Village News

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

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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.
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