Village News


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.”



There will be a rememberance day service at St Aidan's Church at 11am on the 8th of November followed by the laying of the wreath at the War Memorial at 12pm.


The RNLI are looking for people who can:

Welcome Visitors, answer queries, provide friendly customer service

This is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community, meet new people and use your skills to support the RNLI

for more information or to apply online please visit:

or call Virginia on 01668 214910


Stags Rock

stag rock

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


b festival

The B Festival, The B Festival is a summer music at Bamburgh Castle in aid of Hospice Care Northumberland on Friday 31st July 2015. Tickets ONLY £15, under 16's FREE, bring your own picnic, fizz and something to sit on. Tickets: online at, Bamburgh Castle reception, Clarke's the Grocers in Bamburgh or by calling the hospice on 01665 606515. For all the info check out our dedicated Facebook page! Check out the dedicated facebook page for more info.


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  


car boot sale



9am til 2pm


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