Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust has welcomed Northumberland National Park Authority as its newest member.
The Trust is a registered charity that oversees the development of Kielder Water & Forest Park, promoting sustainable growth, providing recreational facilities, improving knowledge of the natural environment and encouraging the arts in Kielder and the wider area.
The news comes as figures show an increase in visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park. From January to September 2016, there were 324,000 visitors, marking a nine per cent increase on the same period in 2015.
Kielder Water & Forest Park is home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe and the largest working forest in England. Northumberland National Park is one of England’s ten National Parks and is often referred to as ‘England’s last great wilderness’. Together, they form the most tranquil part of England.
Northumberland National Park Authority joins the Trust’s existing members, Northumbrian Water, the Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder, Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society and Northumberland County Council.
The formalising of this relationship will strengthen the joint work which led to the designation of Kielder and the National Park as Europe’s largest Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2013.
Lynn Turner, director of Kielder Water & Forest Park, said: “The addition of Northumberland National Park Authority to the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust adds a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Trust and reflects the importance of the work we do to develop and promote this incredible part of Northumberland.”
The addition of Northumberland National Park Authority to the Trust comes as the authority prepares to open The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre in 2017, adding a new way for the public to explore the great outdoors.
Tony Gates, chief executive at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “The goals of Northumberland National Park Authority are very closely aligned to those of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust.
“After working together so successfully to secure International Dark Sky Park status in 2013, we are looking forward to building on this important partnership with the Trust. By working closely we can grow Northumberland’s reputation as an attractive destination for tourists, as well as making it a genuine living resource for experiencing and learning about the natural environment.”