New lease of life given to building in valley

Gillian Hogg & Peter Slater, from Powburn, who were the first customers of Valley Cottage Cafe, with owner Sheila Robinson.
Gillian Hogg & Peter Slater, from Powburn, who were the first customers of Valley Cottage Cafe, with owner Sheila Robinson.

A businesswoman has joined forces with the Northumberland National Park Authority to enhance the visitor offer in Ingram Valley, boosting job opportunities in the process.

Sheila Robinson has taken over running the Authority’s visitor centre, in turn breathing a new lease of life into the building.

As well as providing information for tourists, the centre is now home to the newly-renovated Valley Cottage Café, which offers a range of refreshments to customers.

Since launching in the summer, Sheila has welcomed visitors from north Northumberland and tourists from across the country, proving that the centre offers a valued service in the area.

The venture has also boosted employment locally. Sheila is currently employing two staff from the Northumberland area and has plans to increase these numbers as the business grows.

Sheila, who also produces her own jam and chutney, said: “I live locally, so to be able to run the café and information centre at Ingram is fantastic. The response we have had since opening has been brilliant. We have plans to expand our offer in the future and we are currently exploring the possibility of doing an evening menu.”

Glen Sanderson, chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “The Ingram Valley is a popular location for visitors and these new facilities will enhance the visitor experience in the area all year round.”

The visitor centre and café is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am until 5pm. Winter opening hours, from November through to March, will be Thursday to Sunday. For more details, call 01665 578948.