closely with the County Council, who are helping us develop the plan, as they pull together the plan for a County as a whole. A final draft of their plan will be produced for consultation in Summer and we are trying to ensure that at a high level it supports the things that are important to us – ensuring development is in an acceptable style, that we have a proper balance of second and holiday homes and that we can encourage business.
As a reminder, The North Northumberland Coastal Area Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee is formed from representatives of the parish councils of Beadnell, North Sunderland and Bamburgh, residents and representatives and an elected member of Northumberland County Council.   The Group has formed in response to the Localism Act 2011 which facilitates the adoption of Neighbourhood Plans.  Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work.

pillboxHistory revealed by Tidal Surge

The Tidal Surge which caused such devastation last week also uncovered a previously hidden historic site at Bamburgh. The WWII pillbox structure had been hidden under the sand dunes and is in excellent condition. It is possible that other sites may have been revealed in this way along the coast.  

The devastation caused by the recent huge tidal surge along the east coast of England has been widely reported. Another side effect of the surge here in the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is to uncover new archaeological sites.

The sand dunes are a remarkable dynamic environment and huge weather events such as the storm last Thursday, have the potential to both cover and uncover sites quickly as has happened at Bamburgh. The shipwreck, dating from around 1768, exposed in the spring has now been completely covered again under a sand bank and a WWII pillbox structure has been exposed due to the high tide undercutting the dune system.

The newly exposed pillbox on Bamburgh beach formed part of a long chain of defensive sites of other pillboxes, gun emplacements, anti-tank blocks and a radar station. The pillboxes along the coast take a variety of shapes and forms from square, rectangular, hexagonal and beehive and usually made from concrete shuttering reflecting the ad-hoc manner in which these buildings were hastily constructed. The pillbox at Bamburgh, like two others at Dunstan Steads and Dunstanburgh, is constructed of concrete sandbags with the hessian imprint still visible on the individual bags.

The Northumberland Coast AONB team would be very interested to hear about any other new sites exposed by the tidal surge and are keen to set up a group of volunteers to monitor known archaeological sites along the coast – please contact Jessica Turner to report new sites or to register as a volunteer email or 01670 622648



Did Bamburgh shipwreck inspire first coastguards?bamburgh boat

Recent survey work of a partially exposed shipwreck on Bamburgh beach has proved the wreck to be older than originally thought. The dendrochronology survey yielded a terminus post quem date of 1768 – meaning that the timber in question was felled in or after 1768. The survey also established that the timber originates from the East of England making the wreck British.

The survey work was undertaken by the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) with local archaeologists and volunteers and with the help of a grant from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The site lies in the intertidal zone to the south of Bamburgh Castle and is only exposed for roughly one hour either side of low-water slack. The site itself sits within its own scour which, along with the tidal conditions, means that it may never completely dry out. The wreck appears to contain the exposed remains of the port side of a wooden sailing vessel lying on its starboard side with its stern inshore.

The date of 1768 means the ship potentially sailed along the east coast while Dr Sharp, one of the trustees of the Crewe Trust, was in residence at the castle. Dr Sharp was so concerned for sailors in the treacherous waters around Bamburgh that in 1781 he set up what is recognised as the first coastguard system in the world. The first coastguard at Bamburgh did not only warn ships of the coastline but also provided refuge at the castle for shipwrecked sailors, stored their cargo and buried the dead.

This remarkable survival on the beach at Bamburgh is not only extremely rare in terms of the extent of the survival but also because it could provide a direct link to the work of the Dr Sharp. Further research of historical maritime documents might eventually reveal the identity of the ship.

