Alnwick Probus Club

Gill Thompson, from the Northumberland National Park Authority, gave a talk with a computer presentation to a packed audience at Alnwick Probus Club on the ecology of the park.

Gill said that the park was the most northerly of the English national parks. It stretches from Hadrian’s Wall in the south to the Cheviots in the north, covering an area of 400 square miles.

The MoD training area covers roughly 20 per cent and it was dedicated as a park in 1956. Its purpose was to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and wildlife and its cultural heritage, and to foster the social and economic well-being of the community who live there – roughly 2,000 people live in the park.

Gill explained the rich animal and plant life in the park is second to none with specific species of birds and plants that survive there. Flowers like cow berries, bilberry, heathers, common cotton grass flourish widely.

The amazing hay meadows in Barrowburn are managed to allow wild grasses and flowers to spread. They are harvested in July each year.

The park has a schedule of constantly replanting trees and shrubs for the future well-being of the park.

Gill’s talk was full of fine detail regarding the flora and fauna. Future plans include a new visitors’ centre with a landscape discovery centre, and it is hoped a lottery grant would help with the plans within the park.

The National Park actually owns very little land but works with landowners and local people to enhance its vision.

The meeting ended with questions and a vote of thanks was given for a very informative presentation.

Anyone interested in Probus please contact Ed Mcelhone at