Full report and more information available on the MAST website –

2013 Awards for Excellence

Congratulations to the Wydenwell winners of one of the 2013 Awards for Excellence.wyndenwell

The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership is delighted to announce the winners of the 2013 Awards for Excellence. Through the awards the Partnership seeks to acknowledge, promote and celebrate excellence in the care, management and development of our coast and countryside.
This year's entries came from a wide range of ventures and individuals and the Partnership would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who entered for their continued efforts to keep the AONB special. There are three categories: 'Built Environment, 'Farming and Land Management' and 'Sustainable Tourism'.
Joint winners in the Built Environment category are The Wydenwell, Bamburgh and 2-4 Queen Street, Amble. Both are excellent shop refurbishments and show how careful restoration and attention to historic detail not only ensures the future of the building but also enhances the whole street scene.
Farming and Land Management winners are Karen and Tom Burn at Hunting Hall, Lowick for their sensitive and holistic approach to land management.
The North Northumberland Tourism Association (NNTA) has been awarded the Sustainable Tourism winner for their 'Northumberland Encouraging Sustainable Tourism' – NEST initiative which brings together and supports 62 Northumberland members to develop sustainable ways of working.

Peregrini Lindisfarne Press ReleaseHOLY ISLAND

Peregrini Lindisfarne project took another giant step forward today, with the announcement of a confirmed grant of £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership Scheme*. Dick Patterson of the Peregrini Lindisfarne board said "We are absolutely delighted that HLF have recognised the excellent work that the board and the wider community have put into this project over the last two years and we are very close to achieving our goal".


Work continues to secure the match funding that will enable HLF to release the £1.8 million, which will fund a wide variety of conservation and engagement projects on Holy Island and the adjacent mainland. The Peregrini board are anticipating this will be achieved in the coming months, with the Peregrini Lindisfarne project starting in earnest early in 2014.


The Peregrini Lindisfarne project aims to protect and enhance the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and surrounding areas by reconnecting the community’s relationship with the land and seascapes, heritage and history, making the area a better place to work, live and visit.


LINDISFARNEThe cultural and natural heritage of the area is very significant to the local communities who live, work and enjoys this part of Northumberland. Holy Island is known as the Cradle of Christianity with connections to St Aidan, St Cuthbert and the associated monasteries, cells and hermitages; the island’s association with The Golden Age of Northumbria; and the Lindisfarne Gospels. The landscape is rich in biodiversity, including very rare plant species such as the delicate and unique Lindisfarne helleborine, rich wildlife habitats (particularly for migratory and breeding birds) and high geological interest.


The Peregrini Landscape Partnership Board includes representatives of the Holy Island Community (Parish Council, Development Trust and churches), Belford and Lowick Parish Councils as well as Partners representing the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, Natural England, Northumberland County Council, English Heritage and the National Trust.


The Board acting chair, Dr Chris Burgess, said ‘This success is a testament to the resilience of the Partnership the board represents. The project will be good for Holy Island and the surrounding shore side areas as well as much of the wider community of Northumberland. While there is much work still to be done to ensure all the necessary match funding is in place, we have taken a big step with the support of HLF today and look forward to successfully completing the funding package and moving on to deliver the benefits of the project for the communities involved and the important landscape of Holy island and its adjacent shore’.


Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said:

“The Island of Lindisfarne is a real haven for local wildlife and an important part of the North East’s natural heritage. To look after fantastic landscapes like Lindisfarne, we at HLF believe the way forward is to put local communities in the driving seat so they can take care of the places that are the backdrop to their daily lives. Today’s funding will make a significant contribution to this exciting project and help forge great, local partnerships that will last long into the future.”

(photo credit – Gavin Duthie).

Friend's of St Aidans Church, Bamburgh

Would you like to become a friend of St Aidans Church?

A group of people for whom St Aidan’s Church and churchyard hold a special place in their hearts. Some will live nearby;
others visit once in a lifetime; for others it is a venue for holidays and renewal year by year. For some it is a place of memories of marriages, baptisms or of loved ones buried in the churchyard.
For all it is a special place with which they would wish to be associated.
To help maintain the Church and its churchyard for future generations.
Become a Friend of St Aidan’s paying an annual subscription.

To find out more please follow this link to St Aidans own website, we are also on Facebook under Friends of St Aidan's Church, Bamburgh